It won’t be a surprise if you say you’ve never heard of a “slab leak” before. Most homeowners are unaware of the concept of a slab leak. That’s why slab leaks remain untended until the problem becomes too huge.
Before we delve into the signs that indicate a slab leak, let’s first elaborate on what is a “slab leak”.
Slab leaks are most common in regions where earthquakes and tremors are frequent. The tectonic movements can cause pipes underneath the home’s slab foundation to shift and crack. Old homes are also susceptible to slab leaks because pipes may get corroded with an aging plumbing system. These leaks are quite difficult to notice because they are hidden far away from sight.
You might think that a slab leak is like just another plumbing leak. You’re almost right but you should also know that it’s one of the worst kinds of plumbing leaks. Slab leaks can damage the foundation of the house, cracking the floor and walls and leading to a flooded basement. In the long run, the foundation may give away and an entire section of the house may collapse.
Don’t slab leaks sound like serious stuff? You’re right, they’re pretty serious business.
Wondering how you can be sure whether you have a slab leak in the house? Here’s how you can detect a slab leak.
Unusual rise in water bill
Every household has a consistent water usage and usually the water bill doesn’t fluctuate much. If you notice an unusual spike in the bill, it most definitely indicates an undetected water leak in the house. Look for the tell-tale signs of a hidden leak in the wall. If you can’t find any, then there’s a huge possibility that you’ve got a slab leak.
Low water pressure
A slab leak affects water supply just like any other leak in the plumbing. Since a lot of water starts escaping through a cracked pipe, the flow gets interrupted. The result is a reduced water pressure in faucets and fixtures.
Warm spots on the floor
A slab leak can occur in your home’s hot water pipeline. In such a situation, the warmth of the water can be felt on the surface through the flooring. You’ll notice that some sections of the floor appear warmer than the rest of the space. It may be easier to detect the hot water slab leak through wooden floors as compared to tiled floorings.
Sound of running water
Don’t get spooked if you hear a muffled sound of running water when no taps are running in the house. There isn’t a ghost in the house, but dealing with a likely slab leak could be a tragic experience in itself. The sound may appear louder when you are closer to the lowest level of your house.
Eventually water from the slab leak finds a way to come up to the surface. When you find damp or wet carpeting or flooring in the house you should expect the cause to be a slab leak underneath.
When escaping water from a slab leak reaches the wooden floor, the wood may swell up with the moisture. The wooden flooring may appear warped or buckled. The area may look like a dome-shape rising from the floor. If you notice these signs, you should take the hint that there’s a slab leak that needs urgent attention.
This is an extreme situation, and we hope you can detect the slab leak before things get this bad. Basically, a continuous water leak near the foundation can slightly raise the building off the ground level. There’s a chance that already some irreparable damage has occurred and the building is not safe for residents. You should get expert advice on the matter and call a licensed plumber for immediate help.