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What the Slab Leak Is—And Why It’s a Tricky Plumbing Problem

slab-leak-crack-in-foundationLeaks. The horrible five-letter word no homeowner wants to hear in connection to their plumbing. Leaks mean wasted water and severe water damage. Now add the four-letter word slab, and you have an even bigger worry. You may not have heard about this specific type of leak, but slab leaks present a tricky plumbing problem, and only the best professionals can solve them.

The Slab Leak Basics

A slab leak is a professional plumber term for a leak in either the cold or hot water lines down in the concrete foundation of a building. A slab leak can also refer to any leaking pipe set down in granite or concrete. As far as your house is concerned, a slab leak is any pipe leak in the home’s foundational slab.

Slab leaks can start for several reasons. Pipe corrosion is common among older pipe materials, such as galvanized steel and iron. The pipes can also abrade against the stone and wear down, which is more common in hot water pipes. (The majority of slab leaks start in the hot water lines.) If the foundation shifts because of soil erosion, the pressure on the pipe can also create a leak.

A slab leak is serious trouble for a home because 1) it’s difficult to detect at first, and 2) can create significant damage to the house before its detected.

How to Detect a Slab Leak

This begs the question: how can you know you have a slab leak in the first place if the pipes are buried out of sight? Thankfully, slab leaks aren’t completely stealthy—they create warning signs you can catch if you know what to watch for:

  • Odd behavior from the water heater, such as turning on and off when there’s no hot water in use.
  • The sound of running water in the basement.
  • Cracks along the basement floor.
  • A rise in humidity in the lower parts of the house.
  • The growth of mold and mildew in the basement.
  • A large, unexplained spike in water use on utility bills.

When you see any of these signs, call a plumber to see if you have a slab leak.

Solving the Slab Leak

A slab leak is a challenging plumbing repair because the pipe is down in concrete. Fixing a slab leak takes special training and advanced tools. A plumber first uses leak detection equipment such as acoustic listening discs and thermal scanners to pinpoint the location of the leak. The plumber can then either excavate to reach the pipe or use lateral repair techniques to insert a new pipe to bypass the older one. The plumber will use the best method to repair the leak fast and with minimal disruption to the house.

Call on the Plumbing Experts When You Have a Slab Leak

You only want an Andover, MA plumbing company with licensing, experience, and the best tools available to fix a slab leak. We have licensed Master Plumbers on staff and customer service is our #1 priority, so make us your choice when you suspect a slab leak—or when you have any other plumbing need.

Turn to the company that’s been trusted for over 30 years: Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC.

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