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Locating leaks in your pipes has traditionally been a challenging activity, requiring exploration behind walls or under floors to visually identify pipe damage that could actually be far from where the water is accumulating and causing damage. At Slableak.com, our experience and the technologies we use in Mansfield, TX and the surrounding area help us focus on leak origins even before we can see them, allowing us to be more effective in our slab leak detection and repairs, and requiring less cleanup and restoration when the job is done.
Types of Slab Leaks
Depending on the construction of your home, you may have pipes that run through concrete and underneath your foundation slab, or right in the concrete itself. The pipes are laid early in the building of the house before the concrete is poured, but after the basic pipe layout or “drain waste vent” (DWV) is approved. Pipes under the slab can include your water supply and drains, but in some cases also include hot water pipes from your water heater that distribute your home’s hot water supply. Slab leak detection can locate problems in any of those pipes. If hot water pipes spring a leak, one symptom may be a warm spot on your basement floor.
Causes of Slab Leaks
Pipes located “under the slab” are exposed to soil movement including that caused by water table changes and ground movement, especially from seismic activity that causes local ground shifts. Tree roots can get under and slowly push on them as often happens with sewer lines in the yard. Aging pipes may spring a leak on their own, as metal pipes corrode or plastic pipes degrade over time. In those cases, you may be experiencing leaks in other places in your home, and it’s time to think about checking under the slab for leaks. Foundation shifts can also cause serious under-slab plumbing problems. It’s important to consider the cause of the slab leak and employ experienced slab leak detection experts, because finding and repairing a single leak may be followed by evidence of other leaks soon after. If the cause is likely to have caused multiple leaks, the repair strategy may also be considerably different.
Ways to Identify Possible Slab Leak Repair Needs
Indirect evidence such as significantly increased water usage, water pooling around the sides of your foundation, or cracks in your foundation or basement floor can lead to more advanced slab leak detection steps. Likewise, reduced water pressure is a possible sign of a leak or soft spots on the concrete floor where water has damaged the concrete. More directly, digging under or cutting into the concrete to visually inspect is one method of slab leak detection, and technology provides ways of detecting hidden pipe leaks using ultrasonic sensors and video inspection equipment that runs inside the pipe.
Plumber’s Knowledge of Local Construction Methods
One of the important considerations in slab leak detection and repair is being as direct and effective as possible since repair methods tend to be labor-intensive and can be costly. Employing a highly experienced slab leak repair team with extensive knowledge of the construction of area homes helps target leaks and make effective repairs using experience in place of exploration whenever possible. The way the pipes are run, the materials used, and other details of construction methods including whether hot water pipes are involved can all help guide the process effectively.
Old School Slab Leak Detection Methods
Visual inspection and repair of slab leaks have traditionally involved digging under the slab or cutting through with a jackhammer. It’s similar to leak repairs in the walls of your home, where plumbers used to have to make multiple cuts in the walls to find the source, requiring significant wall repairs afterward. Newer approaches include visual leak detection but from the inside of the pipe using video equipment, which requires minimal cuts in the wall, and ultrasonic leak detection that senses the sound of water escaping from the pipe, and provides fairly accurate distance information from the test point on the pipe to the leak itself.
Video pipe inspection is used for many purposes besides leak detection since it provides a high-resolution picture using a tiny camera on a long lead. Depending on the pipes being inspected, drain clogs can be visualized or pipe damage and corrosion identified that can lead to timely repairs instead of additional leaks.
Ultrasonic Leak Detection and Other Technologies
Ultrasonic leak detection targets the “whistle” of even small amounts of water escaping through a crack in the pipe and provides calculated distance measurements to help locate the leak. Combined with video inspection and sometimes thermal imaging, the nature of the leak problem can be identified without the degree of destructive exploration that was required in the past.
Confirming the Leak Rather Than Exploring for It
The best part of leak detection methods is that they can be used to confirm leaks, even if there are none of the usual indirect signs yet. Since these methods locate leaks with a minimum of intrusion, they can be used on aging plumbing as an inspection method to discover and confirm leaks early on and set a repair strategy rather than waiting for later, when multiple leaks may have occurred and further exploration is needed.
Slab Leak Detection Is a Challenging Job — Call the Experts in Mansfield, TX
At Slableak.com, our plumbers have developed expertise in locating leaks in your Mansfield, TX home, especially those underneath the concrete slab of your foundation. We know where to look for the most likely problems, and we have the equipment to confirm the leak location and target repairs effectively. We also offer a range of slab leak repair solutions so you can select the one that suits you best. Give us a call if you suspect there’s a leak under your slab, and our slab leak detection team will get to work to find and resolve the issue.