Pipes play an important role in our plumbing and household so they must be taken with the utmost importance. Problems like leaking or broken pipes should be attended to immediately to avoid costly damages. But not all pipe issues can be detected easily. Many of our home’s pipes and drains have been installed under concrete driveways and house slabs which makes leak detection difficult. If these pipes broke, they would start leaking water into the surrounding concrete and foundations of your home. Here is a look at what a slab leak is, steps to take and repair strategies.
A leak that occurs beneath concrete, so in the concrete floor of the property is referred to in the industry as slab leaks. These are leaks that an expert uses heavy duty saws and blades for cutting concrete to reach down to repair. When you suspect a water leak under a driveway or house slab, it is not always easy to know whether you have a problem under the concrete. So here are some signs to look for as the quicker you detect it and get it fixed, the less damage that happens. That will save you money.
Signs you have a water leak
Knowing what to look for is a very good idea. Here are some of the signs of a broken pipe under concrete:
- You may notice wet spots around the exterior walls of the house.
- You may also damp spots on the internal flooring.
- You might feel warm spots on the floor when you walk without shoes in certain spots.
- Can you hear water even when all faucets are turned off, or a trickling sound when you listen with your ear to the ground?
- There might be a musty smell.
- Signs of mould or mildew might appear.
- Your water bill is up and you have no reason for it.
- You have low water pressure.
- You feel damp on the walls and the weather is not the reason.
What to do if you are sure of a broken pipe under concrete
- Work out where the leak is coming from – It is very useful if you can establish an idea of where the leak is but it is an educated guess. Sometimes water pools at a distance away from the cracked pipe responsible. If you start cutting concrete and you cut in the wrong place that means you have to repair it and move on. It is best to leave it to a professional in terms of when the cutting starts. A professional has the best equipment like CCTV devices, listening devices and other detection tools.
- Get plenty of quotes – When you are looking into what professionals to hire to undertake the repairs, be sure you do some research so you get the best professionals. When the leaks are deep you are looking at issues with structural integrity if it has been going on for too long. Get a range of quotes for repairs and choose an option that suits your preferred repair strategy.
- Decide on the action you want to happen – There is no one answer to this kind of leak. What you choose to do depends on the leak itself as well as your budget. But ignoring it is not the answer as it will just get worse and more expensive. There is also the consideration that if the renovations are going to be extensive and long, will you be able to live in the house while it is happening?
Repairing broken pipes under concrete
Unfortunately such leaks are not as simple as fixing a leaking kitchen faucet. There are three usual approaches to take for broken pipes and water leaks under concrete. These are;
- Use a saw for cutting concrete, excavate into the dirt and get to the damaged pipes then replace them, then put back in the soil and concrete.
- To move things around and reroute the plumbing.
- To reline the broken pipes with a new composite that forms a new pipe inside the old one.