Slab leaks have the potential to cause severe damage to your home. Because they are difficult to observe, leaks can go on for months at a time without being noticed. The time it takes to detect a leak also means that it affects the structural integrity of your home and forces you to make expensive repairs.
This article looks at slab leaks, common signs of slab leaks in Boca Raton, and what to do when you discover a leak. Also, we examine your repair options for a slab leak. Continue reading to learn more.
What is a Slab Leak?
A slab is a concrete foundation beneath homes and commercial structures. It is designed to prevent water from collecting under your home. With sand between the slabs and the actual ground, water drains better around the building. You may also find structures constructed on crawl spaces or wooden foundations.
Essentially, slab leaks are a product of the construction style used in creating your home's foundation. During the building phase, engineers lay the pipes into the concrete where you cannot see them or detect them early when there is a fault. If the leak continues for long, the water causes the soil under your building to become unstable, cracking the slab and damaging walls in your building.
Common Signs of Slab Leaks in Boca Raton
The following are common signs of slab leaks in your Boca Raton home:
Sounds of Rushing Water
One way to discover if you have a slab leak is when you can hear rushing water in your home. This is especially when you have turned off your faucets, washing machine, and other water sources. When you realize this, promptly engage a plumbing service to investigate.
Collection of Water in and around Your Home
If water is pooling around your home, even on dry days, your building might have a slab leak. Pools of this nature often emerge without a detectable source, except the foundation itself.
If the water also collects in areas inside your house, particularly when you confirm it is not from an appliance, you may have a slab leak.
Another common sign of a slab leak is a drop in water pressure. Ordinarily, when there is a leak in your pipes, less water runs to the designated point. This is because a leak is occurring at a different spot along the pipe. With slab leaks, you may notice reduced water pressure even when you're operating a single appliance.
Hot Areas on Your Floor
80-90% of the time, slab leaks occur in the hot water line of your plumbing. With more leaks, the concrete above begins to heat, creating hot spots around your floor. You can easily identify these spots if you use linoleum, tile, or hardwood. With carpeting, however, it can be a lot harder.
Hot spots on your floor are a likely indication of a slab leak.
Musty Smells within Your Home
As the leak continues to permeate your flooring, mold, and mildew begin to grow around the house as well. This is due to the moisture the water produces. The moisture can also progress into walls causing mold growth in that area. The problem here is that you may not detect the mold visually but the moment you start discovering odd smells around your house, invite a plumber to check for a slab leak.
An Increase in Your Water Bill
When leaks occur, water exhausts consistently, causing your bill to rise. If you're receiving an increased water bill without an identifiable cause, such as extra consumption, your house might have a slab leak.
Because water will often rise upwards during a slab leak, you may begin to notice signs of damage on your floor. This damage will depend on the flooring you use. For carpeting, dark and damp spots appear while hardwood develops warped floorboards. An effect of damage is repair or replacement, which can be quite expensive.
To find out if you have a leak, turn off all your plumbing appliances. Observe your water meter to see if it continues running. If it does, there might be a leak within your home.
Active Meter Dial
Your water meter can help you determine if the leak is a hot or cold water one. You will find it on the ground, close to the curb, in a box. After opening the box, check if the dial is constantly spinning. If it is, it might indicate a slab leak.
Causes of Slab Leaks in Boca Raton
While knowing the common signs of slab leaks in Boca Raton to look out for will help you to seek help quickly, understanding the causes will not only make you informed but also guide your response. Keep reading to learn the causes of slab leaks.
Acidity of Water
The acidity of hard water will generally depend on the city or area you live. However, the average level of acidity should range between 1 pH to 4 pH. Where the water is overly acidic, it can affect your pipes and cause them to decline in quality over the years. A way to repel this is by applying water softeners to remove elements such as calcium and magnesium.
For soft water, the pH level should range between 9 pH to 14 pH. More alkaline than necessary will cause your pipes to progressively crack and leak. To find out if you have acidic water, look for stains in green or blue color in your kitchen sink, toilet, or bathroom.
Your pipes can scrape against the concrete as they carry water to various parts of your home. They may also brush against gravel, dirt, even each other. Contact with these elements causes the pipes to degrade and thin over time. Eventually, the pipes break and begin to leak water.
High Water Pressure
High water pressure can cause your pipes to crack. Indicators of high pressure include dripping faucets and rattles when you turn the water on. You can also confirm pressure by using a water pressure gauge. The gauge assesses the pressure per square inch (PSI) in your house's lines.
Normally, the rating for water pressure is between 40 to 80 pounds PSI, depending on the place you live. If the rating is too high or too low, it can damage your underground pipes. To avoid this, invest in a water pressure-reducing valve.
If you live in an older house, there are high chances that you use copper pipes. These are more prone to slab leaks. Copper pipes corrode due to excessive salts in the water, excess liquefied oxygen, acidic waters with under 7.0 pH level, alkaline water with a pH level of more than 8.5, and so on. When holes or cracks emerge in your copper pipes, you consequently have a slab leak.
Declining Orangeburg Pipes
Like copper pipes, you will find Orangeburg sewer pipes in older homes. Indicators of a slab leak here are cracks in your ceilings or walls. An Orangeburg pipe faces deterioration when exposed to certain chemicals such as household cleaning agents, polymers, oils, and drain cleaners.
Orangeburg pipes are susceptible to these chemicals due to the fact that they were made with bitumen cement. The chemicals weaken the interior of the pipes, thereby resulting in a leak. You can confirm if you use Orangeburg pipes by inviting an expert plumber for an inspection.
Vibrations from an earthquake can negatively affect your underground pipes. As the earth moves, pipe joints might loosen and split. Quakes can also create cracks in the pipes.
You have a slab leak when you hear water running beneath your house or mold begins to grow in your walls and floorboards.
Slab Leak Repair Options in Boca Raton
Repairing a slab leak is a major financial decision that can run into thousands of dollars. You primarily have to consider the structural interference that occurs during repairs and the potential for damage to the property. Additionally, a major part of this decision is the company you choose to do the job. The repair options available to you depend on the condition of your home's plumbing system.
Before settling on a company, request diverse opinions and estimates from different ones. Also, examine their references and how they propose to do the job. You can also ask them to demonstrate how they located the leak such that excessive digging will be unnecessary once the job starts. Finally, request that they show you their work licenses.
Below are the available repair options for a slab leak.
This entails a redirection of the piping above ground. Where the problem is a relatively small section of the pipe, you can avoid a work-intensive solution by installing new lines.
Repiping can also be used where the underground pipes cannot be reached without breaking the slab. Water can be circulated around the slab rather than under it. To do this, a plumber may install new pipes in the attic, within walls, and even in woodworking to hide the pipes and protect them.
An advantage of this method is that water keeps running through the underground pipes while the new ones are fitted. This way, you can remain in your home during the repairs. Old supply lines are shut off once the job is completed.
Breaking through the Slab
Plumbers use this option mostly as a last resort. It is the most expensive and interfering of all. Cutting through the slab may also be undesirable due to the fact that slabs can be specifically designed for a particular location, making a universal approach impossible.
Slab breaking generates a lot of noise and dust. It also forces the homeowner to relocate pending the completion of the project. In addition to these, replacing the floors in affected areas can be difficult as the materials may not fully match.
Pipe Lining and Bursting
Pipe lining requires minimal digging to access the problem. The method involves lining the interior of a broken pipe with epoxy to form a new pipe. The option works for corroded, cracked, and broken pipes. However, problems arise when the epoxy does not integrate properly with the pipe wall.
In this case, the pipe might simply deteriorate again after a short while. On the other hand, Bursting is used to replace lines that have taken serious damage. It entails a destruction of the affected pipe as the new fixture is inserted.
This article has examined the common signs of slab leaks in Boca Raton. It has also explained the causes of these leaks and repair options available to homeowners. Due to the intense nature of the project, it is advisable to seek the services of a certified and experienced service company in Boca Raton, Florida.
Contact Erica's Plumbing and Restoration now for a professional service and satisfactory repair of slab leaks.