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When the pipes below your Mansfield, TX, home or business are leaking, reach out to an experienced slab leak detection specialist to pinpoint and repair the issue before it leads to severe damage to your property. Just like when pipes burst inside your home, slab leaks can cause visible cracks, water damage, a spike in water bills, and much more. To make sure you’re addressing a slab leak as quickly as possible, you need to be aware of the warning signs. First, we’ll discuss what causes slab leaks. Then we’ll help you identify common symptoms, and lastly, we’ll show you how professional plumbers can detect, monitor, and repair issues with the pipes running under concrete slabs.
What causes a slab leak?
Foundations, also known as slabs, provide stability to every home and commercial building, and increase building safety. Usually, plumbing runs into structures built on foundations either through or below the foundation itself. Leaks in these main water pipes are referred to as slab leaks, due to their location. When there is a leak in the plumbing system located under the slab, the misplaced water will seek the path of least resistance as it moves. In many cases, the path of least resistance often means that the escaping water will make its way upwards into your property.
As well as causing issues to your home’s plumbing system as water is diverted out of the leaking pipe prematurely, a leak in this location can cause extensive damage to foundations if left unchecked.
Thermal expansion in copper piping is one of the primary causes of slab leaks, as the expanding and contracting pipes rub against the concrete slab and eventually experience pinhole leaks. Fluctuations in water pressure, particularly high water pressure, can also be the root cause of a slab leak. Safe water pressure is typically between 60 and 80 PSI, and prolonged high pressure can cause pipes to burst. When undertaking slab leak detection services, plumbers may check your water supply’s PSI to make sure it’s not coming in at over the maximum.
What are the common signs of a slab leak?
Slab leaks can be both easy and challenging to detect. You may see water leaking through seams in the foundation or spot newly cracked areas where moisture is pooling. However, in some cases, a slab leak can go undetected for long periods. Some homeowners or business owners may not know what to look for or realize that commonly seen issues indicate a slab leak repair is required. In cases where you’re unsure if a symptom you’re seeing is related to a slab leak, a slab leak specialist in detection can be called upon to assess your property.
Some common indicators of a slab leak are:
- Water seeping through cracks in the foundation
- Water seeping through interior flooring inc. cracked floor tiles
- An uptick in the presence of mold and mildew
- Random hotspots if the hot water line is affected
- Overused water heater
- Constantly running water meter
- Unexplained utility bill spikes
- Running water noises when water sources are off
Quite often, slab leak detection will determine that it’s a hot water line that has started to leak. If this is the case, you’ll notice that your water heater may be overworked and that the leak of hot water generates the warm spots. Cold water leaks can be more challenging to pinpoint, but not impossible to do without specialist equipment.
Is there a non-invasive slab leak detection procedure?
The good news is if you’re experiencing the dreaded symptoms of a slab leak under your property, there are non-invasive procedures that can be used to pinpoint the leak’s location without extensively digging up foundations. Non-invasive slab leak detection tools help professional plumbers to locate the leak while creating the least amount of property damage.
Plumbing systems suspected to be leaking can be pressurized with hydrogen or helium, and tools used to pinpoint where the gas is escaping. This procedure can be used for slab leak detection in walls, under asphalt, and concrete. With modern technology, detection tools can quickly locate the source without breaking into walls and flooring.
What equipment is used for slab leak detection?
Highly trained and experienced plumbers will often use advanced video inspection equipment or slab leak detection equipment to locate the leak. Once isolated, repair options will be presented to the property owner. Possible solutions can include spot repair, re-routing or re-piping, and adding pipe linings. The following equipment types may be used to determine the location of a slab leak:
- Tracer gas
- Utility trackers and tracer reels
- Acoustic listening devices
- Borescope cameras
- Infrared cameras
As mentioned previously, tracer gas is commonly used to determine the leak source. One of the reasons that inert gases, such as hydrogen and helium, are used in leak detection is because they can help to detect even the smallest of leaks. The molecular size of these gases is much smaller than water, but if they can escape the pipe, it’s an indicator that so can water.
Tracer reels and utility trackers are designed to locate the pipe’s route through your slab. Modern tracers and trackers are designed with technology that filters out other utilities, including cables and drains, so that accurate pipe tracking occurs.
Acoustic listening devices, such as sensitive microphones, can help to determine the location of the leak by filtering out background noise and isolating the sound of escaping water.
Borescope cameras are particularly useful for inspecting hidden pipes under shower trays, flooring, and behind pipe boxes, and they only require a small entry point. Infrared cameras help detect leaks in hot water lines and heating systems as they notice changes in surface temperature.
If you suspect your Mansfield, TX, property is experiencing an underground slab leak, call our professional slab leak detection plumbers at Benjamin Franklin. Our plumbers are available to deal with emergencies 24/7, so there’s no need to delay an inspection. Contact us ASAP to discuss your concerns.