How Can You Detect a Slab Leak?

Slab Leak Repair

While California is known as The Sunshine State to the country, it is also known for its conservation and environmental efforts. This is the state where emissions are controlled, solar power is promoted, and water is considered a valuable resource. This is why homeowners are focused on saving this resource, and when the possibility is there, they seek a professional slab leak detection service.

Why would you need slab leak detection, are slab leaks hard to find?

It may be an exciting anticipation to discover gold in California, but discovering a slab leak is a nightmare. How long can a slab leak go undetected? A slab leak can go undetected for days, weeks, months, or even years. A slab leak can be so small that it goes undetected for years. Then some leaks start out a trickle and get bigger and bigger, causing extensive damage as the water leaks. 

How can I tell if I have a water leak under my slab?

As a homeowner, some things can indicate that you may have a slab leak. A slab leak detection by a plumber will find the exact area of the leak so that they can make pipe repairs or pipe replacements as needed, but if you’re noticing any of the following, these could be an indicator: 

  1. Warms spots on the floor.
  2. Water stains on the floor or along the lower parts of the walls. 
  3. The foundation is shifting, and the ground is wet around the foundation.
  4. An increase in the water bill.
  5. The water pressure has dropped. 
  6. Mildew and mold growth
  7. Peeling paint
  8. Warped wood

If you have noticed any of these things, another slab leak detection you can take is to turn all the appliances, faucets, and spigots are turned off. Check the water meter and note the reading. Wait an hour then check the meter reading again. If there is an increase in the numbers, you have a plumbing leak, which could be within the slab foundation of your home. 

What slab leak detection process do plumbers use? 

You’ve noticed some or all of the things we listed, but how can you determine the exact area of the leak? Well, as a homeowner, you probably can’t, but a professional plumber has several tools that use the latest in technology for slab leak detection: 

  • THERMAL IMAGING: This is a non-invasive method that plumbers use the most. This allows them to find slab leaks in hidden leaks in pipes by subtle temperature changes in the water. There is a camera attached to a flexible cable that the plumber inserts into the plumbing. The camera captures images of the thermal signatures and sends them to a small television-type screen, showing the plumber the exact area. 
  • ULTRASONIC SLAB LEAK DETECTION: In the world of plumbing, this is a cutting-edge technique that pinpoints the exact area of a slab leak. Detection with this technology uses sophisticated microphones that pick up the sound of water flowing through the slab and the pipes. The audio is amplified through this equipment and transformed into either decibel readings or visible signals, making the slab leak detection exact. 
  • ACOUSTIC LEAK DETECTION: Another advanced technology that is sound-based and zeroes in on the sound of water leaking through a pressurized plumbing system. The plumber places acoustic sensors along the outside of the plumbing pipes and picks up the distinct sound of water flowing. The plumbing technician is then able to make a pinpoint slab leak detection. 


In addition to these three technologies of slab leak detection, others that plumbers have at their disposal include: 


When you schedule a plumber for slab leak detection, they will inspect plumbing areas of your home, using some of the basic methods we’ve listed for you to use, and then discuss with you the different methods they can use for a more precise slab leak detection. Not every house will benefit from the same method.

Does the homeowner’s insurance cover slab leaks?

Yes and no. If the slab leak detection finds the leak is caused by a busted pipe or an explosion, depending on the details of your specific policy, the insurance may cover the slab removal and pipe replacement process. If the slab leak detection finds that is due to the age of the pipes, homeowner’s insurance will not have this under “covered perils” in most cases. However, it may cover any repairs to the area damaged, like floors and walls.

In Conclusion

If you’ve never experienced a slab leak, detection isn’t something you’ve never experienced either, so you may be wondering, just how common are leaks under a slab? Well, there is a good chance you currently have a slab leak, that’s how common it is. Slab leaks are more common than most homeowners are aware of until it is too late.  If your home isn’t on a pier-n-beam, it is on a concrete slab and when it was built, the water drain, lines, and pipes were installed before the concrete was poured. 

As the ground shifts, the foundation moves, the most common cause of a slab leak. Detection will not only find where you have plumbing leaks, but where you may need to have foundation work done.