Image of a piping fixture with water spraying out of the sides

A horror is lurking beneath your Orange County home and you probably don’t even know what is happening. In some places, the pipes to your home are buried directly under the foundation. These include pipes that carry water into your home, pipes that carry waste water out of your home, and pipes that carry natural gas into your home. If any of these lines were to rupture or otherwise become compromised, this could create a serious problem in your home. At California Repipe Specialists, we are your local leader in whole home repipes, drain line replacement, and gas line repipe. Many times, a repipe can cure common plumbing problems caused by aging pipes or a haphazard plumbing installation. That being said, a slab leak is a unique animal and many times, unless there’s a problem, the pipes under the slab are left untouched.       

So What is A Slab Leak

Most of us think of a big rack of smoky ribs when someone says the word “slab”, but in many areas, the “slab” refers to the foundation that a home or business is built on. These days, slabs are almost exclusively made of concrete and the structure built on top with the soil bearing the full weight of the building. Before a slab is poured, many times a structural engineer will inspect the area beneath where the slab is to be poured and determine if more stable soil needs to be brought in to compensate for substandard soil. The pipes are generally buried in a trench with gravel surrounding the entire thing. Usually the original plans to the home include the approximate area of where these pipes are buried. The general thought is, these pipes should almost last forever and by the time they need to be replaced we will be living on Mars. Well, currently houses that are over 20 years old probably have some plumbing issue that the homeowner may or may not be aware of, and a slab leak is one of those types of issues.

The Hidden Menace

Much like a ninja, a slab leak can stay out of sight for years, until it chooses to reveal itself and that will probably be at the worst possible time. Think day two of a vacation in Maui for a week. To detect a leak, really only the one hundred percent reliable way to find it is to either see it or feel it. (Of course, we need to stress to never put your finger over a pipe that is leaking, particularly if you are unsure of the pressure. Compressed gas or water can become injected into your skin and cause harm.) Finding a slab leak however, is a commitment, and usually involves a jackhammer. Slab leaks are not without their indicators and there are ways to tell if your pipes are leaking somewhere. One of the first things you may notice is an increase in your water or gas bill. Generally utility companies are pretty good about putting a history of use on their bills, just for this purpose. If you see your utility bill skyrocket unexpectedly over a period of time, do not hesitate to call the water authority and check your meter for accuracy. If a pipe is leaking, generally there is a sound associated, usually running water or a hissing of gas. Of course, if the drain is leaking you will get no indication from the utility bill or sound inspection. A major indication that you have a slab leak is a crack in the foundation, and that is bad.

How Bad Is It?

There is no getting around the fact that slab leaks are invasive. They are hands down the most difficult of plumbing issues that can be encountered. Generally, slab leaks are not caused by anything other than bad luck. You could have an unstable area under your home, a pipe that was faulty from the manufacturer, or a substandard installation was performed when your home was built. In any case, there is not much you can do to avoid a slab leak. It is simply a matter of getting it fixed. Unfortunately, if you have carpeting or flooring on your slab it will need to come up and a cut will need to be made in your foundation. Many times when a water line ruptures under a slab, the water pressure will excavate the soil beneath the leak. If given enough time the leak, this hole could reach massive proportions, compromising your foundation altogether. A gas leak could create an extremely dangerous situation if the slab is cracked and the gas is leaking into the home. (If you ever smell a rotten egg like smell, leave your home immediately.)

Don’t Wait, Get It Fixed

The prospect of having your home and family disrupted by a slab leak has you wanting to just ignore it and put the house on the market, instead you should contact California Repipe Specialists. We will discuss your current situation and have you fixed in no time.