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What is A Slab Leak and Why is it Dangerous?

If you are a Phoenix native, you may have a home that has been built on a concrete foundation. Some people would call this piece of concrete a "slab". A lot of times if your home was built on this the concrete foundation, your plumbing might run underneath that slab of concrete.

Before the concrete is poured the plumbing is set and then covered by the concrete, which can have its advantages, such as protecting your plumbing lines. The pipes are not as exposed as they could be in other layouts. Even though the slab of concrete is covering the pipes, your pipes can still wear down over time. This can cause a leak that is much more difficult to spot because the leak might take longer to reach the inside of your home because it is covered by that concrete.

The biggest scare about a slab leak is that by the time that you see the leak, the damage is usually already been done. You might be able to fix the leak by doing a repipe repair, but there could be much more damage to your home that needs to be addressed.

Here are a few main issues if you have found a slab leak in your foundation:

Foundation Damage

If your pipes underneath your slab concrete have experienced a leak the first place that the leak will travel is to that slab foundation. If your foundation is consistently experiencing water build-up, it can cause the concrete to swell up and could eventually crack or slightly shift the concrete. This can be a tad bit costly to replace or repair parts of the foundation.

The damage of your foundation can lead to the rest of your house. As the foundation starts to shift it is going to naturally put more pressure on other aspects of your house like the framing of your walls or your ceiling, which can lead to more cracks and other issues.

Having a foundation expert repair your slab promptly can help save much more further damage to your home.

Your Flooring May Be Under Attack

If your pipes have sprung a leak, after it has moved through that concrete slab, it will move on to attacking the flooring of your home. Especially flooring options such as laminate or wood will take this excess water extremely hard. These types of floors are more likely to rot, invite mold growth, or begin to peel.

Although these are the most likely to take the leak the hardest, tile is not immune to being attacked. The subfloor underneath your flooring can be damaged which can cause your tile to crack.

If your floor has been subject to the damages from the slab leak you may have to replace more than just the top layer. There will be many more replacements needed.

Yard Damage

Typically, your Phoenix, Arizona home needs all the water it can get during those brutal summer months. If you have an extreme excess amount of water entering your yard because of a slab leak it can cause flooding in your yard that can destroy your grass or other parts of your landscape. In absolutely extreme measures this leak could even lead to damages to your pool and the soil in the ground begins to shift.

What Are the Symptoms of a Slab Leak

Keeping your eye out for these signs can save intense damage to your home and keep your money in your pockets:

  • Higher Water Bills

  • Hot spots in your Floor - Most slab leaks are in the hot pipe (probably 95%). So, if you start feeling hot spots in your flooring this could be a good sign

  • Water Spots Found Around the Floor

  • Floors Looking Like They Are Swollen (could happen in your yard as well)

  • Sounds Coming From Underneath The Slab

  • The Smell of Mold or Other Odor You Are Unable to Identify

One of the most notable signs from most homeowners is higher water bills without an adequate reason on why the water bill is higher.

Another great test in identifying if a slab leak is the culprit to your water damage or higher bills is by checking a water pressure gauge. If the little blue or red spindle on the gauge is spinning it could be a sign of a slab leak.

Forrest Anderson Recommended Options

Option 1: Slab Leak Repair

One of our experienced plumbing experts would locate the leaking pipe underneath the slab foundation, break up the existing concrete to access the leaking pipe, and make a spot repair on the damaged or bad pipe. If we are able to identify multiple leaks or the pipe is deteriorating, we may need to re-pipe the entire home. If you are constantly having to deal with spot repairs it may be time to opt in to a re-pipe.

Option 2: Re-pipe

During a re-pipe, all hot and cold water underneath the foundation would be eliminated, but it you would be ensured that the piping underneath your home is sufficient and able to maintain your water pressure.

What To Do if You Find One of These Symptoms

These issues can be much more complex than they may appear on the service. If you are experiencing one or many of these symptoms we recommend contacting the Forrest Anderson team to inspect your systems and offer guidance or repair. Our professionals will get to the bottom of your issues and offer you options on how to control the problem and get your home back into order.

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning, Inc has served Phoenix valley residents for decades and has helped thousands of homeowners feel safe and secure with their plumbing and HVAC needs. Contact us today by visiting our website at or give us a call directly at 623.780.4060. --

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