Slab leaks can be devastating. Some take weeks or months to discover, and they are capable of causing serious damage to your home. All it takes is a pinhole-sized leak to cause major frustration.
Slab leaks occur in the pipes that are under the foundation of your home. You can get a slab leak in your water line – where the water enters your home from the outside – or in your sewer line – where your disposed water exits your home and goes into the sewer. If either of those lines leaks enough, it can cause the soil around it expand and swell. That soil can actually bend your foundation or cause it to have a dome shape – either of which can cause major damage to your home, like cracked walls and floors or even create a damp place for toxic mold to grow.
So, now that you know exactly what slab leaks are, how on earth did you get one? There are 7 things that typically cause them:
1. The chemical composition of your water
Water that has a pH level below 7 is considered “soft”, and it is chock full of acid. As that acidic water travels through your pipes, it can start to dissolve them – especially if you have copper pipes.
But, water with a much higher pH isn’t any better. If you water has a pH level above 8, it is considered “hard”. As hard water flows around under your house, it builds up on the walls of the pipes, and eventually, it starts to corrode them. Once the pipes are corroded, holes start to develop.
2. Your water pressure
Some homes fall victim to slab leaks because their water pressure is simply too high. Other homes don’t have an excessively high water pressure, but they have very narrow pipes that simply cannot handle having a lot of water rushing through them.
Either situation leads to the same damage. If water is moving through your pipes too quickly, it starts to eat away at the pipes’ protective coating. Once that coating is gone, it is easy for the water to corrode the pipes. Pipes that bend or change direction are especially vulnerable to this problem.
3. Your foundation
Foundations shift for a couple of different reasons. Sometimes, they just aren’t designed properly. Other times, a change in moisture in the ground can cause them to move. If your foundation shifts enough, it can pull apart the pipes underneath. The end result? A slab leak.
4. Bad workmanship
Unfortunately, your slab leak could be a man-made problem. If you have plumbing supplies that are sub-par, it can lead to slab leaks. But, your leak isn’t necessarily your plumber’s fault. Another worker may have inadvertently nicked one of your pipes, causing a leak.
If the pipes that are underneath your foundation are made out of different metals, it could eventually lead to a slab leak. Different metals have different types of stored energy, and they can react with one another. Those reactions can cause an electrical current that leads to pinhole-sized leaks.
6. Stuff you’re putting down the drain
Chemicals and solvents that you may not think twice about pouring down the drain could be wreaking major havoc on your pipes. Certain liquids can cause your pipes to break down – especially if you have cast iron piping.
If the metal pipes underneath your foundation are sitting in soil that is always wet, it can lead to rusty pipes. That rust will eventually start to wear down your pipes and make them more vulnerable to holes and slab leaks.
This article was written by SlabLeakPro.com, a specialist in slab leak detection and repair.