Categories: Plumbing Repair

How to Detect and Fix Slab Leaks the Right Way

Any homeowner needs to know how to handle repairs on their own. DIY solutions are usually enough for minor issues, such as plumbing. With enough knowledge, any homeowner can fix a leak or unclog the toilet or the sink. However, some problems aren’t so easily solved, especially for plumbing, such as slab leaks. 

Slab leaks are problems that could go unnoticed unless you see them with your own eyes. Regardless if you’ve experienced a slab leak or not, you need to know how to detect and fix them. 

How do you do this? This post will tell you everything there is to know about the matter. Read on below to learn more.

Understanding Slab Leaks

Slab leaks are “hidden” leaks that occur in your plumbing system’s water pipes that are buried underground. Slab leaks typically arise in homes built on a slab foundation, where cement surrounds the plumbing pipes.

It’s nearly impossible to get to anything that’s covered in cement, let alone repair. To see if you have a slab leak, you should see copper water lines connected at the manifolds, each of which is routed to the plumbing fixtures in your home. If one of these lines leaks, then that’s your slab leak.

What Causes Slab Leaks

If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, your pipes are at risk of developing slab leaks. Even if it’s merely a tiny tremor, it still puts pressure on your lines, which causes them to crack.

In a more general sense, pressure is what can move the concrete slab, even if you’re not living in an earthquake-prone area. The pressure causes the soil to shift, which in turn causes the concrete foundation to move slightly.

Abrasion is also something that causes slab leaks. Since your pipes come into contact with cement, natural vibrations can cause wear and tear on the line, which further develops into a pinhole leak.

Signs That You Have a Slab Leak

Slab leaks occur primarily underneath your home, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways for you to find out.

If you notice water coming up under your floor, touch it to determine the temperature. If you feel it’s hot despite the absence of radiant heat, that’s a slab leak. Aside from that, a moldy odor is also something that comes with slab leaks.

Your ears can also be used to detect slab leaks. If you hear running water from under the floor, even if your home’s plumbing fixtures are closed, then it’s a slab leak.

If all else fails, you can always take a look at your water bill. If the water bill suddenly goes up, then it’s a leak.

Getting Professional Help

Even if you can detect slab leaks on your own, chances are you’re not well-equipped to deal with them, but a knowledgeable plumber has to be called in to get it repaired.

Plumbers make use of special equipment to deal with slab leaks, such as a ground mic. As the name suggests, it picks up sounds from leaks whenever water goes through a pipe. Aside from that, they also use a smaller video camera that can reveal pinhole leaks in the line.

Plumbers typically make use of different approaches depending on the circumstances surrounding the slab leak. The most common method is to repair or replace only the affected area because it’s the most practical solution.

For older pipes, they’re usually beyond repair. A repair job on a pipe might result in further leaks, so they just reroute the pipe instead.

For entire pipe systems that are slowly deteriorating, re-piping is done by the plumber. It’s a pretty big hassle because it often requires cutting into the floor to reach the slab leak to apply repairs.

Plumbers may also present trenchless pipe repair as a solution. It allows the plumber to create access holes at each end of the affected pipe. A new liner is pressed through it, which covers and seals the leak.


Slab leaks are one of the plumbing problems that are significantly harder to fix. You can detect them on your own, but the best way to repair them is to call a plumber—they have the knowledge and expertise to repair slab leaks, ensuring that the problem does not escalate. 

Your plumbing fixtures at home must not have any problems to keep things running smoothly. However, your best bet is to hire a plumber who has the expertise and knowledge to fix it if you end up dealing with plumbing problems. 

Candu Plumbing has an elite team of plumbers in San Fernando Valley, and we believe that our clients deserve the best, which is why we do our best to fix your plumbing problems at the core. Contact us today to learn more!

Jeremy Parker

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