Prior to World War II, most American homes were built with crawl spaces or basements that offered easy access to pipes. But during the postwar housing boom, builders were scrambling to meet demand by constructing homes more quickly. They found that pouring a slab foundation saved a lot of time over framing a floor, building joists and adding the other components needed. As a result, many homes are constructed on slab foundations and slab leaks in Orange County are not uncommon.
When a home is built on a slab, the water pipes and connections are installed before the concrete is poured. If any of these pipes develop a leak — and it is almost certain that at least one pipe in a home will leak eventually — many problems can result. The foundation can be damaged as well as the interior wall supports, sub-floors, floor coverings and drywall. If you suspect that you need a slab leak repair Orange County, call Cali’s Choice Plumbing & Restoration!
What is a Slab Leak?
Plumbing professionals use the term “Slab Leak” to refer to a leaking pipe located within the concrete slab foundation. The leak may be a tiny pinpoint or a major rupture. Slab leaks can occur in intake lines — those bringing fresh water into the home. Or outflow lines — those that drain the water from fixtures and appliances.
What Causes Slab Leaks?
Various things can cause a slab leak. Some factors depend on the type of materials used for the pipes, but others issues can occur regardless of material.
- Improper construction: The pipes installed must be correct for the water pressure to which they will be subjected. They also need to be properly supported to ensure that they do not shift under the slab.
- Corrosion: Copper, cast iron, and galvanized pipes are subject to corrosion. A chemical reaction between moisture in the soil and the metal can cause corrosion as can chemicals in the water flowing through the pipes. The corrosion can “eat holes” in the pipes, resulting in leaks.
- Normal vibrations: Pipes vibrate from the water flowing through and the water’s temperature can make the pipes contract or expand. Pipes can shift and rub against other pipes or nearby materials. Over time, these movements can result in leaks.
- Seismic activity: Orange County is in an area with high seismic activity. According to the United States Geologic Survey, as many as 30 tremors per day can occur in the area. Most of these are not powerful enough to be felt by residents. Over time, the accumulated stress of repeated tremors can cause pipes to shift.
Signs of Slab Leaks
Because slab leaks occur beneath floor coverings, they can go undetected for weeks or even months. Here are some signs that can indicate that a pipe is leaking in the slab.
- Unexplained plumbing noise, such as the sound of water moving through pipes even though all appliances and taps are off
- Higher water bills despite consistent use
- Warm or hot spots in the floor
- Cracks in floors or walls
- Mildew or mold beneath or on top of carpets
- Unexplained pooling of water around the home’s exterior, such as next to the foundation
Sources of Slab Leaks
The source of the leak may be obvious to you, such a large puddle around the water heater. Other times it may not, as pipes buried within the slab or walls that could slowly be leaking and build up over time causing damage. Concrete plumbing employs several tools designed to detect your leak. From acoustical tools used to sense leaking water that the human ear might not be able on its own to line tracing, which can be used to track the source of a possible leaking pipe. And most importantly, a plumber can isolate and seal off the leak so that it can be properly repaired.
Slab or concrete plumbing also incorporates the supply and waste lines leading to and from the house. If a home has too much groundwater that has accumulated around the foundation or there is improper drainage, there can be a leaky slab situation that could lead to the damage and erosion of the slab, which could in turn compromise the structure over time if not repaired.
Slab Leaks, also
This type of leak is very common, and unfortunately is one of the most difficult to identify and fix. Many homes or building are built on top of a large concrete slab, and when there is a water source leaking below your home it is then called a slab leak. This is because the water will pool around and seep below the concrete slab, thus the term Slab Leak.
The problem with this type of leak is that it is occurring completely underground, and thus can go unnoticed for long periods of time. Some of the common symptoms for a slab leak will include large build-ups of water in your yard or a sudden loss of water pressure in your home. In more serious cases you can actually audibly hear a water source by carefully listening to the ground or putting you ear to a wall in your home. Either way, you are sure to get a large water bill from your local water company, which is the final indication that you have a problem.
What to Do if a Slab Leak is Suspected
The more time that passes before a slab leak is repaired, the greater the potential for damage to your home. A leaking pipe can drip thousands of gallons of water a month into the surrounding slab and soil. This water saturates the soil, causing it to swell and push on the foundation itself, eventually causing it to shift and buckle. This is what is causing the foundation to crack or even the wall of your house to crack if the foundation has shifted too much. Whether you suspect a minor leak or a major one, having your concrete slab checked by a professional plumber who specializes in slab leak repair Orange County will ultimately save you time and money.
Cali’s Choice Plumbing & Restoration specializes in locating and repairing slab leaks in Orange County. We are available seven days a week and 24 hours a day and we are insurance-approved. In most cases, we can work directly with your insurance company. Don’t delay — call us today before the leak can do any more damage.