Is Your Slab Leaking?
Many homes throughout the country are built on a concrete slab foundation. While this is great for ensuring the long structural integrity of your home, it means that some of your plumbing will run underneath the concrete slab. When you develop a leak in this underground piping, you’ll notice one or more of the signs that we’re going to go over below.
Excessive Water Bill
One indicator that can raise your awareness of a plumbing issue is your water bill increasing significantly. While your water bill may go up in the summer when you’re using more outdoor water, it shouldn’t spike. Any noticeable spike without a feasible reason for the uptick in your household’s water usage is a sign that you likely have a problem somewhere in the plumbing of your home. The water line below your slab will continually use water, which translates to a higher water bill for you.
Built-up Moisture Outside Your Home
If you believe that your home has a slab leak, it’s a good idea to walk around its perimeter on a sunny, dry day. You’ll want to look for key indicators of built-up moisture. These include moss, mud, or even standing water. If you notice these spots next to your home’s foundation and there is no other explanation for the moisture build-up, then it’s a likely indication that you have a leak somewhere underneath your slab. The larger the pool of water, the more significant your slab leak is likely to be.
Reduced Water Pressure
If a leak develops in your plumbing underneath your slab, it will cause some of the water to divert out into the ground. When you turn on your faucet or shower, you’ll notice a significant decrease in your water pressure. Be sure to check multiple faucets, each on their own, to ensure that they’re all showing signs of reduced water pressure.
Floor Hot Spots
Most slab leaks happen to the hot water line. As the hot water leaks out into the ground under your home, it will naturally start to heat up the concrete. As you walk across the floor, you’ll be able to notice a drastic change in temperature from hot spots back to concrete areas that haven’t been affected by the water leak. When you notice these hot spots, it becomes clear that you have a slab hot water leak underneath where the hotness is coming from on your floor.
Leaking water can cause significant damage to a home because it can create a series of issues. One of these is dangerous mold and mildew. If you notice that your basement is smelling musty, then there is likely excess water under your slab. This water, over time, will start to be sucked into your concrete walls. The dampness of your basement creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. It’s crucial to note that mold and mildew aren’t always visible as they can develop underneath the surface of your concrete slab.
You Hear Running Water
When you’re down in your basement, you’re likely to hear the movement of water throughout your pipes. If someone turns on the faucet or flushes the toilet, you’ll hear it better than if you’re upstairs. However, if you’ve noticed that there is a running water noise and no one has turned on a water fixture in your home, it’s a key indication that you have a slab leak. That running water that you’re hearing is coming up from underneath the slab where your water line is leaking water into the ground below.
Probably the most obvious sign that you have a slab leak is that there is pooling water in your basement. Over time, the concrete floor can develop hairline fractures. This small space is all that water needs to penetrate up through your concrete floor. You’ll notice that the water seems to be pooling in a specific location, which is most likely where the leak is present underneath your concrete slab.
If you have flooring installed in your basement, then a slab leak will allow water to penetrate it. You’ll start to notice that your carpeting looks damp or darkened in some areas. Carpeting is the easiest material for water to penetrate, so you’ll be able to pick up on the slab leak very quickly. On the other hand, hardwood, vinyl, linoleum, and laminate may take a while to show symptoms of water damage. The most obvious sign of a slab leak is that this type of solid flooring will appear to be warped.
A slab leak that has been going on for a while can significantly alter the soil beneath your home. This can easily result in parts of your foundation shifting or moving upward. You may notice that entire floor sections or the walls of your foundation are starting to develop unwanted cracks. The cracks are most likely going to show up in the area surrounding where the slab leak is located.
Continuously Running Water Meter
A great way to verify that you have a slab leak in your home is to check your water meter. You’ll want to turn off all the appliances in your home that utilize water first. This includes your ice maker, humidifier, and so forth. Head out to your water meter and see if it’s running. If your water meter is still running, then you have a water leak somewhere in your home, which is most likely under your slab.
Baseboard or Wall Cracks
A slab leak that has continued to go undetected for a while can end up creating cracks in your wall or baseboards. You’ll notice these cracks first in your basement and the rooms that are closest to it. The water from the slab leak can be absorbed into your walls and the wood of your baseboard. Over time, these features will crack due to water damage.
Decrease in Hot Water Supply
When you turn on your hot water, the last thing that you want to experience is a decrease in its temperature. If you’re noticing that your faucet or shower is having trouble producing the usual amount of hot water, then it could be a sign that you have a slab leak. A simple leak in your hot water line will cause your hot water tank to continuously run to try and keep up with the hot water demand of the leaking pipe. By the time that you try to draw on that hot water at your faucet or shower, most of the hot water may have seeped out into the ground below your foundation.
Reliable HVAC and Plumbing Expert
Blue Bear Plumbing, Heating & Air is your reliable HVAC and plumbing expert serving the Boston, MA region. We can help with all of your water heater, drain, leak detection, pipe repair, camera inspection, gas fitting, boiler, and heat pump needs. Call us today to get the professional help that you need!
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