You’re a responsible homeowner, right? You watch for trouble spots around your home and take care of them as soon as possible.
While many maintenance issues are obvious, some are covert. They develop quietly underground. If they remain undetected, they can cause major damage to your home.
A slab leak is one of those silent maintenance issues.
You might not know much about slab leaks but you will after reading our post.
We’ve put together a how-to about slab leaks. Learn more here about what they are, how to find them, what to do about them, and who to call for slab leak repair service.
Table of Contents
If you live in Southern California, it likely your home sits on a slab foundation. In the Pacific region of the United States, which California is part of, roughly 65.9% of homes have slab foundations.
A slab foundation consists of a layer of concrete poured over a soil or gravel surface.
When you hear the term slab leak, it doesn’t mean your foundation has a leak. A slab leak refers to a leak in the plumbing system underneath the foundation.
Curious about what causes a slab leak? The 3 main causes of slab leaks are:
Southern California homes are susceptible to slab leaks caused by excess pressure due to earthquakes. Corrosion is often found in older plumbing systems constructed from copper or galvanized steel pipes. Any plumbing system with water flowing through pipes can spring a leak due to abrasion.
Since slab leaks develop out of sight, let’s look at slab leak symptoms.
Since slab leaks occur under a home’s foundation, you may not see any obvious signs you have a leak.
Like the human body, your home may have symptoms when something isn’t quite right. Symptoms are often subtle but if ignored, can lead to major damage in your home. Keep an out for the following:
Puddles—both inside and outside
Mold under carpets.
A hot floor
Noise—listen for water running under the floor when you’re not using water.
Cracks in your foundation, walls, or flooring
A high water bill
Keep in mind each of these subtle symptoms could have other causes. Just as you wouldn’t self-diagnose a health issue, don’t rely on intuition for confirmation of a slab leak.
The signs may all point to a slab leak but you still need proof. Don’t be that homeowner who rents a jackhammer and breaks open the foundation before verifying the problem.
Maybe in the old days of plumbing repair, cracking open the foundation was the way to detect a leak, but it’s not that way today. Now, most professionals use leak detection methods that aren’t destructive.
When you call a slab leak repair service today, they’ll use sonic equipment, including ground mics and acoustic systems.
An acoustic system detects noise made by the vibrations caused when water exits a leaky pipe. Sonic location systems and video pipe inspection equipment can also help pinpoint a slab leak.
Once you have confirmed that you’re not dealing with a simple plumbing leak, it’s time to consider your repair options.
Now that you have proof of the issue, you and your plumbing service will have a sit-down so that you can discuss next steps.
Your repair options depend on the severity of the leak, the conditions of the pipe, and the integrity of your overall plumbing system. Your plumber should discuss these three repair options with you:
For a minor leak with a pipe in good condition, you can usually repair the damaged section. Your plumber may also suggest epoxy pipe lining. This is the most practical solution and won’t require breaking your foundation.
When a leaky pipe is old or in bad condition, repair may not be ideal. The problem with repairing old pipes is when you repair a leak in one spot, you may end up with another leak in the same pipe. Shutting off the damaged pipe and rerouting may be the best option in this case.
Finally, if you live in an old house and the plumber determines the entire pipe system is deteriorating, you’re probably a candidate for a repipe.
While you won’t know the exact cost of repair until your plumbing professional investigates the extent of the problem, you can look at national averages for slab leak repair.
Start with leak detection. The cost of detection ranges from $125-400. Some contractors include the cost of detection with the repair services.
Leak repair runs between $500 and $4000 depending on the extent of the leak and the level of difficulty in accessing the pipe. If you decide on rerouting expect to pay between $200 and $1500. A total house repipe costs anywhere from $2000-$15,000.
Remember, these are national averages. You may pay more or less depending on your location, the severity of the leak, and the expertise of your plumber.
Major home repairs aren’t always covered by homeowner’s insurance. A slab leak is a major home repair and your insurance may cover at least a portion of the repair costs.
First, read your homeowner’s insurance policy as it should outline coverage and deductibles.
For simple repairs, you may have coverage for breaking the foundation and replacement of the pipe. Insurance may not cover the cost of labor. Hint: Look for a tear-out provision in your policy.
If you need either rerouting or a repipe, you may be responsible for 100% of the costs. Even so, it’s not a bad idea to petition the insurance company for a rate adjustment after you complete the repair. Some insurance companies look at the reduction in risk of future leaks and may lower your rate.
Since insurance policies vary widely, it’s always best to discuss your coverage with your representative rather than make assumptions.
Thanks for reading our guide to slab leaks. While no one wants a major plumbing repair, it’s better if you know what to look for, who to call, and what to expect as far as repair options and costs.
If you’re concerned that you might have a leak, we’re the experts in slab repair leak service. Contact ustoday and let us help get your plumbing system back to normal.