How to Tell if You Have a Slab Leak

What is a slab leak?

In California, the ground moves with earthquakes and proximity to the ocean, so it isn’t unusual for homes to have movement. Homeowners are accustomed to this and the repercussions it can create. Like causing a slab leak, detection of that issue is important before it leads to bigger problems.

A slab leaks happens when a water pipe leaks inside or under the concrete slab foundation of a house. A slab leak can be from the incoming water line, the water heater water line, or in the sewage line.

What causes a leak in the slab?

A slab leak can appear to be an insignificant, small issue at first, However I a slab leak detection isn’t successful, costly and significant damage can occur. An unattended slab leak will saturate the soil under the foundation, making floors uneven, doors and windows hard to close or open, and more.

How serious is a slab leak?

Eventually, without slab leak detection and repairs, the foundation, with the house structure, will begin sinking into the ground.

A slab leak creates other problems before it gets to the point of sinking. The annoying problems you’ll have inside your home can be one or all of these:

  • Carpet soaked, tile cracks, wood floors warped: Yes, the first thing to be ruined are the floors aswater seeps into the structure from below.
  • Foul odor and smells:  A slab leak will create a moldy, musty odor, and if it is the sewer line leaking, the smell is worse.
  • Mildew to Mold:  Once the water leak has created mildew, it begins to turn to mold, and that mold will seep into the house just like the water did. The drywall and wood will absorb that water, the mildew and mold will continue growing and potentially creating a health hazard.
  • Damage to the foundation: A slab leak left undetected and unaddressed will weaken the structural integrity of the foundation, the steel supports, and eventually begins to comprise the walls, ceiling, and roof. A cracked or collapsed foundation and structure isn’t far behind.
  • Damage to your landscaping and yard: Sometimes a slab leak is coming from underground water pipe leaks. These leaks begin to flood the landscaping and yard, including any brick or concrete paths and walkways. In-ground swimming pools begin to crack and leak.

Do you know how to spot a slab leak?

Statistically speaking, every home in California is prone to have a slab leak at some point. Because a slab leak can create so many problems, the earlier slab leak detection is done and the repairs that follow, the better. The following are Slab leak signs that every homeowner should be on the watch for:

  • Buckled, separated, warped, floorboards: If your hardwood floors are buckling or tile floors are cracking, it could be from excess moisture from underneath the floor.
  • Water bill increases: If your water bill has had a recent spike but you’re not using any more water than normal, this could be a sign you need slab leak detection.  There are mold detectors that offer water leak detection too.  
  • Damp, wet carpet: Just like floorboards, carpet absorbs moisture and water from under the slab too, creating small swimming pools for ants and other insects. 
  • Random hot spots: A slab leak will cause hot spots in the flooring when it is the water heater leaking. A professional plumber will have a thermal imaging camera set up for slab leak detection.  
  • Mildew or mold: If you are smelling mildew or mold and can’t find the source causing it, you need professional slab leak detection service.
  • Water heater constantly running: When the water heater is constantly heating water, this is a possible slab leak, detection and determination are important and should be one as soon as possible.  
  • Water pressure decreased: If you’re having to run the water longer to rinse your hair or wash the dishes because you have low water pressure, a slab leak detection service is needed. There could be a leak in the pipes somewhere in or under the foundation.
  • Water puddles: When you notice water wicking up from the floor and creating puddles, this is a strong indication that you have a slab leak. Detection service can verify this for you and pinpoint where the slab leak is located.

How do you find a leak under a slab?

As we have mentioned several times already, slab leak detection is important for the health of your family and the safety of your home.  If you still aren’t sure of the indicators we’ve mentioned, we suggest this slab leak detection process:

  • Turn the water off at every faucet and source.
  • Once you’re sure there isn’t any running water inside or outside, look that wat water meter.
  • If you see the needle moving, you have a water leak somewhere.
  • Check water sources like the ice maker or water heater.
  • If there isn’t any obvious signs, schedule a slab leak detection service soon.

How does slab leak detection work?

Professional plumbers have special equipment for slab leak testing, which is more reliable than the methods we have offered here already. There are two different slab leak detection methods:  tracing equipment and static pressure testing or camera pipe inspection. These methods will enable the plumber to determine precisely where a slab leak is located:

Electronic Device

This electronic device makes it possible for a plumbing  technician to perform slab leak detection by listing for water leaks in the house’s hidden water lines. Once a slab leak detection is determined, they use a line tracer system that sends a small electric charge into the line that will find the exact spot leaking.

Static Leak Isolation

This type of slab leak detection involves a hydrostatic pressure testing using sewer video cameras in-line. This enable the plumber to determine where to place the system that will provide them a visual of the sewer system. Then hydrostatic pressure testing is used to determine a slab leak detection for the location. Then inflatable test balls are placed in the system that identifies specific places in the sewer line and provides slab leak detection.

leak through a slab

How much does slab leak detection cost?

Will my homeowner’s pay for the slab leak detection process?

The average cost for a professional plumber to perform a slab leak detection can start as low as $150 and go as high as $400. The level of difficulty will determine the final cost. Will your homeowner’s pay for this slab leak detection process? No, but it may help with the cost of repairs and replacement if the adjuster doesn’t deem it cause by homeowner neglect. This is one good reason why you should do periodic slab leak detection processes yourself from time to time. Get ahead of the issue before major damage and problems happen. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your slab leak detection needs in West Los Angeles, CA.