When a slab leak strikes, it can cause a lot of damage to your home – quickly. Your slab is a single piece of concrete that serves as the foundation of your home. Once it develops a leak, it can cause problems around your entire house. And, it can be incredibly expensive to fix.
Many homeowners believe that their insurance will cover the cost of repairing their slab leak. Unfortunately, many of them are shocked to find out that their insurance policy only covers the house – not the slab that lies underneath it. If something goes wrong with your slab, in most cases, you are on your own.
How can that be?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover your house and everything inside. So, if a slab leak floods your home and ruins your carpeting, your insurance will pay for new carpet. However, they will not pay to actually fix the slab leak. Getting a slab leak can turn into an expensive insurance lesson for many homeowners!
That’s why so many homeowners want to fix slab leaks themselves. After all, who has thousands of dollars to pay to a plumber?
It doesn’t take a professional plumber to fix a slab leak, though. In fact, you can do the job yourself, by following these 7 tips:
1. Figure out exactly where the slab leak is.
Many times, you can feel a slab leak. If a hot water line is leaking, you will feel a warm spot on your floor. Or, if your carpet is suddenly damp, you know you have a slab leak. If you can pinpoint exactly where the leak is, you’ve overcome the first hurdle.
However, not all slab leaks are easy to find. You may have to call in a professional to locate your slab leak. They have special tools that can find a leak, without ripping up the floor. But, even if you call a professional in to find the leak, you can still repair it yourself.
2. Once you find the leak, shut off the main water supply to your home.
Plumbing repairs are tricky – especially for non-professionals. If you do make a mistake, you don’t want to flood your home. To be safe, shut off the water.
3. Remove the flooring above the leak.
Many times, you can get away with removing a single tile; it just depends on how big the leak is. Usually, you will just need to remove enough of the floor so that you can fit your hand and some small tools in to fix the leak. And, you don’t need fancy equipment to remove the flooring. In most cases, a concrete drill bit will do the trick. The vast majority of foundations are about 4 inches thick, so make sure your drill bit can handle something that thick.
4. Now, it’s time to repair the pipe.
How you actually go about fixing the pipe is up to you. There are several methods that all work well:
- You can get special pipe wraps that are designed to stop leaks, that work just like a bandage.
- You can get a special epoxy that will seal the leak.
- You can patch up the leak by soldering the pipe.
5. Once you think the leak is sealed, turn the water back on.
It’s time to see how well you did. If the leak isn’t sealed properly, you will see water coming out of it as soon as you turn the water back on.
6. Leave the pipe exposed for a few days.
Even if you think the leak is totally sealed, don’t replace the flooring just yet. Instead, leave the pipe exposed for a couple of days, so that you can keep an eye on it. Some slab leaks are very slow; you may not see any evidence of it right away. The last thing you want to do is put the floor back together and discover that the leak isn’t totally gone!
7. Replace the flooring.
You will need to pour new concrete over the pipe, give it time to dry, then put the flooring back together.