The slab leak problem and how to identify it

Home / The slab leak problem and how to identify it


A slab leak is often not on many peoples’ radar, and hence it goes unnoticed for a long time. Many people are also not aware of the symptoms of a slab leak, and hence are unable to spot it in time. But this can be a costly mistake. We shall discuss what a slab leak is, how to spot it and how severe of a problem it is.

A slab leak, simply put, is a leak below the concrete foundation slab of your house. This is more applicable for homes that do not have a basement and are instead built on top of a concrete foundation slab. This leak can occur in any kind of pipes such as water supply, hot water or sewer pipes. Since the pipes run below the slab and not usually visible, a slab leak often goes unnoticed. But it is a serious problem and you must be aware of the symptoms that may suggest that your plumbing may have a slab leak. Here are some signs that may suggest that you may have a slab leak:

  • Damp, soggy or wet floor – If your floor or carpet is repeatedly getting wet and soggy, and you cannot seem to narrow down the source of the moisture, then it may be a sign of a slab leak. It may be seen as damp concrete floors, water seeping from between flooring tiles, soggy carpets or wooden flooring warped due to moisture.
  • Low water pressure in faucets – If you notice low water pressure in faucets or taps due to so unknown reason, then it may be a sign of a leak. One common way to identify whether or not the reduced pressure is due to a leak or not is to check for differences in pressure of hot and cold water. If one of them has dropped recently, then it is likely that the problem is a leak and not the utility company reducing supply pressure.
  • Hot patches of flooring – If you notice that some patches of your flooring are unusually hot and you cannot find the source of the heat, then it is very likely that there is a leaking hot water pipe below that patch of floor.
  • Sudden spikes in water bill – If your water bills suddenly rise despite normal usage, then it may be a sign of the leak. While your water bills may not provide information about where exactly the leak is, you should consider the probability of a slab leak nonetheless. If you don’t see a leak in the visible pipes, then obviously a concealed or underground pipe is leaking.
  • Mold on the floor and walls – The leaked water can seep into concrete floors and dry walls, these making them an excellent breeding place for molds and fungi. Thus signs of molds on concrete floors or drywalls may indicate a slab leak.
  • Damp smell or other odors – The fungi and molds on your wall will cause a characteristic moldy smell in your house. Also, if the leaking pipe is a sewer pipe, you will be able to smell the waste that is leaking out of it. Thus such smells can be a strong indicator of slab leaks.
  • Puddles on the yard – If the leak is near the edge of the concrete slab, or under the yard, then the water will seep into the soil and create muddy puddles above the leak. If you notice puddles in your yard with no apparent source of water then it is a strong indicator that there is a leaking pipe underneath them.
  • Cracks in concrete flooring – Constant moisture can lead to cracks in concrete slabs. If you spot any cracks in your concrete flooring or slab, then you must check for a slab leak.
  • Leaking pipe sounds – Sometimes the pipe may be damaged in such a way that the water gushing out may create a characteristic gushing water sound. If your pipes are laid inside a covering or a wrapping, then you may hear a dripping or flowing sound. You can try to hear these sounds carefully by closing all appliances, closing all taps and placing your ear to the floor or the wall. A slab leak may be indicated by any characteristic water sounds.

A slab leak, if left unattended, can cause a lot of damage. The constant moisture can cause cracks in concrete and weaken the foundation of your house. This damage can be quite expensive to repair and is not covered by insurance, since the owners are expected to have their plumbing regularly inspected. Excessive leakage can erode away the soil below your house can create the risk of a sinkhole. The molds resulting from damp walls and flooring can seriously deteriorate the air quality inside your house, and pose risk to anyone suffering from allergies. Besides, having to pay for the water you are not using is not great at all.

Thus, if you have any suspicion of a slab leak, you should not take it lightly and immediately call a professional plumber to have it inspected. We at Kwik Plumbers offer various sophisticated inspection methods such as video pipe inspection and solutions for fixing any leaks without damaging your foundation slabs. So call us today if you see any signs of a slab leak.



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