Slab Leaks: What Homeowners With This Problem Should Know And Do

Many areas of the country have terrain or soil challenges that prevent the inclusion of a basement in the original building design. When water levels are very high or soil types are problematic, a concrete slab foundation is typically used instead. Other reasons that a home may be built on a slab instead of a basement includes the desire to eliminate stairs in the design or a desire to save money on the cost of the building project. 

While there are many good reasons to choose a slab foundation, there is one common problem as well. This problem, called a slab leak, occurs when plumbing pipes below the surface of the concrete slab foundation begin to leak. Homeowners who note a slab leak or suspect one is developing can use this information to help address the problem. 

Understand the cause 

Slab leaks most often form when something occurs that puts pressure on the pipes or does damage to them. Foundation shifts or some type of impact are common causes of abrasion, pressure, or other types of pipe damage that can result in a slab leak. 

Another cause is simple corrosion. Plumbing pipes that are made of steel or copper are most at risk of corroding over time, especially if they were installed in such a manner that they have constant contact with moist soil. 

Understand the signs 

When a slab leak first develops, homeowners may not notice that a problem exists until it is significant. The first signs that a possible slab leak exists include:

  • spikes in water bills or indications that the water meter dial is continuing to turn when no water is being used inside the home
  • dampness in floor surfaces on top of the slab, such as carpeting or foam padding
  • noting the smell or visual signs of mold or mildew 
  • hearing sounds of water running when no faucets are being used

Homeowners may also notice water pooling around the perimeter of the home or the appearance of greener vegetation in these areas. Any of these signs can indicate the presence of a slab leak that can cause serious water damage to your home and unexpectedly leave your family without running water. 

If you suspect a slab leak has formed under your home, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage and reduce the scope of the repair. Contacting a reputable HVAC contractor is the first step in diagnosing a potential slab leak and finding the best way to correct it.