Under Slab leak problems – worried your home might be at risk?
Expansive clay soils in regions like Texas and Oklahoma are notorious for causing foundation damage nightmares for homeowners. As the climate changes, soils expand and contract which can result in leaks that form deep underneath the home’s foundation. Plumbing leaks like these are known as under slab leaks.
In addition to foundation movement, other causes of under slab plumbing leaks include :
- Cast iron pipes that have corroded over time
- Tree roots that penetrate or disrupt pipes
- Improper foundation adjustment or repair
Signs You Need Under Slab Leak Repair
The tricky part about an under slab leak is that there’s usually no easy way for a homeowner to know if he or she has a problem. Unlike a typical plumbing leak where homeowners can detect red flags, leaks under the concrete aren’t easily monitored and occur several feet underneath the surface.
Unfortunately for homeowners, this means that the first visible sign of a slab leak is usually structural damage like uneven floors, cracks in walls, and/or doors that drag against the floor. If you’re lucky, you may be tipped off by the sound of running water when no fixtures are being used or discover mildew underneath floor coverings – surefire signs you need to check for an under slab plumbing leak.
The good news is that there are slab leak detection tests available to identify problems. If you live in an area that is prone to foundation movement, the need to test for an under slab leak should not be ignored. In fact, 1 in 4 homes we test in areas like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Longview, Waco, Nashville, Oklahoma City and Tulsa have concrete slab leaks.
Worried about a wet slab? Here are some good times to perform slab leak detection:
- Before undergoing foundation repair
- After foundation work
- At the sign of foundation problems
- If you discover excessively moist areas underneath floor coverings
- If you hear running water when water should not be in use (usually emanating from the bathroom)
- Unusually high water bills
- Before purchasing a new home
- At least once annually (in climates prone to foundation cracks)
How does under slab leak detection work?
In order to indentify a potential slab plumbing leak, Olshan uses a process known as Hydrostatic testing. This process uses an inflatable test ball that is inserted into the main sewer line under the perimeter beam. The ball is then inflated to block off the system. Then, the entire system is filled with water. At this point water levels are monitored for loss for up to 20 minutes. If the sewer lines are unable to be filled or lose water – we know an under slab leak exists.
In the case that a leak is found, a leak isolation test should be performed to determine its location. A leak isolation test uses a special camera to locate the leak. During this test the sewer system is divided into sections and inspected using the camera. This process is repeated until all systems, branches and fixtures have been tested. From here the extent of the damage can be assessed and a cost-effective solution can be determined.
What is a sewer clean out?
A sewer clean out is a plumbing pipe, typically sticking out of the ground that has a removable plug and is found in the main sewer line. This pipe allows plumbers to clear out a blockage which may accumulate in the system and can also be used as an entry point during the slab leak detection phase.
So what happens if you have leak? Here’s what you can expect if you require under slab leak repair.
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