While you probably understand the basics when it comes to general plumbing issues like leaky pipes and clogged drains, slab leaks are likely an entirely different story. Many homes are erected on slab foundations that are built on clay-rich soil, which is highly expansive. If you experience a slab leak, this combination can be a recipe for extensive, expensive, and highly inconvenient damage to your home’s foundation. Understanding what a slab leak entails will enable you to recognize the signs and to get a professional plumbing company in to help before the damage becomes more pronounced.

Exactly What Is a Slab Leak?

Most of your home’s plumbing is hidden behind your walls and floors. If your home is built on a slab foundation, any plumbing that’s located beneath your floors is constructed underneath that foundation. If any of this underground plumbing begins to leak, it’s called a slab leak.

Associated Damages

The damages associated with slab leaks can be extreme. The fact that such leaks often go unnoticed until the problem becomes noticeable doesn’t help. With changes in moisture, soil (especially expansive clay soil) can experience significant changes in volume:

  • With increased moisture, the soil expands.
  • As the soil dries out, it decreases in volume.

If you have a slow slab leak, the soil beneath your slab foundation can gradually become saturated with moisture, which eventually causes the soil to bulge with expansion and stress and crack your foundation in the process. If you have a sudden, significant leak, on the other hand, the soil beneath your slab foundation can quickly become saturated and be washed away. This leaves the section of foundation that rests on this void in the ground unsupported and stressed, which can lead to cracks and drops.

Slab Leaks and Their Causes

Slab leaks can be caused by any number of plumbing issues:

  • A slow pipe-leak
  • Aging pipes
  • Worn or faulty joins and/or fittings
  • Inferior plumbing services

Not all slab leaks, however, are caused by plumbing issues. The soil beneath your slab foundation can shift due to extreme weather, such as a prolonged rainy season or drought. Tree roots that extend near or underneath your home can also extract moisture from the soil and cause it to contract. These changes in soil volume can lead to damage, distortions, and cracks in your foundation, which can lead to damaged plumbing and slab leaks. In other words, a plumbing problem may cause your slab leak or a foundational shift could precipitate your plumbing problem and subsequent slab leak.

Slab Leaks: The Signs

Once the water from a slab leak seeps through your home’s foundation, the water will likely begin to affect your home’s floors:

  • Water may show up in patches on your floor for no apparent reason (if it’s a hot water leak, your floor may even feel unusually warm or hot).
  • You may experience a floor that seems spongy
  • Your floor boards may become distorted or begin to buckle.
  • Your carpeting may be damp or wet.
  • A musty odor can also be indicative of a leak that leads to mold and mildew, which not only causes structural damage but can also lead to health issues.

Other signs that could spell trouble include the continual sound of running water, a water heater that is always running, and/or an inordinately high water bill. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to call in an experienced Coral Springs plumber – pronto. Ignoring the issue will likely lead to more extensive structural damage and a more complicated and expensive remedy in the long run.

Better Safe than Sorry: Schedule Regular Maintenance with an Experienced Coral Gables Plumber

When it comes to your home’s foundation, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. A skilled Coral Springs plumber knows exactly what to look for – and what corrections to make – when it comes to your slab foundation. With regular maintenance, you can keep your plumbing in good working order and are far less likely to experience a significant slab leak and attendant profound damage.

Concerned about a Slab Leak?

A slab leak under your foundation can lead to serious structural damage and expensive, inconvenient repairs. The dedicated professionals at Erica's Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Restoration in Coral Springs are here to help. Our highly-trained and experienced plumbers are committed to helping ensure that your home remains slab-leak-free and that any problems you experience are dealt with effectively and efficiently. If you have concerns about the plumbing in your home, please contact or call us at (561) 782-2779 today.

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