Most homes in California have concrete slab foundations with no additional buffer between the ground floor and the earth. When a pipe underneath a home’s slab foundation leaks, most homeowners may not notice they have a problem for a long time. In addition to wasting water, a slab leak can damage the foundation and erode the soil around it.
What Are Slab Leaks?
A slab leak happens when the plumbing built into a concrete slab or underneath the slab begins to leak. Leaking water needs a place to go, and water will either go up or out. A break in the pipes or corrosion is what causes slab leaks. With enough time, even a tiny leak can cause significant structural damage.
Common Signs of a Slab Leak
Slab leaks are common in California, where frequent seismic activity puts tremendous pressure on foundations and plumbing systems. Due to pipe corrosion and deterioration, older homes are more vulnerable to slab leaks. If you notice any of the following, you could potentially have a slab leak or another serious plumbing issue, and it's time to contact a plumber right away.
1. Increasing Water Bills
If you have not changed your water usage, but your home's water bill is rising, it's time to investigate. You can test for a leak by turning off all water sources. After every faucet and water outlet is off, watch your water meter. If the water meter gauge is still moving, there is likely a leak somewhere in your home.
2. Pooling Water
If you notice water pooling in specific areas of your home but can't locate the source, this indicates a leak somewhere within your plumbing system. When a slab leaks, water will collect under the slab until it finds a way out and may present itself in several ways:
Moisture on floors
Warped or buckling flooring
Mold, mildew, or musty odors
Pooling water or depressions in the yard
Cracks in the walls or foundation
3. Hot Spots
A top indicator of a slab leak is a distinct warm or humid spot on the floor of a room in your home. If a hot water line is leaking in your slab, the heat from the accumulated water can transfer to the floor or surrounding areas, creating noticeable hot spots.
4. Low Water Pressure
Many things can contribute to low water pressure, including faulty fixtures, clogs, or leaks. A significant slab leak will cause a noticeable drop in water pressure throughout your home's plumbing system.
5. The Sound of Running Water
Your home’s plumbing system should be pretty quiet. The sound of running or gurgling water when faucets and appliances are off is a common sign of a water leak. When the noise comes from under the floor, it’s clear evidence of a slab leak.
What Causes Slab Leaks?
Plumbing problems occur with time, especially if the pipes are old or made from inferior materials. Many things can cause a slab leak, especially in older homes, but the most common causes include:
Tree root infiltration
How to Repair a Slab Leak
Slab leaks are common in areas where homes are older and built on concrete slabs. Well-trained plumbers can detect and diagnose slab leaks quickly using modern technology. Homeowners or unlicensed contractors should never attempt to make slab leak repairs.
Depending on how extensive the damage is and whether you need all new piping, there is a wide range of prices for slab leak repairs. The first step is to contact a trusted plumber to determine whether or not you have a slab leak issue. The plumber will then advise you about the best solution for your particular plumbing problem.
The Bottom Line
Plumbing problems in concrete slab foundations are serious. A slab leak can lead to mold, significant structural damage, and costly repairs. Of course, there are many causes of plumbing leaks. If you suspect there's a leak somewhere in your home, contact a professional plumber right away. A licensed plumber has the tools and training to detect leaks and provide high-quality repairs.
Call the Trusted Plumbing Professionals in Los Gatos
Call Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter & Rooter at (408) 716-1686, or contact us online to schedule an appointment for leak detection services in the Los Gatos area. Our Los Gatos technicians have over 30 years of plumbing experience, and they are ready to help you with all of your plumbing problems, no matter how big or small.
We understand that plumbing problems can happen anytime and need to be handled quickly. That's why Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter offers emergency plumbing services at no extra cost.