Consequences of Slab Leaks

Leaks that are found in your home can cause serious problems if they aren’t dealt with quickly. Even the smallest leak can lead to substantial issues as the problem worsens over time. Leaks can lead to water damage to the structure of your home as well as to any of your home’s possessions. They can also lead to the growth of mold or mildew throughout your home, which can not only cause physical damage but be a health issue, as well. When it comes to leaks, one of the most difficult types to deal with is the slab leak.

A house slab being prepared.

A house slab being prepared.

What are slab leaks?

A slab leak results when the pipes or plumbing below the foundation of your home are leaking. This tends to be a real issue due to the fact that not only is such a leak difficult to identify, it’s quite difficult to reach. Repairing the leak itself isn’t that difficult a task, but reaching the damaged water or sewer line is. Once you are able to locate the area of the leak, you’ll have to break your way through the concrete slab in order to make the repairs.

What are the symptoms of slab leaks?

So how exactly will you know if you have slab leaks in your home? There are actually a number of ways that you can identify a slab leak:

  • High water bills – An easy way to tell whether you may have a potential slab leak is if your water bills have suddenly gone up drastically over a short period of time. If you can’t spot any leaks above ground, then there’s a chance that your water bills are being negatively affected by a slab leak.
  • Water spots – One of the easiest ways to identify a slab leak is by looking for any water spots or damp areas that are showing up on your floor. These are usually caused by leaking hot water lines. In addition to being able to visibly see these spots or feel them underneath when walking barefoot, you may be able to hear the sound of rushing water underneath.
  • Swelling – If your sewer lines are leaking, then you’ll have more difficult spotting the leak visibly. This is because sewer line leaks don’t usually cause visible signs of damage to the foundation. However, areas that have expansive soil can be affected by heaving, which would cause your slab to swell. Look for sections of the floor that are raised for potential slab leaks.
  • Sounds – If no water spots or swelling are visible in your foundation, then the only other way to identify a slab leak is by using a specialized listening device. This involves a process in which the plumber will turn off the water to your home and pump air into your lines in order to force out any water that remains. The plumber will then use a special device in order to listen for the sounds that are made when air escapes from a damaged pipe.
Slab leaks can have many different causes, including faulting building.

Slab leaks can cause a ruined yard or foundation.

What type of damage can slab leaks cause?

If you aren’t able to detect a slab leak in time, or you don’t have the problem repaired as soon as you discover it, a slab leak can cause some serious and costly damage to your home. The following are just a few of the issues that can result due to slab leaks:

  • Ruined flooring – The longer water is allowed to seep in through your home’s slab, the more of a risk there is to some of your flooring being ruined. A slab leak can cause waterlogged carpeting, cracked tiles and saturated floors.
  • Damaged foundation – Because a slab leak can cause swelling, it could result in parts of your foundation to either move or even crack.
  • Damaged yard – A slab leak can end up rising up through your yard as well. This can result in your yard flooding, which would ruin your grass or landscaping. It can also lead to serious damage to any outdoor pools as well.
  • Odors – A slab leak that is left unrepaired will eventually lead to moldy or musty odors spreading throughout your home. Any leaks that originate from your property’s sewer lines will lead to the house smelling like sewage.
  • Mold – Slab leaks can spread from under your home’s floors into your drywall. Because drywall tends to soak up water, mold will begin growing rather quickly. Mold is not only unsightly, it can cause health issues to your family, especially for individuals that suffer from respiratory problems.

If you notice any signs of potential slab leaks in your home, then you need to call a professional immediately in order to avoid any further or potential damage to your house.

Image Credits: Building Slab by Flickr User karenandbrademerson, Uneven Slab by Flickr User Peg Syverson