What you need to know about slab leaks
In Florida, the majority of residents live in homes that were built on a concrete slab of foundation. This slab of concrete is the support and main structure for your entire home, so as you can imagine, it is important that it is kept in good shape.
The following is information about slab leaks so that you can keep your home in excellent condition.
What Are Slab Leaks?
A slab leak is the term professionals use when referring to leaking water pipes underneath a house. Typically, copper pipers are buried beneath slabs of concrete underneath your foundation. Unfortunately, this means that they can go unnoticed for a long time. And as the water damage builds up, soaking away at the under structure of your home, these leaks can do considerable damage to the exterior over time.
What Causes Slab Leaks?
Water pipes often use copper because it is resistant to water erosion. However, nothing lasts forever, and nothing is invulnerable. As time goes on the copper in the pipes becomes corroded and eventually cracks and holes develop. When these appear in above-ground pipes, they are called pinhole leaks, but underground where they can go undetected for months, they can cause a lot of damage.
Other causes include things like sinkholes or less severe forms of ground shifts, which are common in Florida with our high-water table and torrential downpours. When the surrounding soil shifts erratically, it can put pressure on the pipes from multiple different directions, leading to stress fractures and warping the metal.
Damage could also be caused by natural abrasion as the pipes shift and grind against exposed surfaces. This is a common issue if pipes were buried too close to the concrete above, or even too close to one another.
Another alternative is that the pipes were simply installed improperly or suffered damage during the installation process. Minor gaps or dents may seem like nothing but can become significant as time and pressure work on them.
Slab Leak Indicators
These leaks typically start small and, because the leaking pipes are buried under thick concrete, are not always easy to detect. However, there are a couple of signals homeowners should know so they can more easily spot a slab leak before it becomes a bigger problem. These signs include:
- Mold or mildew growth or a general musty smell
- Moisture under the carpets
- Low water pressure
- Puddles of water in your yard or near the base of your house
- Pipes or water meters active when not in use
- Sudden increase in your water bill
Understanding these indicators and knowing what to look out for can save you a massive headache and significant repair bills in the future, so keep this list as a reference.
If you notice any of the above factors or have noticed any weird occurrences with your plumbing, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. If you do encounter a slab leak and encounter water damage, reach out to SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to help get your home restored in quick order. Call us today at 352-374-6589.