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What Are Slab Leaks? Are They Major Problems?


One of the most important jobs that plumbers do for homes is to locate hidden leaks. Leaking pipes not only waste water, but can also cause significant damage to building material and lead to the growth of dangerous molds. Unfortunately, many homes experience hidden leaks, and these leaks often remain disguised for too long.

And no type of hidden leak is trickier or more potentially damaging than the slab leak. So to answer the second part of the question in the post title first, yes, slab leaks are major problems. You’ll need the help of expert plumbers with the best tools to locate and repair them. 

Now we’ll go deeper into what slab leaks actually are … as well as how you might tell if your plumbing in Green, OH has them.

Slab Leak Basics

A slab leak is any pipe leak that occurs below the granite foundation slab of a home. Although you might think that any pipe buried in granite would be safe from damage that might cause leaks, there are numerous ways for slab leaks to start: 

  • Chemicals in the water can cause pipes (even copper pipes) to corrode with time.
  • The pipes can move around, causing abrasions with the granite. This is more common in the hot water lines, which change size when they heat up.
  • Shifts in the ground can put pressure on the pipes and cause them to break. 

Because you can’t see the pipes down in the granite slab, you’ll have to look for other warning signs of slab leaks. Here are the most common indicators:

  • Unusual behavior from the water heater, such as turning on at times when there is no hot water demand. This is due to leaking hot water lines, which account for 80% of slab leaks.
  • Cracks on the basement floor.
  • Warm spots on the floor. 
  • Extremely high water bills. 

If you suspect a slab leak, check your water meter. Don’t use any water in the house for an hour, and then recheck the meter to see if it’s increased. If it has, you have hidden leaks somewhere, possibly slab leaks, and need plumbers on the job.

Slab Leak Detection and Repair

When you bring in our plumbers for slab leak detection, we’ll use special equipment to pinpoint where the leaks are happening. These devices include acoustic listening discs, thermal scanners, and video pipe inspection equipment. Once we’ve found where the leaks are located, we can determine the best way to repair them. We won’t necessarily have to use a jackhammer to get through the granite and reach the pipe. In some cases, we can use lateral technology to create a pipe bypass around the damaged area. 

If you live in an older home, we may recommend more extensive repairs: repiping. This will help stop future leaking issues, not only in the slab but in other parts of the house. You can trust that we’ll look out for your best interests and always offer you honest advice. We’re a family-owned business and we know how to look out for families.

Look to Crown Group Ohio to help with your plumbing needs. Your Comfort Experts Since 1963.

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