Simply stated, slab leaks are water leaks below a concrete slab. If you read the words below, you will understand the causes of a slab leak as well as find yourself better able to detect one, understand the proper steps that need to be taken in order to find exactly where the leak is, and why these particular leaks are dangerous.
The Causes of a Slab Leak
There can many unique causes to leaks below a concrete slab, but the most common is clay below your foundation. Heaving and shifting soils below the slab put massive amounts of pressure on the concrete, and cause the concrete itself to heave, shift, and eventually crack. Different types of clay are typically the cause as clay expands when wet and shrinks when it is dry. Moisture levels are continually changing in Colorado, and in certain places, the ground is in constant movement. The underground plumbing is connected to the slab in places, and when this movement happens, a fitting can begin to loosen, or a crack can form, and a leak is sprung.
It is important to catch a slab leak early on before it causes much more damage to your home and costs you much more money as well.
Signs of a Slab Leak
If you hear water running when all water is turned off.
If there is a hot spot in the floor, it could indicate a leak in the hot water line.
If there is mildew or excessive mold under your carpets, you may have a slab leak.
If the slab has cracked (not a conclusive indicator).
If you have abnormally high water bill; a leak can be expensive before you even find it.
Finding and Confirming a Slab Leak
Smashing up your concrete and digging before you know exactly where the leak is coming from is foolish, and it will result in a much more costly project than spending the time to find exactly where the leak is located. To do this properly, you will need a few electronic detection tools. If you suspect a leak, the smartest thing to do is find a leak detection specialist, and confirm that you do have a leak before you dig into your concrete searching for it.
Why is a Slab Leak Dangerous?
The health concerns that follow a leak are nothing to take lightly. Leaking water leads to mold. There is no way around it, and breathing in mold for an extended period of time can lead to some substantial respiratory issues. If you find any mold under your carpet (for slab leaks we are speaking of carpet in your basement), it is highly advisable to contact a leak detection specialist, confirm the location of the leak, and stop the cause of the mold in your home.
If a slab leak is left unnoticed, or uncared for, there is the potential for the molding and consequent rotting to begin affecting the supporting structures of your home, and that is a much more serious problem.
I know this sounds all doom and gloom, but a leak can cause some serious issues. If you suspect one, take the necessary steps.
Photo Credit: Flickr User Kleerup