Monthly Archives: April 2021

What is a Slab Leak?

slab leaks with water coming through

What does slab leak mean?

A slab leak is a homeowner’s worse nightmare, or one of them anyway. This mean there is plumbing or sewage problem. That means a lot of money and a tore up yard, maybe the flooring too. Is slab leak an emergency?  Well, yes and no, it depends. 

A slab leak is an alarming problem, but not when it first happens. Why? Because a homeowner usually doesn’t realize they have a slab leak until it has causes more serious problems. A slab leak isn’t something you can see needs repairing, so it is a surprise. An expensive surprise. 

Most homes are built on a concrete slab, or it may be called a concrete foundation. The water lines and sewer lines are usually installed before the concrete is poured for the foundation. 

 A slab leaks occurs when a pipe breaks, deteriorates and springs a leak under a home’s concrete foundation or slab. That water begins running under the concrete foundation, spreading through the concrete, softening the ground below the slab and the foundation begins to shift, sink, even crack. 

How serious is a slab leak?

Slab leaks can weaken the structural integrity of the concrete and steel supports that comprise your foundation. Eventually, water pressure and leakage can cause you foundation to shift and move, and even crack or collapse. Damage to your yard.

Can a slab leak cause foundation problems?

A water or sewer leak anywhere is not good, but when it happens under the foundation of your home, aka, slab leak, it can get seriously bad and fast. Chances are you’ve had that slab leak for awhile now and may not have realized it. Your electric and water bills have snuck up little by little, and now the foundation of your home is having issues. 

There are a range of issues and problems that a slab leak can cause. Some are annoying more than they are dangerous. Overtime though, those annoyances can become big expensive problems, among them: 

  • Ruined, waterlogged carpets and flooring: The slab leak has allowed water to seep into your home’s structure from underneath. Now you have wet carpets, warped wood flooring, and cracked tiles. 
  • Unpleasant smells: A slab leak will create a mildewed, musty-like odor, or even if it is the sewer line, your home will smell like raw sewage.
  • Mildew and Mold: Now that water has seeped into your home from the foundation, it will begin seeping up the wall, getting the drywall wet which leads to mildew and mold growth inside the walls. This creates a potential health hazard for everyone in your home. 

What damage can a slab leak cause?

In addition to the stuff we just listed, there is damage on the exterior of  your home to be prepared to take care of too: 

  • Damage to the foundation: A slab leak will weaken the integrity of your home’s structure, including any concrete and steel support that is part of the foundation. The water leak and pressure will eventually cause the foundation to crack, move, shift, and could possibly collapse. 
  • Damage to the yard:  A foundation leak can sometimes come from sewer or water pipes buried under the yard. When those bust, your yard will flood, ruining the grass and landscaping. Any brick or concrete pathways, walkways or any landscape elements and fixtures can be damaged. 

How do plumbers detect slab leaks?

The first thing a professional plumber will do when you‘ve called about a slab walk us determine the pipe layout. They will then inspect the usual areas and clues they know to be related to a slab leak. An experienced plumber can usually narrow down the location simply by experience and skills. 

They will then use any of the leak detection pieces of equipment they have available today: 

  • Acoustic disc and ground microphone: This equipment allows the plumber to hear the sound of running water even through layers of concrete.
  • Pressure sensor: These types of detectors scan for temperature changes in the foundation which helps the plumber locate the spot where slab leak is coming from. 
  • Video pipe camera:  This is a plumber’s most powerful piece of equipment today. It allows them to see inside the water or sewer pipes and access the damage by using a camera mounted to a long fiber optic cable that is connected to a small monitor.

How long does it take to repair a slab leak?

Locating the slab leak is the longest part of a slab leak repair usually. Once the plumber has pinpointed where the leak is and the amount of damage has been done, they can often complete the repair in one to two days.  In some cases getting to the slab leak may take longer and the job could take up to 5 days. 

Will insurance cover a slab leak?

If the slab leak was caused by a covered peril listed in your homeowner’s insurance policy, it will probably cover tear out and repair of the damaged slab, but not the plumbing. Homeowner’s insurance will also usually pay for any water damage repairs. The actual plumbing is typically not covered by homeowner’s insurance. 

cracked slab from leak

Does home warranty cover slab leaks?

Home warranty plans can cover the repair or replacement costs of many things in your home. From appliances, home systems, and in some cases, the plumbing. Each company offers flexible plans and some cover more than others. You need to refer to your home warranty plan to know what is covered or not covered. 

In general, a home warranty will cover plumbing issues that are the result of normal wear and tear. Does that mean it will cover slab leak repairs and replacement? Maybe, maybe not. Need help with a slab leak in San Pedro, CA? Call (310) 901-2120 today.