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Slab Leaks 101: Causes, Detection, and Repair


It may seem like the concrete slab or basement floor is the absolute bottom level of your home. But did you know that both hot and cold water pipes run under there? You can’t see them, but when they leak, they can cause major problems for you and your home. These slab leaks have a variety of causes, and they can be hard to spot, so here’s our guide on what to look for, and what to do if you suspect a slab leak.

How Slab Leaks Occur

Some of the most likely causes of a slab leak include:

  • Corrosion: Decades ago, galvanized steel and cast iron were commonly used for home plumbing. While these materials were strong at the outset, they are very vulnerable to corrosion over time. If you have an older home, it’s possible that there are still steel and iron pipes in it, and they may have degraded enough to leak.
  • Chemical Reactions: Newer plumbing is mostly made of copper, which is resistant—but not totally immune—to chemical reactions. Chemicals that can degrade copper are sometimes found in water supplies, and if that’s the case in your home, you may want a water treatment system as well as slab leak repair. 
  • Expansion and Contraction: Temperature shifts from water running through the pipes cause the metal to expand and contract. Eventually, all that strain can cause cracks or breaks in the pipes.
  • Ground Shifting: Geologic activity such as erosion or hydrologic activity from a nearby underground spring or seasonal flooding can affect the slab, the ground underneath it, and the pipes.

Signs of Slab Leaks

Keep your eyes out for these indicators that you might have a slab leak:

  • Water Bill Increases or increased bills for the utility that fuels your water heater, in the case of a hot water pipe leak.
  • The Sound of Running Water when all faucets and appliances have been turned off.
  • Decreased Water Pressure which may be gradual or sudden.
  • Decreased Hot Water Availability in the case of a hot water pipe leak.
  • Warm Spots which might attract your pets, who love a cozy place to nap.
  • Mold Growth or an increased musty smell in your basement.

Slab Leak Repair

Before your slab leak can be repaired, you need leak detection in Tucson, AZ. In the past, a slab leak could mean massive damage would be caused to your foundation just in the process of trying to locate the source of the leak. Today’s plumbers use sonic detection, infrared technology, and even video pipe inspection to pinpoint leaks and make sure that the only area that is disrupted to repair the leak is the precise spot where the damage is. Once that spot is identified, your plumber can discuss plans with you for accessing and repairing the leaking pipe while minimizing the affect on your home.

If you suspect a slab leak, don’t delay. Prompt detection and repair can save you thousands, because fixing water damage, having mold remediation, and worst of all, trying to salvage a badly damaged foundation, can be incredibly costly.

Contact Picture Rocks Cooling, Heating & Plumbing today to schedule an appointment with our professionals.

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