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Slab Leaks 101

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in learning about slab leaks. Good. Consider yourself enrolled in the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas University’s Slab Leaks 101. Sit back, relax, and learn everything you need to know about slab leaks and how to fix them.

First, what is a slab leak?

To tell you what a slab leak is, we first have to explain what the slab itself is. For most homes, the slab is the concrete foundation that acts as the very bottom support of the house itself. Houses are built on top of concrete slabs that are poured on top of level soil or gravel surfaces.

If something happens to the slab, it then puts the entire home resting on top of it in danger. A “slab leak” happens when your plumbing has a leak that has found its way underneath your foundation. That water either pools below the slab or comes pooling up from underneath. They’re bad news.

What causes slab leaks in the first place?

A variety of things can cause slab leaks, and some of them come down to really bad luck. The main culprits, however, include:

  • CorrosionIf a pipe is underground, it’s safe to say it has a lot of contact with the soil around it.
    Soil contains various metals that can lead to a process called galvanic corrosion, which eats through pipes, causing leaks.
  • Pressure: This weight sometimes puts enough pressure on the pipes to make them crack. This is most common in places where the soil shifts frequently, such as areas with clay-rich soil or earthquake activity.
  • Abrasion: However, sometimes things shift or get old, and pipes may start vibrating in ways that were not accounted for. If that vibration is next to a hard surface (like the concrete that makes up your slab foundation), it can cause the pipe metal to wear away until a hole forms.

What are the most common signs of a slab leak?

Slab leaks aren’t typically something you notice right away, since most people don’t hang out in the dirt beneath their homes. That’s okay! There are plenty of obvious signs that will signal to you that it’s time to call a professional.

First is the sound of running water. If you hear running water beneath your flooring when no taps or other appliances are on, it’s very likely that you have a slab leak. Other signs include warm patches in your flooring, puddles, mold growth, and an inexplicable increase in your water bill.

What do I do if I suspect that I have a slab leak?

Call a professional! Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about a slab leak on your own. Luckily, modern technology provides plumbing technicians with plenty of options to find and repair these leaks with minimal intrusion.

Most companies use a variety of sound-based equipment to find leaks. Once they’re found, the way they’re fixed depends on the severity of the leak and the condition of your plumbing. Options include repairing the damaged section using epoxy pipe linings, rerouting an old pipe, or completely repiping the house.

Now we come to the final, most important question: who do I call if I think I have a slab leak?

The team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Dallas in Dallas is fully experienced in both finding and repairing slab leaks for homes both new and old. We’ve got you – and the foundation of your home – covered.