Slab leaks are a serious problem, since water leaking under your slab can cause your foundation and slab to sink or create sink holes under your house. It can cause your foundation to crack, or heave up. Any type of foundation damage can compromises the structural integrity of your home.
Leaks underneath the slab generally are either sewer leaks or leaks in the water lines. If your water lines are leaking, you will receive an extremely high water bill. Even a pin hole size leak in a water line can waste 10,000 gallons of water in one month.
Did you know after World War II and continuing well into the 1970’s many homes were built on concrete slabs? Well, it did help to make housing more affordable. Slab homes feature a layer of concrete several inches thick instead of the more common basement or crawl space foundation. Frequently, plumbing was laid under the concrete slab. This placement causes difficulties when leaks occur, since the slab must be opened up to repair the problem.
When water is leaking underneath your slab, eventually it will make its way up through the floor. As water makes its way into your home it will begin to either smell like mildew or sewage, depending on what kind of pipe is leaking. Once moisture gets into the drywall and insulation your walls become a great place for mold to grow and thrive. In just a few days mold can become a threat to your family. Inhalation of mold spores can cause serious health problems, and dangerous mold must be professionally removed.
A qualified plumber will locate the leak, and let you know based on factors if your pipes need rerouted, or if an area in the slab needs opened just above the leaking pipe to enable repairs. He will keep the hole as small as possible in order to limit the repairs to your home after the leak has been fixed. An experienced plumber will not patch the pipe; he will remove the bad section and replace it. He can also advise you if your pipes are in bad enough shape to warrant repiping your home.