How to Find a Broken Pipe in Your Your Slab Foundation

When it comes to the plumbing in a home, most people don’t even think about it until there is a problem. In most cases, plumbing leaks are noticeable before they cause extensive damage by leaving water stains, soft spots, and a musty odor behind.  On the other hand, what if there is a broken pipe in the slab foundation of your house?

Signs of a Leaking Pipe in a Slab

In most cases gravity will keep excess water from leaking pipes in your foundation out of sight. This will make it difficult to know if you have a broken pipe until your utility bill shows up. It might be reflected in the water bill alone if the leak is in one of the cold water pipes, but you might also feel some sticker shock on the electric or gas side of the bill if you have a leaking hot water pipe. Some of the signs of a water leak under your slab include:

  • You see that your water meter seems to be spinning at a higher rate than normal, or you notice that the water heater runs more often.
  • You find a warm spot in the floor.
  • You find wet spots on the floor.
  • You can feel a soft spot in the floor as you walk over it.
  • You can hear water running in the pipes, even when you don’t have any water turned on.
  • You’ve noticed ants or other pests more commonly lurking around and in your house.
  • You’ve discovered new cracks in the walls or floor.

It’s important to note, though, that the signs of a broken water pipe may be subtle, if they exist at all.

Finding a Broken Pipe

Finding a Broken Pipe

Locating a leak under the concrete slab of your house is a painstaking procedure. While feeling a soft spot or warm spot in your floor might indicate a leak, it doesn’t necessarily indicate where the leak is located. Water has the ability to travel quite a distance before making an obvious sign.

Locating a leaking pipe under a slab is a two step process.

1. Locate your house’s pipes.

2. Use an electronic leak detector to pinpoint the location of the leak.

Repairing a Slab Leak

Once the broken pipe is isolated, repairs can be made. In most cases, the damaged pipe will need to be cut away and replaced with new pipe. In addition, you may have pipes that have to be rerouted using a form of trenchless technology.

Direct Access

While direct access to the pipes is usually the easiest way to access the under slab plumbing, it is usually not the best approach, since there is a high possibility that other structures will be damaged in the process. However, if the other options are simply not available, you will be required to cut through the concrete to access the broken pipe. To fix the leak, you may need to cut away the damaged pipe and embed the two ends to a copper connector to eliminate damage.

To ensure you a leak does not develop in your pipes again in a couple of months, it’s important to repair the leak correctly. Test the repair by turning on the water and ensuring that there are no leaks. If everything is dry, remove the wet dirt from around the pipe, replace it with dry sand and top it off with concrete. After the concrete dries, the hole can be covered.

Re-routing Pipes

Re-routing Pipes

While it’s a little more labor intensive, rerouting pipes is preferable to direct access, as there is no need to break through the concrete slab. When rerouting pipes, it is important to locate the leaking pipes and figure out a way to run new piping around the trouble spot. Sometimes this involves running new pipes through the walls or attic.

If you have a broken pipe in your slab foundation, it may be covered by your home insurance plan. It is best to call in the professionals to locate and fix the leaking pipe in your Jacksonville home.  Having a professional plumber come in to evaluate your situation will not only save you time and money when compared to repairing the leak yourself, but the work will also come with a guarantee, meaning that if the repair fails, they will fix it again, free of charge. To receive assistance with a leaking pipe in your house, give our team a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers dependable water line repair, installation, and replacement services for homes in areas of Florida such as Jacksonville. From malfunctioning water heaters, gas leaks, to sewer backups, there is no problem too large for our team to handle.