Illustration of a plumber holding a wrenchIt’s an unfortunate reality that a lot of southern California homeowners are very familiar with what a slab leak is.

For those of you who have not had the misfortune of running into one, we’ll explain it briefly. Slab leaks are simply leaks that have developed in the copper water lines running below the steel and concrete slab foundation of your home. Slab leaks can occur both on the drainage and the pressure side of your foundation.

If the leak occurs on the pressure side, it can be detected relatively easily and quickly. On the other hand, the leaks on the drainage side are much more difficult to detect and a considerable amount of time may pass before you catch a hint of it. However, whatever is the case, slab leaks can cause a host of problems including steep hike in water bills, mold and termite infestation and most importantly, serious damage to your foundation.

In an effort to help homeowners minimize the damage that these types of leaks can cause to their home, our plumbers in Ladera Ranch have put together a list of tips for detecting a slab leak early on.

Steep Hike in Water Bills

If you find that your water bills have gotten up a good few notches all of a sudden, this is another sign of a slab leak.

Some other signs of slab leaks include faint rumbling sound of running water of undetected source; an improperly functioning toilet, showers or tubs; a strong moldy odor around the house.

All of the above issues may not always arise from a slab leak, nevertheless it is always wise to give a call to a leak detection specialist if you notice any of these signs. Slab leaks, if left untreated, can lead to serious and expensive damages to your whole house and foundation.

Water Meter Test

First, make sure that no water pipe is in use. That means all appliances using water are turned off, no faucets are running and so on. Now head outside and have a look at your water meter. If you find that the dial of the water meter is still moving, then it is highly likely that you have a slab leak somewhere in your home.

Again, make sure no water pipe is in use and check the reading on your water meter. Keep things as they are (that is, all pipes turned off) for at least half an hour and take the reading again. If there is an increase in the number, this is a sign of a water leak.

Some advanced water meters come with built-in leak detectors which makes the task easier for the homeowner. If the detector (typically, a small wheel or a triangle) is moving or spinning, you’ll know you have a leak somewhere.

Cracks in Floors or Walls & Mold infestation

Examine under your carpet and if you find too much moisture or mold, this is a sign of a potential slab leak. The same goes with cracks on your tile floors and walls or baseboards. As the leak happens, the water pressure underneath your foundation changes and this in time can cause the whole foundation to shift. And that can result in cracks in walls or floors. The best way to check for these is doing a regular inspection of your basement. If a leak occurs, the basement will get damaged first.

Check Water Pressure

Use a water pressure gauge to check the water pressure of your home from time to time. Screw the gauge onto the faucet that is in front of the house and from where the water comes into the house. While performing this test, all water faucets and water using appliances must be turned off. If at any time, you notice that the water pressure has gone too low from what is normal, you may be certain of a slab leak on your home.