Some leaks are easier to detect than others, like when you hear water spraying from a pipe under the sink. On the other hand, slab leaks are a different story. They can begin and worsen before you have any idea what is happening. However, even though they are difficult to detect, it’s not impossible to know that you have slab leak. You just need to know what to look for, so that you can address the issue quickly and prevent significant damage.
What Is a Slab Leak?
A slab leak occurs in the copper or galvanized water pipes beneath your home’s concrete foundation. When similar leaks occur above ground, like on the ceiling or walls, they are called pinhole leaks. Both slab leaks and pinhole leaks are often caused by long-term corrosion. Any type of slab leak can cause serious damage if not repaired quickly, resulting in termite infestation, mold damage, and even collapsing of your foundation. To keep these things from happening, it’s essential that your plumbing is routinely examined.
With that being said, there are some subtle signs you can look for that may mean you have a slab leak.
Warning Signs of a Slab Leak
If you notice any of these indicators of a slab leak, don’t waste any time in getting a plumbing professional to your home to assess the situation.
Spike in Your Water Bill
If you have a slab leak, your water will be running 24/7. This will cause your water bill to increase significantly. If this happens and you can’t find a leak within your home, or you haven’t had guests recently, it’s possible that you have a slab leak.
Lower Water Pressure
Any type of leak will result in less water running through your pipes. This is due to the water escaping where it shouldn’t be, and you will notice that your water pressure has decreased. If you experience low water pressure when no other fixtures are running in your home, this could indicate a slab leak.
Wet or Damaged Flooring
It’s common for a slab leak to have nowhere to go but up. Due to this, the water that escapes will eventually reach your flooring and cause significant damage. If this is the case, you might see darker spots in your carpet or warping in your floorboards.
When a slab leak causes water to leak up into your flooring, this can cause other problems. These include mold and mildew growth, not only below your floors, but also in your walls. Even if you can’t detect the mold and mildew visually, you may smell a musty odor. If this happens, you need to inspect your home for other indicators of a slab leak.
Hot Spots on the Floor
Around 80% of slab leaks happen in the hot water line. As the water leaks onto the ground, it will eventually start to heat up the concrete above. These hot spots are more easily detected if you have hard flooring, but are more difficult to identify through carpeting.
Because water collects underneath your foundation when you have a slab leak, it will eventually need to find somewhere else to go. This can occur both inside and outside your home. Outside, a slab leak may cause pooling nowhere near a spigot, or you may see pools of water on your floor.
Sound of Running Water
If you hear water running when no faucet in your home is running, it’s time to turn off all fixtures, including your water heater. This will allow you to take a closer listen to the floor for the sound of flowing or spewing water. If you hear this, it’s time to schedule slab leak detection services.
Slab leaks need to be detected before they cause serious damage to your home, such as ruining flooring and walls. Repairing such damage can get expensive, so if you notice any of these common symptoms of a slab leak, don’t waste any time in calling a plumbing professional.