The short answer to this question is yes. If a slab leak has been identified as a problem under your property, it should be treated as an emergency, and fixing it is a priority. This is not a task for a DIY enthusiast, a slab leak threatens the integrity of the entire home and a professional plumber should deal with the problem. In this article, we will take a closer look at how to recognise a slab leak, their damage potential and how to fix them.
What is a Slab Leak?
Most homes sit on a slab of concrete that provides a solid foundation for the structure. Every modern home is connected to a wider network of plumbing pipes that carry water into the property and take the wastewater away. Most of this pipe network is hidden behind walls, in crawl spaces and under the foundation slab. Water is a solvent, it can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time because it can dissolve materials and create erosion problems. Eventually, this will lead to the formation of cracks in the slab that can cause the entire home to become unstable. Another problem is the sheer volume of water that can be wasted due to a hidden water leak located under the slab. This can add thousands of dollars to your annual water bill and fixing this problem needs to be a priority.
14 Slab Leak Warning Signs
Although a slab leak may be hidden from view, it will create other problems in the home that are easier to identify. If you know what to look for it’s far easier to spot a slab leak even if you don’t have any training as a plumber. If you suspect that you have a slab leak under your home, contact your local licensed and certified plumber to confirm this for you. Let’s take a look at fourteen common slab leak warning signs, they are:
- The formation of cracks in the foundation slab of your home.
- The odor of mold and mildew when the source cannot be seen.
- Cracks forming up the drywall that covers your walls.
- Moist, wet and deforrmed baseboards.
- A hot spot on your ground floor that cannot be explained.
- Pools of standing water that are located away from any plumbing pipes of fixtures.
- A higher than expected water bill.
- The hot water seems to run constantly.
- The water pressure decreases.
- The interior doors cannot close properly.
- Deformed wood floors, soggy carpets and mold growth.
- Frequent backups in the toilets, tubs and showers.
- The sound of running water when no faucets or appliances are turned on.
- A lack of sufficient volumes of hot water (this may be a hot water line leak).
If you notice one or more of these warning signs, it’s time to contact your local plumber for expert help and advice. A slab leak and the consequences will only get worse over time leading to a higher repair bill and more wasted water. Take fast action and the potential damage can be minimized to help you save your money and your home. It’s important to realize that most insurance companies take a dim view of slow action related to these types of problems. In some cases, this may even violate the terms of the policy because a lack of action will lead to a higher repair bill.
3 Slab Leak Damage Problems Explained
A slab leak can start as a tiny pinhole leak in a water line and ultimately it could ruin the floors, walls, and even the foundations of the home. Let’s take a closer look at three potential problems in more detail, they are:
1. Unstable Foundations
Let’s begin with the most dangerous problem because a slab leak can eat away at the foundations of your home. This places the occupants at risk during a potential collapse and this is even a risk if a concrete or steel pad is in-place under the structure. In some cases, the water pressure of the released water is so severe that it causes a lateral shift in the entire structure. This can occur with little to no warning and the consequences can be devastating. When a slab leak is located under the basement, it can lead to mold growth that smells bad, but the long-term consequences are more dangerous. These early signs need to be recognized as part of a more serious problem. When the cracks that form in the slab are left untreated, they tend to spread and widen over time. Take early action and contact your local professional plumber if you’ve identified or suspect a slab leak.
2. Flooring and Wall Damage
The water from the slab leak will gradually seep up into the home to cause damage to the floors and walls. This will cause wood floors to warp, carpeting may become wet and as it spreads up the walls cracks may appear. Wall covering may peel away from the walls and they may feel damp to the touch. The damage may be repairable if the slab leak is detected and fixed earlier, but it will only get worse as time passes.
3. Health Problems
A slab leak creates ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth in your home. Some of this may be visible, but it could exist under the slab where it cannot be seen. Toxic mold produces spores that are released into the air and this reduces the indoor air quality (IAQ). The first people to notice the degradation of IAQ are those with pre-existing respiratory health issues and people with allergies. Exposure to mold spores can cause breathing issues, respiratory distress, a sore throat, and in extreme cases, it can be fatal.
As you can see, a slab leak is a serious problem and fast action is needed to identify and fix the problem. It may be possible to fix the slab, reroute the water lines and fix the leaks but the repair costs and damage will worsen as time passes. If you think you have a slab leak under your home, contact your local plumber today.