What is a slab leak?
Slab leak is a term used in the plumbing industry that describes a water line failure underneath the home foundation, concrete slab or parking structure.
What causes a slab leak?
1: Poor installation.
2: Water quality, and chemistry.
3: Waterline vibration over years rubbing against debris.
4: Soil erosion, shifting foundation, earthquake
Indications of a slab leak!
1: Sounds of water constantly running.
2: Unusually high water bill.
3: Warm spot underneath the floor.
4: Low water pressure.
5: Water in floor vents.
6: Moisture on carpet wood floor buckling.
How to locate a slab leak
First, make sure all toilets, faucets, shower valves, tubs, washer boxes, and outside faucets are not leaking and shut them off. If the home is on city water, check the meter for a triangle shape or star shaped dial moving. If it is moving this indicates the system is losing water. If you’re on well water, check the pressure gauge near the pump switch for pressure loss in the system. Now that the water leak has been verified it’s time to isolate hot and cold water lines at the water heater by shutting off cold water to the water heater. This will isolate the hot water line from the cold water lines. Check the meter to see if the dial is moving. If not then it’s a hot water line leak. If it is still moving indicating then it is a cold water line leak. Now it’s time to isolate the area of the slab leak . With an acoustical leak detector, isolate the leak between the loudest manifold. When necessary, use line locators to map out the exact placement of the water lines underneath the slab. Next listen for the leak with acoustical leak detector microphones and pinpoint the loudest area resonating underneath the concrete slab.
How to repair a slab leak
Option #1: Open up the floor with a jackhammer. Dig up the concrete and expose the damaged waterline. Backfill the waterline with sand and pour back rough grade concrete to patch.
Opton #2: Reroute the waterline overhead in the attic. Locate the damaged waterline manifold feeds and isolate the damaged waterline from the manifolds. Re-route the new waterline through the attic, tying back into the manifold feeds and insulate the water lines overhead.
How to get your insurance company to cover the costs
Insurance companies will cover secondary damage on slab leaks. They will also cover access of repair which means they will cover the tile, flooring, removal of dirt and any secondary damage caused while repairing the slab leak. They will not cover actual repairing of pipe. If the expense for access of repair of the slab leak underneath the floor is greater than the expense to reroute a new water line overhead, they generally will cover the water line re-routes due to loss.