Understanding The Key Culprits Behind Slab Leaks

Learn the signs and act fast for home safety when slab leaks strike!

Slab leaks are a common problem in areas with unstable soils or homes built on a concrete slab. However, if the pipes beneath a slab crack or plumbing joints leak, it can wreak havoc on your property. Significant water damage can occur to your floors, walls, furnishings, and appliances, depending on the extent of leaks. We have discussed the common culprits behind slab leaks to help you proactively avoid extensive damage.

Vibration In the Ground

  • Violent earthquakes can cause extreme vibrations in the ground. These vibrations can destroy the pipe in the concrete slab foundation below your home. Vibrations can rattle the pipes beneath the ground, and they may start to deteriorate. The joints between the pipes may also become loose.

Moreover, cracks and holes are formed in the pipes due to the movement of the ground. The sounds that resemble running water can indicate a slab leak. If there is a leak in the hot water pipe, you might notice a hot spot in your house. The growth of mold and mildew is another indicator of a slab leak.

Abrasion of Pipes

  • Older homes containing copper and Orangeburg sewer pipes are more susceptible to slab leaks. The water in the pipes circulates to appliances and sinks in the household. This movement of water causes the pipes to scrape against the concrete slab. They can also brush against gravel, dirt, and other pipes below the foundation.

This rubbing of pipes against the concrete increases the total amount of friction. Thus causing damage to the exterior of the pipes. Over time, the exterior side of the pipes becomes too thin due to continuous abrasion, causing the development of slab leaks.

Faulty Plumbing Systems

  • Slab leaks are typically caused by plumbing system failures, which can arise from various factors, such as poor installation, deteriorating water lines, chemical reactions between earth metals and plumbing materials, and soil movement beneath the slab. The materials used in plumbing systems can be a critical factor in slab leaks and are often linked to the system’s age.

Common plumbing materials include cast iron pipes and galvanized steel pipes. These pipes are susceptible to corrosion and clogging from minerals and water in the soil. The best way to avoid this issue is using plastic pipes such as PVC and CPVC. These are corrosion-resistant, durable, and versatile for above and below-ground plumbing applications. In addition, they are relatively easy to work with and prevent cracks and leakage.

High Water Pressure

  • slab leaksThe pipe below the slab foundation can collapse due to high water pressure. Dripping faucets and rattling noises when the water is in use indicate high water pressure. A water pressure gauge can be used to determine the water pressure in your house. The water pressure gauge is a device that measures the pressure of water in the water lines in pounds per square inch or PSI. The average water pressure varies from 40 to 80 pounds per square inch, depending on the city suburbs.

If the water pressure in your pipes is higher than this, your concrete slab is liable to leak. Installation of a water pressure-reducing valve can help protect the pipes on your property by keeping the water pressure in check. In addition, the acidity of the hard water can also be a risk factor for slab leaks. The pH level of hard water ranges between 1-4 on average. If you live in an area with acid water, pipes below your foundation will likely corrode, degrade, and crack over time.

If you notice signs of slab leaks, seek immediate professional help. Call us at (877) 727-2259. Our experts at Crack-X will inspect your property and take the necessary measures to fix your leaking pipes. Crack-X is a civil structures repair company operating in Maine and New Hampshire.

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