Knowing what a slab leak looks like is an important skill for homeowners with a slab foundation for their homes. While slab foundations aren’t the norm for most homes built today, it’s not an uncommon thing to encounter as a homeowner.
If your property is built on a slab, that means your home’s plumbing is likely embedded in or underneath that concrete foundation. This makes plumbing access incredibly difficult and can make leaks challenging to detect.
Not sure what the warning signs of a slab leak look like? You’re not alone — leaks can be difficult to detect unless there is significant damage, but even hard-to-see leaks can cause damage and compromise the structural integrity of your entire home. Read on to learn some slab leak signs to help you keep your home safe.
What Does a Slab Leak Look Like?
The signs of a slab leak can manifest in different ways. Here are six different descriptions of what a slab leak can look like.
1. You Have an Unusual Spike in Your Water Bill
Keep an eye on your water bill throughout the year so you know what amount is normal for you to spend. If you come upon a water bill with an unusual, unexplainable spike in usage, this could be an indicator that there’s a plumbing leak somewhere in your home.
If you have a slab leak, that means you have water leaking 24 hours a day, which is going to be noticeable on your water bill. While the size of the water increase varies depending on the size of the leak, keeping a careful eye on your water bill can help you catch a leak. This is one of the most common slab leak signs.
There’s a Drop in Water Pressure
Another warning sign of a slab leak is a drop in water pressure throughout the home. Check your faucets and showers for pressure changes. If you have a slab leak, there is less water running through your pipes due to the active leak.
Floor Shows Signs of Water Damage
Keep an eye on the lowest floor of your home. If the leak is severe enough, you will see clear water damage to the flooring. For carpeted floors, this could mean damp, sodden spots that are dark in appearance. For hard floors — such as hardwood, linoleum, or laminate — you might notice some buckled, warped areas.
Strong Smells of Mold or Mildew
Smelling mold and mildew are some of the clearest signs that there’s water damage present. If water is leaking under your home, moisture can become trapped underneath your floor. Mold and mildew thrive in this type of environment and can create an unpleasant, musty smell.
Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can be potentially dangerous since mold spores can spread on your walls and into your home, presenting a health risk. If you notice mold or mildew smells, get your home checked for slab leak signs or water infiltration so the leak can be repaired immediately.
You Hear Running Water Under Your Floor
If you want to check for a slab leak, try turning off every source of water in your home. That includes faucets, showers, the dishwasher, and the washing machine. Then head to the bottom level of your home and listen carefully for any running water. If you hear water rushing under your floor, this is a clear sign that you have a slab leak.
There Are Pools of Water
In cases of a severe slab leak, you may notice pools of water forming. These can be either inside or outside your home. If you notice pools of water in or around your home when it’s not raining, investigate the issue at once. Check for other signs of standing water or water damage that could indicate that a slab leak is present.
How Do I Know if I Have a Slab Leak?
Learning all the unique warning signs of a slab leak is one of the best ways to know if you have one, but you can also use your home’s water meter to test for plumbing leaks under your slab foundation. Start by turning off all your plumbing appliances and fixtures. Once this is complete, watch your water meter for at least 15 minutes. It will clearly show if water is being used during this timeframe.
If you notice that there is water usage when all your appliances and fixtures are turned off, this is an indicator that there is a leak somewhere in your home. In this scenario, call in a professional at once to investigate the issue and determine the location of your slab leak.
Work With a Plumber You Can Trust
A slab leak is nothing to mess around with. If you’re clear on the warning signs of a slab leak and are worried you may have one, contact John C. Flood's plumbing professionals.
We’ll get the issue resolved swiftly and safely. Ignoring leaks like this can cause catastrophic and costly damage to your home, so don’t hesitate — schedule your service visit today!