How to Detect a Water Leak Beneath Concrete

No matter what kind of leak you have, the faster you fix it the better. Even tiny, minor leaks waste a surprising amount of water every day. All that leaking water has to end up somewhere, too, and it’s never anywhere you want it. The longer leaks continue wasting water, the more expensive and potentially damaging they become. That’s why the most dangerous and expensive leaks of all are the ones that are difficult to find.

Few leaks are as difficult to find or as potentially damaging as hidden slab leaks. Slab leaks are water leaks beneath the concrete of your home’s framing and foundation. Over time, these leaks can foster dangerous mold growth or even inflict significant structural damage. If you have a slab leak, it’s critically important to find and fix it fast. To do that, you’ll have to learn to recognize the signs of slab leaks whenever you see them. Here’s what to look for:

Pay attention to your monthly water bill.

Water bills tend to fluctuate from month to month naturally. If you even notice these fluctuations, however, they should be relatively minor. You shouldn’t notice a substantial, sudden increase. If you notice a massive spike in your water bill, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. You may also notice a steady increase month-over-month. Either way, a rising water bill is a bad sign–especially if you can’t figure out why it’s rising.

Even if you notice your water bill rising, however, you shouldn’t panic just yet. There are all kinds of reasons why your water bill might rise besides slab leaks. Any leak, no matter how apparently minor, could account for some water bill fluctuation. Check your toilets, pipe joints, and faucets. You might be surprised to find minor leaks you’d overlooked! If you can’t find any leaks, however, then it’s time to look a little deeper.

Search for pooling water in your lower levels.

When you have a slab leak, water starts building up beneath your home’s concrete foundation. When that water runs out of places to go, it’ll start pushing its way up wherever it can. Eventually, the water might reach up to the surface of your home. There, it will begin pooling around your yard or the lower levels of your home.

If the problem gets this bad, it’s very important you fix it as soon as possible. Pooling water can warp floors, create sinkholes, and even wear away at the structural integrity of the entire home. Slab leaks warp wooden flooring particularly quickly, which is a big problem because replacing damaged wood is expensive. If you find puddling or moisture around your yard or floors, call us right away.

Use your nose.

Unfortunately, hidden slab leaks can be very difficult to find in their early stages. Instead, they tend to quietly leak away for weeks, until the water starts creating problems you can actually notice. The earliest of these problems is often mold. As leaked water sits, mold begins to use it to develop in the cracks and crevices beneath your home. As that mold grows, it will begin to smell. That smell may be your earliest indication that something’s wrong.

If you’re considered you have a slab leak, follow your nose! Walk down to the lowest level of your home. See if you smell anything moldy or musty. If you do, start cleaning. See if you can find the source of the smell anywhere in the room itself. If you can’t, then the smell may be coming from BELOW.

Know what to look for different kinds of leaks.

If you’ve made it to this step, you’re probably pretty sure you have a leak. If you want to figure out what kind of leak you have, there are more things you can do. Try walking around on your floor barefoot and looking for warm spots. If you feel warm spots, mark them and then check them again a day later. If they still feel warm, then one of your warm pipes is probably leaking.

If you’re considered about a sewer leak, it’s likely you’ll be able to smell… well, sewage. Sewage leaks may also crack or warp the flooring in your lower levels. If you notice cracks in your tile, brick, or molding, then you might have a sewage leak. If you notice cracking and smell sewage… you should call some professionals right away.

Speaking of professionals, the team at Ben Franklin Plumbing know exactly what to do to handle water leaks beneath your concrete. If you’ve gone through these steps and you think you have a leak, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll take care of the problem swiftly and completely so you don’t have to worry.