We sometimes get a call from a customer that goes something like this: “I have water puddles around my house, but I can’t figure out what’s leaking.” They might also notice water pooling on concrete in the garage or basement and not understand how it got there. We hate to say it, but there are leaks and then there’s a slab leak, a serious problem that occurs below a home’s concrete foundation.
What Is a Slab Leak?
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that one in four homes in the U.S. experience slab leak damage, yet most people aren’t familiar with the term or the risks a slab leak poses. Since a vast majority of the homes in Arizona are built on slabs, it’s important to understand what a slab leak is, how to recognize one, and why it’s so dangerous.
A “slab leak” is a plumbing term that describes leaks occurring in the water lines that run through your home, specifically the ones that run below the concrete foundation, or slab. There are two types of slab leaks:
- Pressure side leaks, which are much easier to detect and don’t usually cause a lot of damage.
- Drainage side leaks, which, unfortunately, can go on for a long time before they’re detected, making them incredibly destructive.
There are several causes of slab leaks. The number one reason is what’s known as expansive soil shift. As a slow leak below the foundation continues to add water into the ground beneath your home, the soil expands and eventually, the buildup of hydraulic pressure is released, typically through a crack or other weakness in the slab. In extreme cases, you might end up with a geyser-like eruption that floods your home. Other causes are pipes that were damaged before they were installed or pipes affected by corrosion or abrasion from the slab.
To protect your home and family, it’s crucial to call in a professional plumber as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of a slab leak.
What Do Slab Leaks Do to a Home?
Because so few people are aware of what a slab leak is, they often attribute these signs to another plumbing problem. If you notice one or more of these symptoms at your home, it’s worth talking to a pro about whether it could be a slab leak.
- Higher water bills.
- The sound of water running through pipes even when nothing is turned on.
The water meter dial turns even when the water isn’t running.
Other signs include damp floors, low water pressure, and mold growth under carpeting.
Left untreated, a slab leak can cause a multitude of issues in your home, including everything from ruined flooring and floor coverings to severe structural damage.
Are Slab Leaks Dangerous?
What’s the worst that can happen if you have a slab leak? In cases where the leak has been ongoing and undetected, a home’s concrete foundation can collapse. Even smaller leaks, though, can cause serious issues, including health problems. That’s because when water stands for a long period, it harbors dangerous bacteria and mold that can infect your West Valley area home.
When detecting and repairing a slab leak, it’s best to talk to a skilled, trustworthy plumber who has experience in safe and efficient repair techniques. Bumble Bee Plumbing is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing contractor who provides expert slab leak services to homeowners in Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, and Peoria, AZ. To learn more about slab leaks and all our other residential plumbing services, contact us online today or call us at (623) 294-2888.