Locating and Fixing Leaks Under your Allen TX Home
Many of our customers were not even aware that there was a leak from a broken water pipe running under the foundation until it had caused significant damage. Carpets were wet in a few rooms with no apparent cause. Most of the time, we get called out to repair leaks in pipes that are easily accessible.
- Toilet leaks.
- Leaky pipes by the bathroom of kitchen sinks.
- Washing machine shutoff valves
These are relatively easy to fix and sometimes one with decent handyman skills could repair them without calling a plumber that services the city of Allen.
However, the hardest leak to detect and fix is one that occurs underneath the slab (your home’s foundation). This article will explain the causes of a slab leak, how it’s fixed and how much it will cost to repair.
Causes of Slab Leaks
The “slab” is a common term used for the concrete foundation on which your house is built.
Because homes in the north Texas area are built on soil with high clay content, during periods of heavy rain, the soil will expand, and during the hot and summer months, the soil will shrink.
This constant friction between the concrete and the water supply lines will eventually cause holes in the pipes, causing water to leak out into the soil below your home. In Texas, it’s not *if* your home will develop a leak under the foundation, it’s *when*.
Living in Texas can be hot. Owning a home is full of responsibilities you may not realize. Taking care of your landscape and everything below is important. You can help minimize the soil expansion & contraction by using inexpensive soaker hoses during dry and hot weather.
How can I tell if there’s a Leaking Pipe under the Foundation?
One way to tell if you have a leak is if you happen to hear running water in areas of your home that do not have any appliances that require plumbing; i.e. dishwasher, washer, etc. In addition, if you hear the sound of running water, and you have checked that all faucets are turned off and toilets are not running, then it’s time to call in a plumber. Leaks can come from may places – for example under your home, within the walls, from hot water heaters or outside spigots.
Usually the tell-tale sign of damp flooring away from walls is an indicator that there is a leak under the floor. If you see damp or wet patches near walls, that could signal leaks from pipes located within the walls or from bathroom or kitchen faucets.
Pressure on a pipe can come from both inside or outside. Excessive pressure can accelerate the bursting of a pipe, especially if some of the joints are substandard. A good plumber, such as Staggs Plumbing, can assess the health of your water lines in your house. The city of Allen maintains a pretty solid water delivery system, however the growth we’ve experienced over the years requires more water pressure in order to deliver enough water to your neighbors. If the pressure coming into your home is too great, it will add additional stress to your supply pipes. Extra water pressure can cause a premature loss of integrity of your plumbing system, either above or below the house foundation.
Slab leaks are not a cheap repair. A sign indicating a potential sewer line leak is a raised section of the floor or foul odors near the floor. Since slab leaks are not visible inside the home, it is of the utmost importance that you understand the proper warning signs.
Most slab leaks happen because of the age of the homes. On average, homes that are 25 years or older are more likely to have a slab leak than newer homes. Time is an inevitable detriment, especially with things that are used on a daily basis.
Friction between slab and pipe is one of the most common causes of pipe leaks in slab foundations in Allen homes. This happens because a home’s concrete foundation is built to encase the plumbing lines. Over time, depending on the craftsmanship of your home, this could cause problems with cast iron piping.
The Repair Process
Many homeowner insurance policies will cover the cost to locate a slab leak once your deductible is met. Check with your insurance agent. They normally do not pay for the cost to repair the leak. This is an important detail to discuss when setting up your home owners insurance.
Cast Iron Piping should be replaced completely because of the damages these pipes cause. Iron sewer lines were popular in Allen homes built prior to the 1970’s and are more prone to breaking due to weakness caused by corrosion. One sign of failing iron pipes is the need to call a plumber out every half year or so to clear your pipes. Clearing the pipes removes all the rust flakes that have built up and were causing your pipes to fail.
Even a modest home can have more than meets the eye. A 2,000 sq. ft. home typically uses 300 linear feet of pipe under the foundation. So if your home is built on pier and beam, it may seem tempting to replace only a section. However it is highly unlikely you can find a plumber to warranty their work for these types of repairs.
You would not want to risk another leak, especially another leak in the same section. Hiring a licensed professional is the only option. Fixing a leak in the pipe under the slab can be done by digging through the concrete slab or by digging tunnels under the foundation itself.
The majority of the expense for this type of repair comes from locating the actual source of the leak. Most insurance companies will cover the cost to locate the leak, which includes either tunneling under the home or jack-hammering from inside the house. Staggs Plumbing prefers to dig a tunnel under your house in order to minimize the disruption to your family.
Check with your insurance agent to see what is covered. You are normally required to pay for the actual pipe fix, which typically runs between $200 and $500. On top of that, you will have to pay your insurance deductible.
If there is damage to your flooring, the insurance can also pay to get it replaced. All insurance policies are different, so please treat this as an educational guide of what to expect during this process.
How long does it take to repair a slab leak?
We use advanced listening devices while inside of your home to detect the origin of the leak (or leaks). This takes perhaps an hour or so.
If we choose to jack-hammer through the floor, this can take a few hours to expose the broken pipe. The repair is normally pretty quick, 30 minutes to one hour.
If we dig tunnels (our preferred method), this can take an entire day, maybe more if you have a large house or if the soil is particularly hard or rocky.
Once everything is repaired, we’ve re-pressurized the lines and once everything has been tested, we’ll fill the holes back in and clean up our work area.
Staggs Plumbing has been repairing slab leaks in the Allen area for over 20 years. We’re constantly ranked #1 in customer satisfaction because we have years of experience and are trusted and recommended by your neighbors.
When choosing a plumber in Allen, be sure to check the reviews and references before calling them out.