How To Find and Repair Concrete Slabs That Leak
What is a slab leak?
A slab leak is an industry term for a leak within the waterline piping below the concrete floor. Slab leaks are an issue in homes and buildings of all ages. A water leak under the floor can easily develop into a costly and inconvenient endeavour. The faster a leak is detected and repaired, the lower the underground water pipe leak repair cost is likely to be.
Continuing from our previous post on how to find & detect water leak in walls, in this post we will talk about how to detect a water leak under a concrete slab, covering how to identify if your slabs have water leak, how to find a water leak, and how to repair it.
Slab Leak Signs
Faucet turned off but sound of water persists
This is a common indication of a leak in under slab water tanks or water pipes in a concrete floor. Using the latest CCTV camera inspection equipment can detect and repair leaks with non-destructive methods utilising this modern technology. This involves approved electronic amplification equipment supported by electromagnetic pipeline locators.
Floor hot spot could show hot water line leak
A “spot repair” involves creating an access point into the slab at the point of the determined leak. This is done in order to make a repair to the leaking pipe. It is recognised as a cost-effective slab leak repair option for more recent constructions.
For older systems, rerouting or replacing sewer pipe under the basement floor, including the entire line that was leaking, is considered the most effective method. For leak location purposes, highly trained leak technicians may employ non-invasive detection methods to accurately determine the location of a leak. This saves you time and avoids needless property damage.
Mildew or excessive moisture under carpets
A damp carpet or rug with the presence of mould or mildew, accompanied with a peculiar odour could be one of the first indications of a cracked slab. This will require the floor covering to be lifted and an inspection must be carried out in the event of a concentring moisture presence.
Cracks in the walls or flooring
The appearance of cracks in your walls or flooring can be due to the saturation of the foundation, causing moisture to start leaking into the house. This can result in the foundation cracking or buckling. If this is the case, you may also observe cracks in the foundation on the outside of the building.
Should you encounter wet baseboards then it could be the result of pressure on the foundations. Any crawl space or basement home built on clay soil can experience soil movement that adversely affects the foundation. When saturated with excessive water clay soils expand and then contract when dry. The continual swelling and shrinking creates pressure on the foundation. And if the foundation cracks, moisture can enter the home. As the floor joist weakens, the flooring above can sag. Moisture attracts various insects such as silverfish, millipedes, and centipedes.
Water coming out below the water heater
Any leak in your water heater is not intermittent and should not be ignored. Due to the tank always being full, a leak will distribute water all around the outer lining of the tank. Generally, it is an issue related to water condensing, with a leak becoming obvious when access panels are removed.
Water on the floor or wet carpet
A wet carpet is a strong indication of a leak. If it concerns water on a tiled floor, then it could be sufficiently severe to cause water to gather in the space between the adhesive and the tiles. Replacing a shower drain in a concrete floor is a common outcome along with repairing and replacing tiles.
There may also be other indications in the case of hardwood floorings, such as a raised (dome-shaped) or warped section. This is a sign that could warn you of serious damage regarding the foundations.
High water bills
A well above average water bill is a general sign of a leak in your home. Although it could be an indication of a water leak from the pool, it could also be warning you of a leak under the slab. Therefore, if after preliminary checks of the concrete slab drain and other areas have been completed without discovering the source, seek professional help.
Wet planters near the house
Any type of wet source against a house is a serious issue, as it can be the cause of damage to foundations and encourage termites. You should ensure that the ground is graded away from the walls. And if you have any doubts, consult a professional leak detection specialist. If there is a grading-related drainage issue, or you’re having trouble locating water lines and pipes underground, seek qualified help to have it corrected.
Finding Your Slab Leak
Check your water meter
Severe leaks or multiple minor water leaks can sometimes be detected by performing a simple leak check. After turning off all water supply sources, record the reading of the water meter, wait at least 15 minutes while keeping the water supply off, then check the meter again. Should there be a recorded water usage during this period, then a leak is most likely occuring.
Locate your house’s pipes
Knowing the location of the main water supply is as important as an awareness of where to turn off or reset an electric breaker. Your home should have a main water shut-off valve installed inside, in the case of emergency situations and repairs. However, it is also worth taking a tour through your home and making note of how the plumbing system is structured.
Perform an initial pressure test of your home
Testing the water pressure in your home can be easily completed, with an inexpensive pressure gauge. In fact, adjusting the water pressure is one of the top ways to reduce stress on your plumbing system to prevent water pipe leaks in the first place. Testing the water pressure periodically can help pre-empt a problem before a high pressure water can damage the plumbing.
Perform complete electronic leak detection service
Special, non-invasive equipment is available for the purpose of definitive diagnoses regarding water leaks in your home. Electromagnetic pipeline locators, electronic amplification equipment, and camera inspections like drainage CCTV, are all examples of devices employed in the detection and location of a leak or leaks beneath your foundations.
Slab Leak Repair
This type of leak repair involves an excavation of up to 1m² to repair the section of leaking pipe. Although this may be a cheaper option, a pipe that is in poor condition should be replaced or the drain cleared and relined, since a repair may only provide a short-term solution.
Re-pipe or Reroute
The occasion can arise whereby it is necessary and even more cost-effective to re-pipe or reroute due to a slab leak that is not accessible to repair. This could include a water leak under a bathtub, shower unit or beneath a kitchen cabinet. Knowing your home’s plumbing system and the common sources of household water leaks is helpful, but sometimes it takes more than a repair to stop a leak.
Epoxy pipe coating
The epoxy coating process is simple. However, it offers highly effective pipe restoration technology that coats the inside of pipes completely. The end result means that you will never have to be concerned about pinhole leaks, weak water pressure, and pipe corrosion or contaminants filtering into your water supplies.
The responsibility related to the pipework that conducts clean water is shared between water companies and property owners. Water companies are expected to maintain up-to-date plans of the sewers and watermains for which they are responsible. However, the majority of pipes within individual property boundaries are the responsibility of the property owners. Therefore, property owners have the obligation to maintain those pipes and ensure adequate and safe access to them. Keeping this in mind when making any home renovations or repairs can help you avoid needing to reroute or repipe plumbing due to inaccessibility.
There are plumbing services offering leak detection in Melbourne that employ highly trained and qualified technicians to conduct household plumbing and concrete slab leak detection and repair. They will use non-invasive leak detection equipment to accurately locate leaks, providing a valuable service that avoids unnecessary property damage.
How to Find and Remove Water Leaking Through Walls
Learn how to locate the water leak through walls by checking your water in the system and how to repair it. Also, find out why cleaning the deposit moulds and moss from leaking walls is important, here is the quick process to cleaning those mosses.
How to detect water leaks in walls
Water leaks in walls are disturbing not only because of their unsightly appearance but also because they are unhealthy for the mess and sludge they create but are an added drain in the wallet.
Whether your wall is made of concrete finish from assembled hollow blocks, or a drywall, a water leak inside these walls will definitely find a messy way to show itself on the surface.
Not all water leaks are as evident as water visibly flowing down the wall to the floor.
It is possible that the leak is just coming from a tiny or slight breach of the joint connection in the piping system hidden behind the walls.
In such a case, the leak may not manifest itself unless enough moisture accumulates and is aggravated by gathering moulds and moss, which should then require a repair.
Check for Water Leaks in the System
If you are to focus on addressing such leaks on walls, you might as well make sure that the water leaks are not only where you find them by the moisture marks they create on your wall.
It is possible that some leaks may be underground.
In such cases, they may not be visible and may only be properly located using sophisticated testing equipment.
The best way to check for other leaks is through a water meter inspection:
- Close all possible outlets of water in your household – faucets, water closets, sinks, showers, lavatories
- Observe your water meter closely.
- Your water meter gauge should stop moving.
- If it continues to move fast, it means water is escaping somewhere in the water line in substantial quantity.
- If the meter’s movement is slow as to be almost negligible, it may come from the wall behind which you suspect a water leak.
How to stop water leakage from wall
To repair the water leak, you need to access the cause of the leak which is the water pipe itself.
Before you break any wall, check your house plan for the water piping system to determine how the pipes are positioned inside the walls.
If the plans are unavailable, observe if the spread of the moisture marks are horizontal or vertical.
If horizontal, you may have to cut the drywall from end to end of the marks measuring horizontally.
If vertical, you may have to cut from the top end of the marks to about two feet downwards. It is likely that the breached portions of the pipe are located right here.
How to clean mould off walls
After repairing the pipe, clean the surrounding area of the moulds and moss that have gathered.
Most drywalls are made of plasterboard or gypsum board and are easy to replace:
- Simply cut a piece of such a board sized enough to fit the hole you opened
- Fasten the board using screws
- Patch up the edges of the repair board to level off with the entire wall and finish with a matching paint
If the wall is concrete, the procedure will be the same, although the materials may be different.
After you have restored the pipe and you are certain that the leak has been repaired, there are a few more things to do.
Make sure that the moulds and moss that have gathered are cleaned out so as not to induce decay inside the wall and not serve as breeding place for insects.
Replace the hollow blocks, or stones, and close the opening as a concrete finish should be.
Talk to a Professional
While we are into a DIY engagement with these procedures, it is always prudent to call a water leak detector specialist to do the repair work since they are well trained and fully equipped to competently perform these types of household work.
AusTest Pipeline Solutions
Hiring a professional, precision can be guaranteed by reason of their training and experience.
Our trained staff at AusTest Pipeline Solutions, your leak detection Melbourne, uses state of the art equipment and systems to perform water leak detection for Melbourne homes and businesses.
We can locate issues in a range of areas under concrete slabs, under Bitumen roads, concealed in walls, in waste and sewer systems, in hydronic heating systems, and even irrigation and sprinkler systems.