7+ Tips for Detecting Slab Leaks
Homes can be built on several different types of foundations. Some homes are built on a basement, while others are built on a crawl space. In Southern California and many other regions, lots of homes are built on a concrete slab. A concrete slab foundation is unique because the plumbing pipes are actually located in the ground underneath the concrete slab. The flooring that you walk on is located directly above the concrete slab, with the pipes directly below.
If your home is on a basement or crawl space, you can get to the pipes fairly easily if you develop a leak. If your home is built on a concrete slab, you can’t get to the pipes without breaking up the concrete. In fact, you may not even be able to tell very easily whether you have a leak. However, you may start to notice some strange symptoms in your home that are indications of a slab leak. Use these tips for detecting slab leaks to help you diagnose a slab leak in your home.
- Check your patio for puddles. If you have a concrete patio attached to your house, look for puddles or wet spots on the patio. If you have a slab leak, the water may run out from the concrete slab onto the attached patio. If you notice wet spots on the patio that don’t go away or keep coming back (even if it isn’t raining), this could be an indication of a slab leak.
- Look for water coming out of the walls or under the cabinets. The problem with a slab leak is that there isn’t really anyplace for the leak to drain into. As a result, the leak could end up coming through the walls of the home or running out from underneath the cabinets.
- Check for mold or mildew. If you can see signs of mildew or moisture, especially under your carpeting, it could indicate a slab leak. Water can collect under the slab and the moisture has nowhere to travel apart from upwards.
- Check the temperature of the water. If you find water leaking from somewhere in the home, feel it to check its temperature. Knowing whether the leaking water is hot or cold will help you to identify its source.
- Feel for hot spots in the floor. When you are walking through the house barefoot, do you notice a warm spot in the floor? If so, this can be an indication that there is a slab leak from the hot water pipes. In some cases, you will even feel a warm, wet spot in the floor. These are good indications of a slab leak.
- Pay attention to your water heater. Is your water heater running constantly? If your water heater is constantly heating cold water, it can mean that you have a hot water leak somewhere in your home.
- Read your meter. Check your water meter, and make a mark on the meter or write down the numbers to indicate your current usage. Wait an hour, and don’t use any water during that time. (Be sure not to flush the toilet, use the faucet, or run the icemaker.) Then, check the meter again. If the meter has moved, then there is water running somewhere in your home that you don’t know about – possibly, a slab leak.
- Check your water bill. Has your water bill gone up noticeably since previous months? If your water bill has gone up significantly and you don’t think that you have actually used more water than usual, you may have a leak somewhere that is causing this.
- Check your water pressure. You may have noticed the water pressure in your shower or faucets has suddenly become lower. It is quite common for slab leaks to develop in your main water line. This is where the water enters your home from the main supply. Even a small leak within this water line can cause a significant drop in your water pressure.
- Listen for running water. This is one of the most noticeable ways to identify a slab leak in your home. If you can hear running water when there are no faucets turned on, it is a good indicator of a leak. Slab leaks generally make splashing or hissing sounds, which can be heard when the home is quiet.