Saving the Bacon Tip: How to Find a Slab Leak Early to Avoid Costly Repairs

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For homeowners without a basement, a slab leak—or a leak directly under the home’s foundation—can cause extreme damage. Shifting soils stress homes from the ground up including the pipes under your home. By listening to your home, you may be able to find a slab leak early on.

Why is a slab leak a concern? Water accumulation under your home can damage your foundation. According to the Guidelines for Pipe Bursting TTC Technical Report, prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, leaks under slabs will cause localized ground displacement or heaving around the leak. This can cause cracking in the slab, as well as tiles, walls and floors. In addition to possibly having to pay for repairs and seeing an increase in your water bill, you may have to deal with the sanitary issues that increased moisture causes, such as mold and mildew.

Many events and conditions cause slab leaks. Here are a few:
• Bad pipes
• Poorly assembled fittings and pipes
• Electrolysis causing pinhole leaks
• Rust
• Ground movement from expanding or contracting soils
• Roots
• Commercial waste pipe cleaners that actually eat through pipes

Homeowners’ insurance may help offset the cost of repairs, but why go there when you can take preventative measures?

Luckily, there is a six point check list on how to find an under slab leak:
• Check for water noises under the concrete slab.
• Check your water bill for any unexplained increases is usage.
• Check floors for increased humidity or wet spots.
• Check floors for warm spots (warm water pipes leaking).
• Check floors for cold spots (cold water pipes leaking).
• Check for cracks in floor, bubbles in linoleum, cracks in walls and baseboards.

If you think that you have a leak, try shutting all water use off in your house. Then read your water meter. Write down the time, date and usage. In an hour, re-read your meter. You may have a leak if there is a difference in the numbers. Keep in mind leaking sprinklers, toilets and faucets also mean you are using water.

Finding a leak in a water line is a science. Do you think you have one? Consider calling a plumber in at this point.


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