The most dangerous and expensive leaks are the ones that are difficult to find.
Few leaks are 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 quickly. To do that, you’ll have to learn to recognize slab leak signs and understand where they come from.
Can Water Seep Through Concrete?
Yes. Concrete is a porous material.
Concrete is poured wet when it’s first laid. When it dries, that moisture has to go somewhere. As the water evaporates, it creates tiny capillaries in the concrete. That network of capillaries remains when the concrete hardens.
When moisture contacts the concrete’s surface – say from a water leak – it finds these tiny channels and travels through them. At a macro level, concrete is very strong. At a micro level, it’s more like a sponge.
Another problem, unfortunately, is that concrete contains calcium, which dissolves in water. Those tiny little aqueducts will get bigger over time as the water carves away more calcium.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
The concrete foundation of your home is called a slab. There are three plumbing lines running underneath it: water, sewer and gas. If any one of these becomes compromised and leaks, it could damage your home or yard.
There are several factors that could cause your lines to break or leak:
- Faulty installation
- Pipe corrosion
- Tree roots
- Shifting earth
- High water pressure
Slab leak detection soon after leaks occur is crucial to saving money and preventing long-term damage.
Pay Attention to Rising Water Bills
Water bills tend to fluctuate naturally – minor changes occur from month-to-month. But you shouldn’t notice a substantial, sudden increase.
If you notice a massive spike in your water bill or even a steady increase month-over-month, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. A rising water bill is a bad sign – especially if you can’t figure out why it’s rising.
Don’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.
How to Find a Water Leak Under a Concrete Floor
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 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, foster mold, create sinkholes, and even wear away at the structural integrity of the entire home.
Use your nose.
Unfortunately, hidden slab leaks can be very difficult to find in their early stages. The earliest of these problems is often mold. As leaked water sits, mold begins to develop in the cracks and crevices beneath your home. As that mold grows, it will begin to smell. That musty smell may be your earliest indication that something’s wrong.
Walk down to the lowest level of your home. If you smell anything moldy or musty, trace the source of the smell. If you can’t, it may be coming from BELOW.
Hot Water Coming from Concrete Floor
Walk around on your floor barefoot to look for warm spots. If you feel a warm spot, mark it and then check it again a day later. If the same spot still feels warm, it may mean your hot water pipe is leaking beneath.
If you have 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.
Expert Slab Leak Repair in Dallas, Plano and McKinney
Hopefully we’ve shown you how to find a water leak under a concrete floor. To stop leaks and repair damaged plumbing beneath your home’s foundation, you have several options.
A technician from Benjamin Franklin can assess your leak using the latest technology and give you the best, budget-friendly options for repairing the leak in your concrete slab floor. Call or contact us today to schedule your appointment with a punctual plumber.
More complex than you thought?
Contact a professional at Benjamin Franklin for your plumbing repair or installation needs.Contact Us 972-787-2158