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What to Know about Slab Leaks

cracked-foundationPlumbing can seem a little bit like magic: it’s largely invisible (behind walls or beneath your foundation), and if you’re not an extremely skilled practitioner, meddling with it can cause big problems! We’re going to make it a little less mysterious for you while we discuss slab leaks. You won’t become a qualified magician (or plumber) by reading this, but you’ll come to understand the special skills and tools that help the plumber do their job, and you’ll have a better idea of when to call a plumber. 

Slab leaks are an especially mysterious aspect of plumbing because they don’t even occur inside your house. A slab leak is caused by damage or degradation to the pipes that run beneath your foundation. Most of the time that slab leaks occur, it’s from the pipes that carry hot water, but leaks in cold water pipes are also possible. There are a few clues that can help you to discover such a leak and some specialized approaches that allow a plumber to fix it.

Signs of a Possible Slab Leak

Be on the lookout for any of these warning signs of a slab leak.

  • Utility Bill Increases: When water is running out of the pipes into the ground, it is increasing your water bill. A hot water leak also increases the bill for whichever energy source powers your water heater.
  • Water Heater Problems: If something unexpected is happening with your water heater, a slab leak could be the source. Dramatically increased hot water usage can cause a lot of wear and tear.
  • The Sound of Water: If you hear running water when you know none of your faucets or appliances are currently running, it could be because of a slab leak.
  • Cracked Cement: This might be the most worrying thing to discover. Water leaking out under your basement floor can cause pressure that can even be enough to cause significant cracking. 

If you have reason to be concerned, it’s time to make an appointment with a knowledgeable, experienced plumber in Boerne, TX. But how will they know where the leak is coming from if it’s buried under concrete? 

A Plumber’s Approach to Slab Leaks

First, the plumber will look at the things you’ve already been looking at: your water heater or foundation cracks. They will look at the layout of your home and any visible plumbing. Then, to perform the actual magic of seeing through the slab to the leak below, they will use some very unique and exciting magical artifacts—ahem, plumbing tools.

  • Microphones: Your plumber can pick up the acoustics of leaking water using specialized microphones. Listening through the concrete will help determine where the water is escaping.
  • Sensors: The presence of water changes the temperature and pressure of concrete. Measuring them with sensors can pinpoint the problem area.
  • Cameras: This is the most magical tool of all. Just like in a spy movie, tiny cameras on fiber optic cables are slipped into the pipes where a leak is suspected. The plumber can see the insides of the pipes and inspect them thoroughly for cracks.

With the problem in sight, a solution can be devised. Often, plumbers can approach from the side, in the ground outside your home, so the basement floor can remain undisturbed.

If you suspect a slab leak, Contact D’Spain Sales & Service for a plumbing experience you can trust.

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