Slab Leaks: Common Causes and How to Prevent Them

April 5th, 2021 | Tips & Tricks, Plumbing, Garbage Disposal

Moffett Tips & Tricks

Slab Leaks, An Introduction:

Throughout the United States, more than half of all homes have a slab foundation. In California, though, that percentage goes way up, with slab construction being the standard. Slab foundations are cost-effective, providing your home with a solid base that’s not likely to shift, thanks to California’s warm climate.

However, slab foundations can occasionally have problems with leaks. The signs can take a while to show up, but when they do, you may notice one or more of the following:

  • A decrease in water pressure
  • Damp spots on the floor
  • Mold growing under your carpet
  • Drips and trickling sounds, even when the water is turned off.
  • Soft spots in your lawn around your foundation
  • Surprisingly high water bills

While these aren’t necessarily signs that you need a slab leak repair, it’s still a good idea to have a plumber come to take a look at your system. Just be sure that if you Google “slab leak repair near me,” you choose a licensed and insured plumber to work with.

There are a number of reasons why your home might have developed a slab leak. Here are some of the more common reasons that we see. 

Construction Issues

Because slab foundations are poured directly onto the ground, there isn’t room underneath the home to install plumbing after it’s poured, like there would be on a home with a basement or crawl space. This means that plumbers have to pre-install several plumbing lines before the foundation is poured, usually in an area that is eventually covered with gravel and soil to provide adequate drainage under the slab.

If this pre-installation isn’t done carefully or if the plumbers use low-quality parts, there’s a good chance that those pipes will become kinked or dented, either during construction or afterward. This could lead to reduced water flow and leaks, and even a tiny leak will eventually develop into a significant one. 

Another issue is vibration. If the system was poorly installed, the vibrations caused by the usage of the system could create friction, which can also lead to leaks.

While there’s not much that you can do to correct issues once the home is built, a regular plumbing inspection can help to prevent damage from accumulating to a breaking point. Your plumber should be able to recognize shoddy work and fix any issues that develop.

A Shifting Foundation

The ground beneath your home doesn’t quite stay still. While it should have been carefully prepared before pouring, factors like very heavy rains, unexpected freezing, and thawing, underground streams, or earthquakes can cause your slab to shift. Even a slight shift can put extra pressure on your pipes, potentially pinching or kinking them or even shearing them, causing massive leaks. 

It’s worth contacting a plumber if you’ve experienced any of these unexpected conditions, especially if you suspect that your foundation may have shifted, even a little bit. 

High Water Pressure

Your home’s water pressure is one of the most difficult aspects of your plumbing system to calibrate. This is because it’s reliant on your municipal water supply, which can fluctuate for a variety of reasons, running from water shortages to increased demand. When your municipal supply needs to serve a dense population, perhaps in a new high-rise, they can increase the overall water pressure in their system.

While having enough water pressure is certainly desirable, when the pressure is too high, it can put extra stress on your plumbing, especially at the joints, which can lead to leaks. Contact a plumber if you’re concerned about your water pressure, especially if you’ve noticed a sudden increase.

Water Quality

When water is described as either “hard” or “soft,” it’s actually describing the pH level of the water. Measured on a scale of 1 to 14, hard water is acidic, meaning it has a pH below 7. Above 7, the water is considered to be basic or soft. 

Ideally, your water should fall between a pH of 6.5 and 8.5 to keep your plumbing working at its best. If it runs outside of that range, it could damage your pipes, which could eventually cause severe problems. If you’re not sure about your water’s pH, you can get a home litmus test to check it. If you’re concerned about that test results, don’t hesitate to contact a plumber like Moffett Plumbing to correct your water’s pH level. 

Orange County Slab Leak Repairs

If you’re looking for help in diagnosing or repairing a slab leak in your foundation, contact the experts at Moffett Plumbing & Air, today! Our local, reliable professionals are here to help you. Whether that’s a slab leak or another plumbing surprise.

Moffett Plumbing & Air is a full-service, family owned & operated plumbing & HVAC company based out of Orange, CA. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing professionals.