It can be difficult to find and fix pipes in the slab under your Mansfield, TX property if they leak because they are hard to access. This article will discuss the various ways that these leaks can be isolated and fixed, as well as identified.
In some cases, it’s possible to jack-hammer the concrete slab to fix the leak, then dig down to the pipe and repair it. You can also dig a tunnel through the soil underneath the slab, from the outside to the location of the leak. Alternatively, you can abandon the leaky line beneath the slab and run a new water line through your wall or attic. Lastly, you can use a copper line as a sleeve. The method of repair often depends on where the slab leak detection tool confirms the leak.
What is the difference between sewer leaks and slab leaks?
Water is provided by the local water company to suburban homes in the DFW metroplex. A water meter, typically located near the street, is used to measure the amount of water consumed at the property. Typically, the main water line holds a water pressure between 40 and 100 PSI, which keeps the water flowing throughout the entire system. One downside of a pressurized water supply line is that eventually, they will begin to leak as the pipes corrode over time. This can quickly put large amounts of water in the ground, irrespective of whether faucets or water-based appliances are in use.
Large PVC pipes are often used to create the sewer system. Cast iron pipes were used in homes built before 1986. These pipes are not subject to pressure, unlike the water system. Typically, sewer pipes are sloped downward so that waste naturally flows through them, courtesy of gravity. When sewer pipes break and begin to leak, they will only leak as much sewage as has been put through the system; for example, no more have been flushed down a drain at any given time.
Both types of slab leaks, sewer, and water, can cause foundation damage. However, this article will mainly concentrate on leaks from the pressurized water supply pipes. This type of slab leak is easier to spot and is often more urgent. Detection tools can provide a quick diagnosis, helping to prevent unnecessary damage to your Mansfield, TX property.
Key risk factors that lead to slab leak repairs:
- Your home was built between 1965 – 2005. Copper water lines may be under slab foundations if your home was built during this timeframe. This is because most homes built in the area before 1960 have pier and beam foundations.
- Slab leaks are more likely if the house was built in an area that has a lot of soil movement or foundation work completed in the past. This is because of the strain on the plumbing beneath a shifting or moving concrete slab. Slab leak detection tools can help identify if foundations are shifting and have caused damage.
- This is an additional risk factor if your home has large dimensions (more than 3,000 sq. ft.) and has a built-in water heater.
- Slab leaks are more likely if the house is located in an area with soil or water that is more acidic, or if the pipes were not sealed correctly where they run through concrete.
- A slab leak is more likely to occur if your house has suffered water heater failures previously or has a water heater more than a decade old.
- The likelihood of a slab leakage also increases if the house requires a major remodel or there have been previous slab leak repairs.
Simple Slab Leak Detection Tests
It’s possible to confirm a slab leak without slab leak detection tools. However, tools are a quicker, more accurate method of isolating the exact location of the leak. Check for hot floor areas, and miscellaneous running water sounds, and inspect the water meter to determine if there’s a possible slab leak. Some hints that you need to book a plumber to investigate whether you’ve got a slab leak on your property include:
- Hot floor areas. If the hot water pipe is leaking, you’ll find warm spots under the flooring.
- Soaring water bills. A 1/8 inch leak in a burst pipe can cause water bills to skyrocket, even at 40 PSI. In homes with higher water pressure, a leak can have disastrous effects on bills. In 24 hours alone, you can lose several gallons of water that you aren’t making use of but are being charged for.
- Hearing running water when faucets and appliances that use water aren’t in use.
- Water stains. A slab leak can sometimes be detected without slab leak detection tools by analyzing water stains on the floor in and around your home. Sometimes, the discoloration can be a sign of slab leakage.
- Water meter ticks over when the water is off. After shutting off the toilets, faucets, showers, etc., check the water meter to see if it ticks over. This could indicate a slab leak.
How a Plumber Locates a Slab Leak
You, the homeowner, are responsible for slab leak detection. If you suspect a slab leak, the best course of action is to engage a professional plumber capable of slab leak detection and repairs. Professional plumbing contractors can minimize the excavation required to fix a slab leak, preventing unnecessary damage to your home and its surroundings.
To find and diagnose the leak, plumbers use leak detection instruments, such as ground microphones, pressure sensors, acoustic disks, and video pipe inspection equipment. Once isolated, sewer leaks and water leaks in the slab foundation can be repaired.
Slab Leak Detection Tools
The team at SlabLeak.com can detect water leaks in Mansfield, TX using electronic leak detectors. This equipment amplifies noises and makes it easier to locate water leaks via sound. Plumbers may also use an electromagnetic pipeline locator before utilizing video inspection equipment to pinpoint leaks. The video camera is one of the most advanced slab leak detection tools in the plumbing industry. It can be used for real-time inspection of sewer lines and drains. If you suspect a slab leak, call one of our licensed plumbers today!