Water lines can be accessed a few different ways, depending on the type of home. In homes with a basement, the water lines generally run along the basement ceiling. In homes with a crawlspace, the water lines are usually accessible from there. In a slab house (meaning the house is built on a concrete slab), the water lines usually run underneath the slab, making them much harder to access. Because the concrete slab has acid in it, copper water lines can corrode and develop holes over time.
You’ll probably find out that there’s a hole in the water line if you get an excessively high water bill. In very rare situations you might see water come up from the floor our outside the home. But generally, you’ll notice a loss of water pressure. If a hot water line running under the slab develops a leak, you might run out of hot water very quickly even though nothing is wrong with the water heater.
Dealing with leaky water lines in a slab home can be very difficult and invasive. We do have equipment that’s kind of a digital stethoscope, which allows us to listen to the vibrations of a water leak. However, it’s still very hard to find the location of the leak. Unfortunately, it’s going to be most economical to just repipe the home with a different pipe. You definitely don’t want to have a leaky water line in a slab home, but you can’t just let it go, either. Excessive amounts of water running into a home’s foundation can cause significant damage over time because it’s just not meant to have that kind of water.
The water authority usually sends letters warning about excessive usage. That could be indicative of a water line leaking under the home, but it could also mean that the water line is leaking outside the home. A professional inspection will uncover the source of the leak very quickly. One of the ways you can determine whether the leak is inside or outside is by cutting the water valve going to the house. Then go check the water meter, which is usually located by the street, to see whether or not it’s still turning. If it is, that means the leak is probably underground between the meter and the house. If it’s not, the leak is probably in the house somewhere.
If you suspect that you have a slab leak, give us a call and we can come check it out. or give us a call at 540-483-9382.