A leak situated within your home’s slab foundation could lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of structural repairs if left undetected. Early detection is vital to protect your home against the threat of water damage.
But how can you tell if you’ve got a slab leak? We’ve put together seven foolproof methods you can use to deduce whether or not you are suffering from a slab leak.
Method #1: Sudden Increase in Water Bills
Any leak, regardless of location, will lead to a rise in the price you are paying for your water bills. Principally, this is because you are paying for water running 24 hours a day, rather than it being limited to when you are using it.
So if your next bill comes in considerably higher than previous statements with no reasonable explanation (such as the increased use of your sprinkler systems in summer), it may be the case that you have a slab leak.
Method #2: Unusual Water Pooling Locations
If you’re unfortunate enough to have a slab leak, water will accumulate underneath your home’s foundations until it finds an escape route. Keep an eye out for water pouring out from the slab out to the exterior of your property. Once again, if there are no other reasonable explanations for water pooling in that area, a slab leak is the likely cause.
Inside your home, look for water pooling in either the kitchen or bathroom. Water accumulating on the floor surface in these rooms could be a sign of water pushing its way up from a slab leak.
Method #3: Decreased Water Pressure
Your water supply is pressurized to make sure that it’s powerful enough for home use. However, when a leak is sprung, part of that pressure escapes through holes or joints in the pipework.
If you notice that the water emanating from your shower, bathroom faucets, or kitchen faucets is being pumped much less powerfully than usual (and no other appliances are in use), it could be a sign that you have a slab leak. A leak within your slab pipe network could be causing you to not only lose water but pressure too.
Method #4: Damp Carpets or Warped Flooring
In many instances of slab leaks, the only way the water can escape is upwards. Once this water begins to accumulate, it may suddenly appear as a damp patch in your carpet, causing visible damage.
If you have wooden or similar flooring materials, this event will present as warping, whereby the individual flooring component will change in shape and size, often ballooning and distorting. Warped flooring is usually a tell-tale sign of a slab leak, and you should call a leak detection specialist at your earliest convenience to find the source.
Method #5: Appearance of Mold or Mildew
If water from your slab does indeed make it into your flooring material, then that will be followed pretty swiftly by mold and mildew growth, particularly underneath carpets. In some instances, the damp conditions spread to interior walls, fueling further mold growth.
This type of mold isn’t always visible, but you will undoubtedly notice the smell. If your home suddenly becomes inundated with a musty, mildew-type smell, make sure to have your slab foundation checked for leaks.
Method #6: Warm or Hot Areas of Flooring
If a leak originating from underneath your slab foundation is from your hot water feed, that heat will rise through the concrete; eventually seeping up to just below floor level. If this process is left undetected, you will start to notice warm, or even hot, patches of flooring.
This is particularly the case for flooring options such as tile, hardwood, or vinyl since the heat from the leaking water will permeate these surfaces much more quickly than carpet. If you have carpeted floors, look for indicators of warmth you may otherwise miss, such as a pet choosing to lay in a new spot in the living room on cold days.
Method #7: Hot Water Heater Runs Continuously
Continuing with the hot water theme, if you have a hot water leak underneath the slab foundation of your home, it’s the equivalent of running a hot water faucet 24/7. Given that this is the case, a quick way to check a suspected hot water slab leak is to monitor your water heater usage.
If you notice that your water heater never turns off, then it’s highly likely that you have developed a leak somewhere in your hot water feed underneath the slab foundation.
How to Confirm a Water Leak?
If you’ve used one of the above methods to deduce that you’ve got a leak, it’s easy to confirm your initial analysis. Start by turning off the water supply to your home and turn off water-using appliances.
Once you’ve completed that task, head outside to locate your water meter (contact your local utility supplier if you don’t know where it is), remove the cover and take a look at the leak indicator (usually a triangle) to see if it’s moving. If it is, then you’ve got a leak.
Another way to check is to take a meter reading, before returning a few hours later (without using any water) to see if the numbers have changed. Again, if the meter reading has changed, then that’s a sign that you’ve got a leak.
What Should You Do if You Have a Slab Leak?
Leaks underneath the slab foundation are perhaps the most dangerous leaks because they often go undetected until they cause severe structural damage, compromising the integrity of your home. You also have to account for the fact that slab leaks are challenging to locate since they take place underneath a thick concrete layer.
This is why you need to call in professional leak detectors once you’ve realized you’ve got a slab leak. With their expertise and specialized equipment, they’ll find and diagnose your leak with a noninvasive methodology. If you call a plumber, they may well drill into your slab to find the cause of your problems, costing you much more in the long run.
Here at The Waterboy, we’re dedicated to providing you with a hassle-free, stress-free leak detector experience. We work tirelessly to resolve your leak while minimizing the damage to your home, with your satisfaction and peace of mind our top priority.
If you think you have a leak, don’t take the chance of delaying, call our emergency response team for a quick solution to your problem.