how long can a slab leak go undetected?Slab leaks pose a serious problem for many homeowners, as they’re difficult to detect and expensive to repair. Also, as they occur under our floors, the leaks may remain undetected for several days, weeks, or even months.

Actually, some will have caused extensive damage to your house’s slab by the time you notice them. Such is common in areas with water having limescale deposits, which are abrasive and corrode the plumbing walls.

Over time, the walls of the water pipes get sufficiently corroded that they develop holes through which water can leak.

What Causes Slab Leaks?

Abrasion

Abrasion occurs when pipes experience prolonged stress caused by rubbing against slab materials. Eventually, they will wear down and spring leaks, especially in hot water pipes that expand and contract with different water temperatures.

Poor Construction

When pipes are bent, dented, or stressed during construction, they tend to wear down quickly around the weak points, developing leaks. If your plumbing was poorly installed deep in the slab, be ready for a leak, as it’s just a matter of time before one occurs.

How Can You Know That You Have a Slab Leak?

Detecting a slab leak can be a challenging task, especially if it happens in less frequented sections of the house. Nevertheless, here are signs to identify one in your home.

Sudden Spikes in Water Bills

If your water bills have gone up drastically despite using the exact amounts, chances are that you have a leak. Inspect all water faucets while checking their water pressure to ascertain your suspicions.

However, since it’s challenging to identify slab leaks, you’re better off calling a licensed plumber for speedy repairs.

Sounds of Running Water

If you suspect that you may have a slab leak, turn off all water faucets in your home. Next, walk on the slab, keen to hear any sounds of running water. Alternatively, you should contact a licensed plumber as they have specialized leak detection devices.

Presence of Hot Spots

Hot spots on your floor are an indication that your slab is leaking. These spots are more common in hot water lines, whereby the heat warms the floor directly above the leak. As a result, any warm sections of your floor indicate the presence of a leak.

Wet or Swollen Floors

The occurrence of significant leaks causes detrimental damage to your floor and carpets. If you can see any wet patches or discoloration on your floor, chances are that there’s a leak. You may also notice that your laminate, linoleum, or hardwood floor is slightly warped or swollen.

Mold or Mildew Under Carpeting

Moisture gets trapped underneath a carpet when slab leaks happen. Over time, mold and mildew start growing, resulting in a noticeable musty smell in your house. Molds are not only a danger to your health, but also may spread to other areas of your home, such as the walls.

Other additional signs of a slab leak include:

  • Cracks form in the concrete slab
  • Water pressure decreases throughout the house
  • You start running out of hot water (when a hot water pipe leak occurs)
  • Your toilets and bathtubs may unexpectedly back up

Finally, a slab leak is dangerous and expensive as it ruins your flooring, damages the foundation, and results in mold growth. Therefore, consider any slab leak as an emergency and call a licensed plumber immediately if you suspect that you have one.