Under Slab Repair: When Do You Know It’s Needed?

Under Slab Repair

An under slab repair might sound like a complicated problem, but it doesn’t have to be.  Is your home built on a concrete slab foundation? If you live in the greater New Orleans area, the answer is probably yes! A concrete slab is anything from about two inches to about 10 inches of concrete. Your water and sewage pipes are either situated in and or below this slab.

If something goes awry with an under the slab sewage or water line, it’s a bit different from repairing a simple underground pipe. You may have a harder time identifying the problem, because unlike a regular leaky pipe, you are not likely to see the effects of the leak coming directly from the pipe or the outside of your home as you might expect.

Fortunately, repairing the lines isn’t very difficult, but discovering and gaining access to the problem is an entirely different problem that requires a specific course of action.

How do you know if you have broken plumbing under the slab?

Some tell tale signs that that you have broken plumbing under your concrete slab include:

  • A wet spot on your floor
  • An otherwise unexplainable increase in your water bill
  • Mold or mildew beginning to form in a particular area
  • A warm spot radiating from your floor can indicate a hot water leak
  • Cracked foundations
  • A doming area forming in your floor or outside your home – the appearance of soil receding or looking like its been “washed away” from your foundation from no other reason that is visible or apparent ( i.e. weather etc.) could indicate that it is a sewage leak in particular.

It’s extra important to be aware of these signs, as unlike water leaks, problems in sewage lines tend to go undetected for longer where as, a water leak is a little easier to pin-point – but the longer living under slab sewage problems can cause more damage.  All of these tell- tale signs indicate the potential need for an under slab repair.

So what do you do?

Experienced plumbers use specific under slab repair detection gear to adequately identify the source of the problem. This gear can also include high-tech listening devices that help to locate the source of the leak. These devices pump air into the pipes and listen for air escaping.

Once the problem has been identified, then one can determine the next course of action. This typically involves drilling through or tearing up the concrete – but of course you would want this incision to be as small as necessary for the repair. If you have a potential under slab plumbing issue, it is important to call a plumber that specializes in properly identifying and making these repairs. Otherwise you miss the crucial first assessment step and will need to call another plumber with the proper equipment.

The repair work is usually quite simple once an experienced plumber isolates and reaches the problem area. But as you can see the art of the deed is in the expedient and accurate identification of the source.

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