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Slab Leaks: All You Need to Know!

Finger Plugging Water Leak

Are you familiar with the term “slab leak”? If not, you’re not alone. Slab leaks are a lesser-known but potentially serious issue affecting homes, especially those with concrete slab foundations. In this blog post, we’ll delve into slab leaks, their causes, how common they are, signs to watch out for, and what steps to take if you suspect a slab leak in your Evanston home.

What Is a Slab Leak?

A slab leak is a leak in the water supply pipes or sewer lines that run beneath a building’s concrete slab foundation. These leaks can occur in residential and commercial properties and can lead to significant damage if left unaddressed.

Causes of Slab Leaks

  1. Sometimes, slab leaks can occur due to poor construction practices, such as substandard materials or improper installation of plumbing pipes.
  2. Natural shifts in the earth, such as earthquakes or soil settling, can pressure pipes, leading to leaks over time.
  3. Water’s chemical composition can cause pipes to corrode, especially if made of older materials like galvanized steel.
  4. Aging plumbing systems, including those within the slab foundation, are more prone to leaks and failures.

How Common are Slab Leaks?

While not as common as other plumbing issues like leaky faucets or burst pipes, slab leaks occur, particularly in areas with certain soil conditions or seismic activity. Due to aging pipes and materials, older homes are also more susceptible to slab leaks.

How Long Can They Go Undetected?

One concerning aspect of slab leaks is that they can go undetected for extended periods, sometimes months or even years. This is because the leak is hidden beneath the concrete slab, and the signs of a leak may not be immediately obvious.

5 Signs of a Slab Leak

  • Unexpected Increase in Water Bills: If your water bills suddenly spike without a corresponding increase in usage, it could indicate a hidden leak, possibly a slab leak.
  • Warm Spots on Floors: If the leak is in a hot water line, you may notice warm or hot spots on the floor, particularly in areas near where water lines run.
  • Mold or Mildew Growth: Moisture from a slab leak can promote mold growth or mildew in carpets, walls, or baseboards.
  • Low Water Pressure: A sudden drop in water pressure, especially in specific areas of the house, could indicate a leak in the water supply lines.
  • Cracks in Walls or Flooring: As the soil beneath the slab shifts due to water leakage, cracks can form in walls, flooring, or the foundation itself.
  • Bonus: Increase in Pest Activity: If you notice an increase in general pest activity around the home or specifically concentrated in one area, it could be a sign of a leak. Moisture naturally draws in more pests since they rely on moisture. 

What to Do If You Experience a Slab Leak

If you suspect a slab leak in your home, it’s crucial to take prompt action to minimize damage and prevent further issues. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Shut Off Water: Locate your main water shut-off valve and turn off the water supply to your home to prevent additional water from leaking.
  2. Contact a Professional: Call the Reliance Plumbing team, a licensed and experienced plumbing team specializing in slab leak detection and repair. We will use specialized equipment, such as leak detection cameras or listening devices, to pinpoint the leak’s location.
  3. Assess Damage: Depending on the severity of the leak and any resulting damage, you may need to consult with a restoration specialist to address water damage, mold remediation, or structural repairs.
  4. Repair or Replace Pipes: Once the leak is located, the plumber will recommend repair or replacement options for the damaged pipes. This may involve rerouting pipes, epoxy pipe lining, or, in severe cases, excavating and replacing sections of the plumbing system.
  5. Prevent Future Leaks: Consider preventive measures such as regular plumbing inspections, pipe maintenance, and addressing any underlying issues such as poor drainage or soil conditions that could contribute to future leaks.

Slab leaks are a serious issue that can cause extensive damage and require prompt attention and professional expertise for detection and repair. Awareness of the causes and signs of slab leaks can help homeowners take proactive measures to protect their property and ensure the integrity of their plumbing systems. If you suspect a slab leak, don’t hesitate to call our team today and ensure you control any damage before it rapidly worsens. 

For expert slab leak detection and repair, contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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