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What Causes Slab Leaks?

sunny-plumbersOne of the trickiest plumbing problems to deal with in a house is the slab leak. This is a leak that occurs in the hot or cold water lines buried in the concrete foundation of a house, although it can also refer to any leak in a pipe located in hardscaping. Because these leaks are hard to detect at first, they can create significant damage and water waste before they are repaired. Slab leaks require expert plumbers with the best tools to access them and fix them correctly.

You might wonder how pipes buried down in concrete can develop leaks. Don’t they have the best possible protection against damage? No, not exactly. There are several specific issues that can lead to slab leaks. We’ll look at the most common of them below.

Aging pipes

If you live in a house built before 1970, you may have outdated piping materials. Even if you had some pipes replaced, the pipes down in the slab likely haven’t changed. Materials like galvanized steel and cast iron are prone to corrosion over time and start leaking. We recommend you have leak detection done for your house if it’s this vintage—you may already have a few slab leaks.

Expansive soil shift

This is a complex way of saying “the ground below your house settles and moves.” You may not notice the movement, but it can do major damage to your home. If the foundation slab starts to settle unevenly, it can lead to pressure placed on the pipes that can easily create leaks. Underground water can also cause soil collapse that will shift the slab and damage the pipes. 

Abrasion from movement

Around 80% of slab leaks happen in the hot water lines. This is because hot water causes the pipe materials to expand and contract, and this motion creates abrasion of the pipe against the slab sides. Enough wear will lead to the pipes starting to leak. 

Chemicals and acidity in the water supply

Water quality can have a deleterious effect on your freshwater pipes. High acidity and chemicals can cause corrosion in the pipes, and this affects copper piping as well as older piping materials. If you have known issues with your water quality, we recommend you have leak detection done to find out if it has caused any damage. 

High water pressure

A home with water pressure above 80 psi has a much greater danger of leaks starting at connecting points, and this extends to pipes down in the slabs. If high water pressure has caused any leaking in your house, we advise you have our plumbers place a pressure arrestor onto the water main. 

You can rely on our expert plumbers when it comes to water leak detection in Henderson, NV. We’re a respected local plumbing contractor and our trucks are always fully stocked and ready to get out to your house to help. If you have suspicions of a slab leak, do not hesitate to call us for solutions. 

Call on The Sunny Plumber Las Vegas for any plumbing repairs you need. Bright and shiny and won’t show our hiney!

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