The importance of early slab leak detection cannot be overemphasized. Homes that are built on concrete slabs often have copper piping installed either in the soil under the slab or embedded in the concrete slab.
There is no alarm to tell the homeowner that a pipe under the slab is leaking. It is difficult to detect a leak when the piping is covered by cement and some kind of flooring. Generally, a pipe has been leaking long enough to harm the cement foundation by the time it is detected. The water will soak the soil underneath the slab and likely travel to the bottom of the walls adjoining the slab. It is possible for the water to soak up into the walls.
If the slab is built on expansive soils like clay, then there is a high probability that this soil will retain water and expand resulting in heaving in the foundation. Water from plumbing leaks will build up causing the soil to expand and the result is the soil will expand causing the foundation to heave.
By the time the slab leak is discovered a lot of damage may have been done. Parts of the home can sink causing cracks in the interior walls. Water can do a lot of damage even if it is a small amount building up over time.
When you live in a home located on a concrete slab foundation, it is important to watch for the signs of a leak. Look for wet spots on the floor, and excessive water bill, or an upward movement in an area of the slab. Listen for running water when all of the water faucets are turned off. Check the meter at this time to see if it indicates water is being used.
The Foundation Repair Association states that $12.5 million is spent annually on foundation repair. Foundation problems caused by water leaks are a primary reason for the bulk of this expense according to the Foundation.
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