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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

Are the Pipes Under Your Home Leaking?


This is what’s known as a slab leak, and it can be quite insidious. Slab leaks are what plumbers refer to as any leak that occurs in the hot or cold water pipes that lay below your home’s concrete foundation, and they can be a major problem. Not only do slab leaks cause considerable water waste, but they can also damage your property, lead to mold and mildew development, and add additional strain on your water heater if the leak is happening in the hot water lines.

A note about the latter: slab leaks usually do occur in the hot water lines.

Our highly trained and experienced plumbers are equipped to accurately locate this kind of problem in order to effectively fix it. But what causes it to begin with. Shouldn’t a pipe that is set down beneath your concrete foundation be pretty well protected?

Theoretically, yes. But, there are a lot of factors at play here. Read on to learn more!

Underground Pipes Are Under a Lot of Pressure

There’s a large amount of pressure put on the pipes that run under your home’s foundation. This is actually a leading cause of slab leaks. This pressure comes from any number of sources. For instance, it may be the shifting of soil causing the home’s foundation to shift too. Alternatively, it may have been that your foundation was poorly constructed to start with.

Unfortunately, these types of slab leaks create a pretty big risk, due to property damage from water collecting and eventually flooding your property.

Pipes Corrode Over Time

Remember how we mentioned that slab leaks typically occur with hot water lines, versus cold water lines? The reason for this is because corrosion is more common inside the pipes that transport hot water. The reaction between the heat of the water and the material surrounding your pipes cause them to start corroding from the outside.

Of course, this does not mean that corrosion can’t happen in your cold water lines. Just that it’s more common in hot water lines.

Aging homes are more likely to experience plumbing corrosion than more modern homes. Home’s built 40-50+ years ago may have had copper or galvanized steel pipes installed beneath the foundation, and a process called electrolysis eats away at these materials.

“What Do I Do If I Have a Slab Leak?”

The above situations are just two examples of what can cause slab leaks. If you suspect you have one—whether it’s because you think you hear water running beneath your feet or feel warm or cold spots on the ground with no other explanation—then the best thing you can do is call our pros.

We will adequately repair the slab leak, look for signs of pipe weakening elsewhere, and make proper recommendations for you. Sometimes, the best solution is to reroute your plumbing so that you are no longer using the pipes that run underneath your home. This is typically the best option for older homes, so that they never experience this messy and headache-inducing problem again.

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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