Is a slab leak dangerous?
A water leak of any kind is not a good thing to discover for a homeowner, but a slab leak may be the worst. A slab leak for houses means more than just a plumbing issue, it usually includes the issues with the foundation too.
Annoying, dangerous, and serious! A slab leak occurs under the foundation of your home and is caused by a water pipe started leaking or even busted. It usually goes unnoticed for some time and is usually noticed by electric bill and water bill increasing. Unfortunately, by then, the damage is done, but left alone, it will keep getting worse. The problems you can expect are:
- Carpeting, flooring, rugs ruined: Water that has seeped into the structure from underneath can only go up. The floors get saturated, carpet gets soaked, tiles crack, wood warps, etc.
- Foul smell: A slab leak will create a musty smell in the house, sometimes a raw sewage odor if the slab leak is the sewer line.
- Mildew and mold: With the carpeting and flooring soaked in water, the drywall will be soaking up the water. That gets mildewed and then mold begins growing. Mold is a health hazard for everyone, especially anyone with allergies or sinus issues.
- Foundation is damaged: A slab leak will weaken the integrity of your home, including the concrete and steel that supports the foundation. Your foundation will begin to crack and shift, even collapse.
- Lawn damage: If the pipe causing the slab leak goes out under the yard, It will flood your lawn, ruin the grass and landscaping. Other features in your yard like brick or concrete walkways, a swimming pool, etc., can be damaged by this same leaking water pipe.
How long can a slab leak go undetected?
They can go a long, long time undetected! It is an attentive, on-the-job homeowner that will detect a slab leak before it gets to the point it is noticed in most cases. If you’re diligent about looking at your utility bills with eagle eye, you may notice it within a month. Or if the leak is really bad, you may notice a wet floor with no rhyme or reason why its wet. If you notice a mildew, musty odor, then that slab leak has been going on for a bit.
How do you fix a slab leak?
If you have a slab leak, whether to repair it or not isn’t an option. Where you may have an option is how it is repaired, but that will be the decision of the plumbing contractor you choose. What will be important factors in this decision is the age of the plumbing and the house, the type of materials of the pipes, and where the slab leak is located. Here we explain four different repair methods that can be used for slab leak repairs:
1. Breaking Into the Slab
Getting straight to the problem is another option. This is the shortest way, but it can be expensive and disruptive. When the plumber is done, you’ll need a foundation specialist to get things back right.
2. Rerouting or Re-piping
In some cases, a plumber may determine that staying above the ground it the better option, so they will reroute the pipes above ground and avoid digging under the house. For example, the plumbing pipes are encased in concrete slab and the slab will have to be destroyed to reach the pipes. The plumber will reroute the pipes through closets, walls, or the attic, using creativity to hide the pipes, like crown molding. This method and the next two are way to fix slab leak without jackhammering.
3. Dig a Tunnel Under the Slab
This is one slab leak repair method that will offer you, the homeowner, three benefits:
- you don’t have to leave home while work is being done;
- the mess will kept outside, and
- this is the least expensive method
Once a plumber has explained the options available for the slab leak repair, tunneling is the preferred method because of those reasons. There is some chance that flooring may need repairing or replacing, but if that slab leak has been happening or awhile, you’re going to need to do that anyway.
The plumber will dig a tunnel 3’ x 3’ under your house, up to 100 feet long or longer, and remove the busted pipe, and replace it with new plumbing. It is important that the plumber replace the dirt correctly and test the new plumbing before the job is complete.
Trenchless is the process of pipe lining, or CIPP (cured in place pipe), both are extremely popular choices today because there is no jackhammering or trench digging involved. The broken plumbing lines are repaired by the plumber digging a small hole on each end of the busted line then sending a new pipe lining through the broken pipe that is coated with epoxy. That coating hardens inside the old pipe and forms a new pipe.
How do you stop slab leaks?
Slab leaks can be prevented by doing the following things:
- Keep the soil moist all year around your home. We may have a really wet year and the next 2 or 3 will be really dry with little to no rain. When the ground is dry, a gap appears around the foundation. This is why you need to invest in a soaker hose or an irrigation system and run it twice a week to get ¼ “ deep in the ground wet when there isn’t any rain.
- Be careful what goes in the drains. Chemical drain cleaners are the worst thing you can do to your plumbing. Don’t poor fats, grease, or oil, or put fruit pits and bones in the drain.
- Test the water’s pH level: If your water has too much acid, it can do the same damage as OTC chemicals and it stays in the plumbing lines, eating away and before you realize it, you have a slab leak.
- Check the water pressure: Your home’s plumbing system should have a water pressure of 40-60 PSI. Any higher stresses the plumbing pipes & joints, creates leaks and that can lead to a slab leak.
- Annual plumbing inspection: This is one thing that every homeowner should do, but most don’t. An inspection of your plumbing has the same importance as the inspection and tune up your HVAC system.
How long does it take to repair a slab leak
Every house and every slab leak is different, but the average time is 2 days. If jackhammering has to be done, this won’t include the foundation repair.
Which is the worst scenario, slab leak vs wall leak?
They can be equal in resulting disaster and damage, but slab leak is the worse. The wall leak maybe contained to only the wall, which could be the plumbing or the air conditioning. The slab leak will damage the foundation, weaken the structure, and over time, creeps up the wall, and beyond.
How does slab leak and insurance work?
Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect your homeowner’s insurance to pay for much on a slab leak fiasco. In most cases, the insurance company will determine this is homeowner maintenance and not a sudden catastrophe by events beyond your control. It won’t hurt to review your policy or call your agent, but don’t be surprised if they tell you nothing of a slab leak is covered. Need help with a slab leak in Pottstown, PA? Call 484-366-9362 today.