A slab leak is one of the biggest headaches any homeowner can experience. Not only are they costly and inconvenient to repair, they can be dangerous if left unresolved. By keeping your eye out for these 10 signs of a slab leak, you can catch this issue before it escalates into a major problem.
What is a Slab Leak?
Every house is built on top of a foundation, which is usually made of concrete and steel. This foundation, also called a ‘slab’, bears the weight of the house and provides the entire structure stability. Water pipes which provide water to the home are usually located below the slab.
A slab leak occurs when one or more of the pipes below the foundation leak. This is a serious plumbing emergency that leads to short and long-term problems.
Common causes of slab leaks include:
- Shifting ground: Houses naturally settle over time. In some case, the weight of the house can lead to changes in how the ground is situated, leading to pipe leaks. While uncommon in Atlanta, earthquakes can also shift the ground beneath houses and lead to leaks.
- Improperly wrapped pipes: Pipes beneath the foundation are wrapped in order to prevent friction between the metal of the pipes and the concrete slab. Sometimes, pipes are not wrapped well, slowly leading to worn spots and leaks.
- Electrolysis: Water pipes that are made of copper can be vulnerable to electrolysis, a natural chemical reaction that occurs when copper reacts with minerals in certain types of soil.
10 Signs of a Slab Leak
Now that you know why slab leaks are significant and how they’re caused, let’s look at the top 10 signs of a slab leak.
- Cracks in the walls have formed.
- Cracks in the floors have formed.
- You have noticed a significant increase to the water bill even though you haven’t changed your habits
- The carpet on the bottommost floor is wet to the touch. In basements, you may notice a wet spot on concrete or warped flooring.
- Tubs, toilets, showers, or sinks have experienced a stoppage or blockage.
- You notice hot spots on the floor or in the yard. These are, as the name suggests, areas on the ground which are warm to the touch and indicate a leaking hot water pipe.
- Mold and mildew forms on the walls without an apparent cause.
- A strange odor that cannot be traced is present.
- You’ve noticed a significant decrease in normal water pressure.
- Your water meter dial is moving even after you have made sure that no sources of water, such as sinks, washing machines, toilets, or showers, are running.
Why are Slab Leaks Dangerous?
Slab leaks are dangerous for several reasons. Getting the leak repaired as soon as possible can help avoid long-term issues.
- Water leaks lead to mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew doesn’t usually stay relegated to one area; spores spread and take hold in other parts of the house. Extensive mold and mildew growth can lead to health problems such as respiratory issues and illness.
- Water erosion can lead to a weakened foundation, which in turn can cause structural problems in the home.
- Water erosion can also lead to the foundation itself shifting. This is a very serious problem that can lead to collapse.
Slab leaks can cause damage to a home significant enough to make a home unsafe and unlivable until the issues have been repaired.
What to Do if You Have a Slab Leak
A slab leak is a plumbing emergency, so it’s important to act quickly if you notice any of the 10 signs of a slab leak as listed above.
First, shut off the water to your home. This will help prevent further damage to the home’s foundation. Then, call Tidal Wave Response. We are water damage restoration specialists servicing the metro Atlanta area.
Water causes damage within minutes of exposure. That’s why our emergency hotline is open 24/7 so we can answer your call for those unexpected late-night leaks. Don’t let a slab leak ruin your home. Call us!