Slab Leak

Do you have a slab leak?

Was your home built on a concrete slab foundation? If so, that means that your water and sewer lines might have been installed under several inches of concrete. Water and sewer lines under concrete are just like a lot of other things, with time they start to deteriorate and began to leak. This is known as a slab leak.

slab leak Slab Leak

Typical Slab Leak

The good news is that repairing those lines is not that hard. The bad news is that locating and gaining access to those lines can be a different matter all together.  Unfortunately,  you cannot ignore a slab leak just because it is under hard concrete. It has to be repaired.

Slab Leak Symptoms

If you think you may have a leaking water or sewer line under a concrete slab, look for these signs:

Water Lines:

  1. A wet or damp spot on your floor.
  2. A more expensive water bill.
  3. Sound of gushing or running water.
  4. If a hot water pipe is leaking you may notice a warm spot in your floor.
  5. Mold or mildew starting to form in an area.

Sewage Lines:

  1. A cracked foundation.
  2. A dome or high spot in the floor.
  3. Soil that is being washed away from the base of your foundation for no apparent reason.

A leaking sewage line may not show symptoms until the damage is more severe. This is because the leak can go undetected for a longer period of time and has time to do more damage to your foundation.

Slab Leak Detection

In some situations, slab leak detection equipment must be used to locate a slab leak. There is also special listening devices that can be used to try and locate a leak under concrete. These devices are used by pumping air into the lines and then listening for escaping air from the damaged area of the pipe. Some plumbers do not have this type of equipment and there are other plumbers that specialize in this type of repair.

Leak Detection Equipment
Slab Leak Repair

After you have the leak located you must begin the task of gaining access to the pipe and this will probably involve a cement saw and air jack hammer. Be ready for the mess and especially  the dust that removing the concrete slab is going to make. Cover everything you don’t want dust on.
After gaining access the plumber can decide the best way to make the repair. Be cautious of using any type of rubber pipe repair as the concrete can quickly deteriorate the rubber product.

Slab Leak Repair Cost

The national average cost to have someone come in with the special equipment needed to pinpoint the water leak will range from about $150.00 to $400.00 and this is only to find the leaking pipe under the concrete.
The cost to cut and rip up the concrete to make the necessary repairs to the leaking water or sewer line and then replace the concrete will depend on the exact location and the ease of access. National averages place the typical cost at about $2000.00 for this type of repair. This estimate can vary a great deal depending on the particular circumstances the plumber has to deal with. This estimate would not include any water damage that may be done to your property.

Slab Leak Insurance Coverage

Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover water damage that may have been done to carpeting, flooring, and cabinets. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover the cost of repairing the leaking pipes. The deductible amount that you have to be pay before the insurance payment is applied will also determine the amount of money that has to come out of your pocket. You will need to talk with your insurance company to get the final answer on the terms of your policy.

Slab Leak Solutions

The most common type of pipe used under a concrete slab foundation is copper. Over the years, as the copper pipes age they begin to wear thin and become more prone to leak. If you have to rip up concrete and repair a line in one section, it can be added pressure on the rest of the aged pipes.

Sometimes it just may be better and less expensive to re-plumb your house than repair an old pipe. Talk with your plumber about it and ask their opinion. A slab leak in some cases can be considered a major and very expensive repair.