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Sweetwater Plumbing Blog

How a Professional Plumber Fixes Slab Leaks

water-line-repairWe’ve talked before about slab leaks, one of the more difficult problems when it comes to residential plumbing, but we’ll go over them again to give you an idea what you (and our plumbers) are dealing with.

A slab leak is any pipe leak set down in granite or other hardscaping on a residential (or commercial) property. In most cases, when plumbers talk about slab leaks, they are specifically talking about leaks in the cold water and hot water pipes down in the foundation of a house, although pipes in slabs can be found elsewhere. Around 80% of slab leaks happen in hot water pipes, which expand with heat to abrade faster against the stones around them.

Slab leaks are difficult to notice when they start to occur, and they are often the source for a mysterious increase in the amount of water a household uses per month. Because the majority of the leaks occur in hot water lines, they also waste energy by forcing the water heater to put in more work than necessary. Worst of all, slab leaks increase pressure within the slab, and this can start to cause damage to the foundation. If a home has a slab leak, it must be repaired, sooner rather than later.

Professionals on Slab Leak Duty

You can probably imagine why it takes a trained, professional plumber to handle slab leak detection and repair. You don’t have the tools to reach down into your home’s foundation to access the pipes, and an amateur won’t have the tools either. (Would you really trust a non-expert to start tearing up your home’s foundation?)

A professional approaches slab leaks with training and advanced technology. Locating the leak is the first part of the process. Plumbers can usually make a good guess about the general location of the leak based on various visual clues and knowledge about the plumbing layout. But a general guess isn’t accurate enough, so plumbers also put to use devices such as listening discs that can hear the water escaping a pipe through thick layers of concrete, thermal scanners that locate temperature changes from leaking water, and video pipe cameras that can go down into the pipelines themselves.

Once the plumbers have pinpointed the location of the leak(s), there are different options. The most basic is to jack-hammer down to the affected pipe. It’s disruptive, of course, but the work is focused to do as little damage as possible. (This is why high-tech leak detection is so critical.) But often, plumbers can do a lateral fix, inserting a new pipe to create a bypass around the leaking section. This doesn’t require any excavation at all.

When you need a skilled plumber in Montclair, CA who will take care of a slab leak in the most effective and least disruptive way possible—as well as get the job done right the first time—you only have to contact us. We not only work with residential plumbing issues and leak detection, we’re experienced commercial plumbing contractors as well.

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