No homeowner ever wants to deal with the hassles of a slab leak. A slab leak is defined as a leak in your water pipe that develops underneath the concrete. Because of where it’s located, slab leaks are pretty hard to tackle, especially with a DIY approach. That’s why many homeowners, and business owners too, call the local water leak detection services to help them fix it.
And if you’re one of them, the next thing you’re going to want to know is how much it all is going to cost you. We’ll answer that question in this article and give you an idea of how slab leaks are detected.
But first, let’s look at what causes slab leaks.
What causes slab leaks?
One of the most common causes of slab leaks is corrosion. Because the pipes are placed underground, they are susceptible to moisture which can eventually lead to corrosion. This weakens the piping structure which ultimately causes leaks.
2. External pressure
Pressure created by earthquakes and soil erosion can transfer to the pipes laying underground. And although your pipes are designed to withstand pressure, overtime they can break causing leaks and burst pipes.
3. Poor installation
Poor workmanship can also cause slab leaks. Improper installation of pipes as well as improper laying of concrete can compromise the structural integrity of the piping system. In no time, these pipes will break causing leaks that will be hard to deal with.
Reasons to suspect you might have a slab leak
High water bill — When your water bills are higher than usual, this could mean that your pipes are leaking. And much worse, it could be a slab leak.
Damp spots on the floor — Whether you have a carpet or tile flooring, damp areas are a sure sign of a slab leak. That’s because water is trying to escape causing the moisture to penetrate the floor below.
Mold or mildew — Because of the moisture coming out of the floor, it’s inevitable that mold and mildew will develop.
How to detect slab leaks?
In cases where you just can’t put a finger where the leak is, professionals can help you with a wide variety of tools at their disposal to detect slab leaks. Nowadays, many homeowners prefer non-destructive methods of slab leak detection. Here are a few.
1. Acoustic method
Plumbing professionals can use special equipment to listen for noise in pressurised pipes. Typically with acoustic discs and ground microphones, plumbers can hear sounds even through thick layers of concrete allowing them to find the leak with accuracy.
2. Tracer gas
Plumbers may sometimes deploy tracer gas which will then be picked up by highly sensitive and specialised sensors that can help professionals find slab leaks. Tracer gas can permeate all layers making it ideal for slab leak detection.
3. Thermal imaging
Another non-destructive means of slab leak detection is thermal imaging. By using infrared cameras, industry professionals can detect leaks in various places — even those located underground.
Thermal imaging technology can detect subtle temperature differences and patterns that may reveal the existence of water.
With the leak pin-pointed, a professional plumber Melbourne can work on the leak without creating unnecessary damage to your property.
Now, here’s how they fix slab leaks.
Using pneumatic power tools, like a jackhammer, a professional plumber can slowly—and carefully—chip out the portion of the concrete where the leak is located. By jackhammering the concrete, they can break the cement with precision. From here, the exposed pipe where the leak is coming from will be cut, replaced, and the concrete sealed.
Rerouting the pipes
Another way to address slab leaks is by rerouting the pipes, directing the water away or past the slab which effectively cuts off the leak.
The water line will be cut and either capped or redirected. A new water line will be added where the pipe can be safe from factors that cause slab leaks.
Is slab leak detection more expensive?
Due to the use of specialised and sophisticated equipment for non-destructive leak detection, slab leak detection can be expensive. However, if you compare it to repairing the concrete flooring that has been damaged in search of the underground leak and the damage it can potentially cause to the entire structure, using accurate leak detection methods are actually a more economical option.
So, if you are having issues with slab leaks, don’t hesitate to call and ask help from professional leak detectors or plumbers. They can address the issue without causing unnecessary damage and ensure that the leak is fixed.