What is a Slab Leak?

BCPSI Slab Leak Detection

Whereas above ground pipe leaks are called pinhole leaks, slab leaks are pipe leaks in one of the water lines running underneath a building’s concrete foundation. Locating the source of a slab leak can be a challenging experience, however the experienced and licensed plumbers at Biard & Crockett can  properly detect your leak and repair your pipe. If you suspect your residence in Orange has a slab leak, it’s important to know that they  pose a complicated and expensive threat to your home and its water lines. Contacting a reputable plumber such as Biard & Crockett to repair the broken pipes under your slab is the right choice. If you suspect your property has a slab leak call Biard & Crockett to diagnose the situation and immediately, and check your water lines. We utilize the latest leak detection technology to accurately pinpoint these underground leaks and start repairs immediately.

Causes of Slab Leaks

Slab leaks are common in Orange County homes and commercial properties because most have concrete slab foundations. This is especially true for homes built during the late 50’s and 60’s. It was during this time that slabs as thin as two inches were poured on the soil without any steel reinforcements. The trouble is that the soil in Orange County is mostly composed of clay, and less advanced technology during those years resulted in mistakes when setting foundations. Consequently, these foundations eventually became unstable, resulting in damaged underground pipes causing the water lines to leak.

Although modern technology has allowed for stronger concrete foundations, many homes and businesses in Orange are still susceptible to slab leaks. Soil is one example of the cause of a slab leak; there are other factors that cause water lines to leak to watch out for. Some other causes of slab leaks are:

  • Water pipes scraping due to aggressive soil erosion and water conditions.
  • Corrosion of copper pipes caused by harsh chemicals.
  • Ground movement such as earthquakes or grated and filled lots.
  • Wear and tear of poorly-installed copper pipes that had been kinked or damaged during handling or installation.
  • Galvanic corrosion due to dissimilar metal in contact with copper pipe.
  • Normal wear on older copper pipe.
  • Roots that grow around the pipe and damage the metal.

Finding a Slab Leak

Finding slab leaks can be challenging, because most water pipes are interconnected throughout the home. Detecting a rupture in a water line the size of a pin-hole is difficult enough. Repairing the leak with the least possible damage to the structure is even more difficult.

Factors that can increase the difficulty of locating a slab leak include: water pooling under the slab (which can cause an echo effect), pipes touching each other, leaks too small to be detected, or leaks so large it appears to be leaking everywhere. This makes diagnosing unreliable, since the source of the leakage may not even be near the area where water is collecting or visible.

The sad fact is that these leaks have the potential to cause a tremendous amount of damage when left unrepaired. As water continually accumulates, the only temporary barriers that keep it in check are the concrete slabs themselves and sometimes a thin vapor barrier under the foundation. Over time, the water’s constant pressure will eventually penetrate the slabs and vapor barrier resulting in flooding and other serious damage to the home.

How can you tell if you have a slab leak? Look for the following signs:

  • High water bills
  • Sound of running water even when no water is being used
  • Mildew or excess moisture under the carpet
  • Small cracks or discolorations on the floors, ceilings, or walls of the home
  • Warped or damaged laminate floorings or hardwood
  • Hot, cold, or damp spots on some areas of the floor and walls

BCPSI Slab Leak SignsIt is very important to catch these symptoms early on to prevent serious water damage to your home in Orange. Look for one or two symptoms of a slab leak that keep recurring, such as cracks on the walls or wet spots on the floor, ceiling, or wall. However, there are some cases where symptoms of a leak may not be clearly visible, so check your water bill. The amount should reflect your water usage. If it does not, then suspect a slab leak is taking your water – and money – down the drain. What’s most important, however, is finding the exact place where the leaks are so they can be repaired immediately. It’s also important to use a licensed plumber that uses methods to detect and repair the leak that will be the least invasive – and damaging – to the home.

Slab Leak Repair Methods

Once the leak has been found, Biard & Crockett uses a team of top rated plumbers that use the most modern, state-of-the art leak detection technology to repair slab leaks. Slab leak repairs often fall under three categories:

  • Spot Repair

This type of leak repair is ideal for homes and commercial properties with newer construction. The plumber opens up a specific concrete slab at the location of the leak determined by the initial leak detection. The water line is then dug up and repaired. If the water pipes in the house or property  are old or have a history of slab leaks our experienced technician generally will not recommend this type of pipe repair.

  • Reroute Option

This water line repair option is generally recommended for older piping. The leaking water line is abandoned and a new pipe is run from point A to point B. The extent of the repiping needed to fix a slab leak is dependent on a couple of factors such as the size of the leaky pipe and the number of water fixtures it was supplying.

  • Epoxy Pipe Coating

We generally do not recommend this option for repairing a slab leak.

Repairing  slab leaks is more of a science than art. Even the most experienced plumber needs to diagnose the severity of the leak with the right detection tools, and come up with the proper solution to repair it. Choosing an experienced plumbing company such as Biard & Crockett, who has over 50 years of experience dealing with plumbing problems is especially helpful when dealing with slab leaks.

The Biard and Crockett Promise

Biard & Crockett has been fixing slab leaks for over 50 years.  When it comes to the city of Orange or Orange County, our licensed plumbers  definitely understand the local layout of the land, and are ready for any plumbing problem you need fixed.We guarantee to you that when our fully equipped and stocked trucks come to your property, that our highly trained technician will have all the necessary plumbing equipment and certifications to repair the problem while respecting you, your home or office and most importantly, your time.  Give us a call today at (714) 639-4400. Whatever your problem is, we will fix it.