Slab Leaks: How To Recognize Them, And What To Do About Them

When you think of a plumbing leak, you typically think of water dripping out of a pipe you can see or maybe out of a pipe running behind your wall. What you probably don't picture is an underground pipe leaking water. But that's exactly what a slab leak is. It's a leak in the main water pipe that brings water into your home, and that typically runs right under your home's concrete slab foundation. As a homeowner, it is important that you know how to recognize the signs of a slab leak and what to do if you suspect you have one.

Signs of a Slab Leak

Since the pipe is hidden under your home, you have to be pretty aware in order to recognize signs of a slab leak. The most obvious sign is often a drop in water pressure. After all, some of the water is leaving the system before it has a chance to reach your shower or sink. Your shower may feel less forceful, even after you clean the aerator and showerhead. It might take you forever to fill a pot with water in the kitchen, too.

Another sign of a slab leak is wet areas around the base of your home. There may be puddles, or the grass may grow longer in these areas. This is because of the water leaking out of the pipe. 

You may also notice water in your basement. There might be small puddles in some areas, but more often, you'll just notice that the floor seems moist and the overall humidity seems to be higher.

What to Do About a Slab Leak

If you suspect you have a slab leak, call a plumber. They can pretty easily tell if a slab leak is, in fact, to blame for your issues. They do this either by sending a camera down into the pipe or by using thermography to see the difference in temperature where the water is leaking out.

If your plumber does detect a slab leak, there are a couple of ways they can fix it. They will usually attempt to sleeve the pipe, which means they'll put a liner on the inside to keep water from seeping out. If this cannot be done, they may run a new pipe "around" the old one, diverting the water. This keeps them from having to actually remove the old pipe so they won't have to take apart your foundation.

Slab leaks can cause a lot of damage and lead to a lot of lost water, so it's important to watch out for them and take action promptly if you suspect you might have one. Reach out to a plumbing service for more information.