Water is your property's enemy. A slab leak is a situation where worn pipes break and flood the slab, or the foundation, of the property. Sorry to say, but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to slab leaks. Other kinds of damage can occur even before the actual pipes break, and still other destruction can ensue if the problem is not thoroughly addressed. These other problems include not only very sizable water losses, but wasted electricity used to heat water, serious cracks in the perimeter foundation, gaps in the slab itself and very significantly, mold and of course angry tenants. No one wants any of these things happening to his or her property. Worse yet, insurance companies are now excluding water damage and mold claims from their policies.
Slab leaks are a sure indicator that pipes are worn out to a very serious degree. One can be certain that where there is one leak, there will two leaks. Or more. When I get a call about a slab leak, I usually check the hot water recirculating lines first, as very often these are the cause of all the commotion. If I do not find the problem there, I check the hot water supply lines. These are the two most common starting places for water leaks. Finally, if no detectable breakage or degeneration of the recirculating or supply lines is found, I check the cold water lines. It is very often quite difficult to find the actual problem, even utilizing professional leak detection services, due to the reinforced concrete used in construction, pooling water, and rocky debris in the soil.
The good news is that slab leaks and the damage they bring about can be avoided. If your property is over forty years old, you might consider taking a proactive stance to avoid this problem by re-routing the pipes to the exterior of the building. Cal-Prop provides complete service from re-routing the pipes to the new drywall to the finish painting.
Heat and water velocity are the major factors contributing to pipe leaks. The pipes in older buildings is often undersized for the demand placed upon it. The high degree of demand on these pipes increases the water velocity, which increases the frictional wear on the pipe. In addition, the recirculating pump is frequently too large and moves the water too fast. In plumbing contractor speak, as the water velocity doubles, the frictional coefficient increases 4x. Adding insult to injury, there are other stresses on the outside of the pipe, such as acidic soil, rocky backfill and concrete abrasion.