When a local hotel received reports of signs of a water leak from one of their guests, they contacted Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. for emergency plumbing repair right away. After sealing off the room, we got to work fast to locate and fix the leak. The hotel’s plumbing was redone several years ago with copper piping in and under the concrete foundation, which meant if the leak went unchecked, the pipe leak could cause water damage to the walls and floors, but also undermine the foundation.
The first thing we tried was an infrared detector used for slab leak detection to locate hot spots due to leaks in hot water lines. Due to the site conditions and temperatures in play, this didn’t tell us much we couldn’t see at a glance and wasn’t much help in getting the leak located. Since the infrared didn’t indicate any leaks occurring in the hot water lines, we moved to a listening device similar to a stethoscope to see if we could identify the leaking water pipe that way. However, there was too much ambient noise for the device to pinpoint the leak, even though damp spots on the floor and up the wall strongly indicated a leak had to be there. Finally, we used a line locator to trace the water lines and determine where to cut the underlying concrete based on the locates.
We found the problem line, close to but not quite where we expected. Once we opened up the area and were able to visually inspect the lines, we were able to trace the leak back to a cold line under the bathtub in the adjoining guest room. This meant we had to cut out more concrete and part of the wall to make the leak repair. During excavation, we also found a second failed drain line, which was causing running water to leak under the slab foundations.
Once a leak has reached this point, there’s not much we can do but shut off the water and wait for the area to dry back so we can dig out the area without risking further damage to the slab, foundation, or the subgrade beneath. In the meantime, we worked with the management and ownership of the hotel to find an acceptable solution. People often underestimate the damage even a small water leak can do to concrete slabs over time or the danger it can pose to gas lines, indoor air quality, and the habitability of your home or business. This means damage to your home’s foundation. On a commercial plumbing scale, the damage can be even worse, making it even more important to get qualified slab leak repair from a master plumber if you have a leak occurring.
Once the soil had dried out enough to be workable, we were able to replace the compromised water lines with undamaged sections. We then recompacted the dirt around the lines, replaced the concrete, and redid the section of the wall we’d had to remove for the repair. In fairness, that section would have had to come out anyway because of the extensive water damage. We’re pleased to say that the hotel’s management was highly satisfied with the work Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. was able to provide, and we managed to keep the slab leak repair costs lower than they expected.
Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. proudly serves the Mooresville and greater Charlotte metro area with plumbing solutions including:
- Drain Cleaning/Hydro Jetting
- Garbage disposal installation and repairs
- Maintenance for gas and electric conventional water heaters
- Sewer line repairs and inspection
- Tankless water heater installation, repair, replacement, and retrofitting
- Water filtration systems
- Water heater repairs, inspections, and installation
- Water leak detection
- Water pipe inspection, repair, and replacement
- Water treatment solutions
- And much more!
To learn more about slab leak repair and why it’s so important, keep reading for our slab leak FAQs. If you notice signs of water leaks in your home or business, like you hear the sound of running water when you don’t have any taps on, notice a loss of water pressure, a warm spot, or damp spots on the floors and walls you can’t explain or your water bills suddenly higher than it should be, click here to contact your friends at Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. and get your commercial or residential plumbing issue fixed right the first time, every time!
Frequently Asked Questions About Slab Leak Repair
Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. is your source for plumbing solutions with honest answers and straight talk about plumbing systems and everything you need to know about plumbing repairs!
Question: Are slab leaks worse than a regular leaking water pipe? –Genessa, Charlotte, NC
Answer: There are many types of leaks, and none of them are good. A “regular” water leak can lead to black mold, water damage to walls, floors, and ceiling in the area the leak is occurring and make your home or office an unsafe, unhealthy, and generally unpleasant place to be. But yes, water slab leaks can be among the worst, especially if they’ve been allowed to go unrepaired or unnoticed for a long time. When you have water leaking into and through the slab on the grade of your home or business, the water will eventually wash away the soil beneath the grade. In time, this could lead to problems with your sewer lines or even crack the foundation of the structure, causing even more damage to the structure and likely health problems for those living there. This in turn means an even more expensive repair bill, assuming the damage hasn’t continued to a point where you need a complete restoration. If you hear water running when you shouldn’t, even small drips from leaking faucets or other fixtures, you should contact a plumber like Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. immediately to keep a small leak from becoming a big headache down the road!
Question: What are some common causes and symptoms of a water slab leak? –Vincent, Mooresville, NC
Answer: At its most basic, a water leak occurs when a component in your plumbing system is broken, worn out, incorrectly installed, or improperly maintained. This means water drains from the compromised area rather than either from a faucet or fixture or through the lines like it’s supposed to. Water is a fluid, which means it always seeks the lowest possible point it can find. In most buildings, that means the foundation slab. If the slab is intact, damage to floors, walls, and ceilings as the water makes its way downward are certain, but the slab should stop it going any further—for a while. But if there’s a vulnerable stress point or the slab is cracked or broken, you have a much larger problem because these leaks will eventually tunnel through the concrete. Over time, the slab leaks and the cracks they infiltrate will become larger because of time, water pressure, and the forces of freezing, thawing, and erosion. If they become bad enough, they could cause a portion of the foundation to collapse because the soil beneath has been so thoroughly undermined that it can no longer support the slab. If you see wet spots where there shouldn’t be any, or you’ve had water leaks recently, especially if you’ve had substantial damage to your flooring or walls, these are warning signs that you should have your foundation slab checked just to be on the safe side. This will help to keep water out and keep your slab from being undermined later.
Question: My water bill seems higher than it should be, and I’m wondering if I should be concerned about a possible leak? –Mindy, Gastonia, NC
Answer: A high water bill may be an early warning sign of a plumbing issue, or it may be nothing at all. If your bill seems high, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you or have you had extra people staying with you? More people in your home means more water used, especially if they’ve been there for over a week, and your bill will probably come back into line with your expectations on the next one.
- Is it a time of year when you typically use more water for gardening, car washing or outdoor recreation such as running through sprinklers or filling up your pool? Spring, summer, and early fall tend to be prime times for higher water consumption, and it’s easy to lose track of just how much water you’re using during these peak periods. In addition, your local water utility may hike their rates during these times, and a few cents here and there can add up to big money quickly!
- Have you noticed any indications of a water leak or a plumbing problem in general, like inexplicable water puddles located on your floors or hard water when you have a water softener? These are often early warning signs of a plumbing problem that needs attention, fast! Evidence of a plumbing leak plus a water bill outside the norm means all that water is going somewhere—and that could very easily mean it is running into the foundation slab of your home. In this situation, you should absolutely call a plumber immediately.
In the other cases, if your bill falls back into ordinary levels, you’re probably okay. Still, if you’re not absolutely sure, it’s always best to call a professional plumber like Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. rather than just hope the problem will go away on its own. The longer you wait, the worse any problem will get, and the harder and more expensive it will be to fix.
Question: I have a little water pooling up in my basement. Should I be worried about a slab leak? –Tony, Mint Hill, NC
Answer: Anytime you see standing water where standing water shouldn’t be inside your home, you should definitely be concerned because it takes surprisingly little water to make a major problem that could easily end up damaging your home. The first step, and it’s important, is to check the temperature of the water. Does it feel warm or cold? If it’s warm, this suggests it’s coming from your hot water heater or your hot water lines. If it’s cold, it could be something else. Be sure to check the ceiling in the basement at this point, because the location and orientation of a wet spot on the ceiling can give you an idea of where to start looking for the source of the leak. Try to identify where the leak is coming from if you can. If you have an air conditioner in the attic, you should start there because water always seeks out its lowest level. If you don’t find anything there, you should next check your water heaters enclosure for signs of leakage. After this, you should check your sinks and baths for indications of leakage. Be sure to check low, on the floors and walls near the plumbing fixtures, for indications of water damage such as dampness or a musty odor. If you can identify the problem area, it will help save the plumber who shows up to fix the situation a lot of time and help keep your repair bill lower.
Question: Does homeowners’ insurance cover water damage from a slab leak? –Bob, Hickory, NC
Answer: In many cases, yes. It’s important if you suspect you have a slab leak or any other plumbing problem to double-check your policy and make you sure have a complete understanding of what is and isn’t covered, and what action you need to take. Most homeowners’ insurance policies require you to contact a certified, licensed, bonded plumber like Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc.. If you try to tackle the problem yourself, and it gets worse later, not only will the plumber know, but a plumber is generally required to make their own report directly to the insurance company which includes this information. The insurance industry has never been a big fan of having to write checks, and we’ve seen many a homeowner hit with sticker shock when they realized they were on the hook for the entire bill, to the tune of hundreds or thousands of dollars because someone else had to repair what they “fixed”—and the insurance carrier refused to pay up. This whole problem can be easily avoided by just calling a professional plumber at the start, so don’t take chances or gamble your family’s health, safety, and financial future on your plumbing skills!
Question: All the water leak FAQs I’ve read say to call a plumber if I notice a leak. Is this just a sneaky way to drum up business? –Tanisha, Denver, NC
Answer: Any plumbing blog worth its web domain is going to tell you to call a plumber instead of trying to fix the problem yourself. This is for the same reason most mechanics will tell you not to try to repair your car’s transmission on your own, and most doctors prefer you leave the diagnosis to them. If you see or suspect a leak, you might be tempted to try to fix it yourself and save a few bucks. But if you’ve ever seen the results of a DIY “Mr. Fix-It,” you’ve probably noticed there’s a big difference between the work of a weekend wrench warrior and a professional plumber. Plumbers are specially trained, certified professionals who understand how your home’s plumbing systems are designed and built, and how to repair them without causing a bigger problem. They have the experience, skills, and knowledge to repair everything from minor leaks to major plumbing issues such as a gas leak or slab leak quickly, easily, and most importantly safely! Also, if you try to fix the problem yourself, and fail, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover subsequent damages or losses caused by the problem.
Question: How much does a slab leak repair cost? – Jayson, Davidson, NC
Answer: Understanding that every slab damage situation is a little different, slab leak repair could run anywhere between several hundred dollars and five digits, depending on the type, size, and severity of the damage. Generally speaking, the earlier you get a qualified, licensed plumber onsite to assess the damage and find out how bad it is, the less expensive it will be to get fixed. However, even if you find yourself facing the possibility of a bill over $10,000, considering how much you paid for your home, office, or industrial development, and taking into account how much worse the damage can get if the problem isn’t addressed quickly, that’s not so bad. At Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc., we understand no one wants to have to deal with a situation like that, and we do everything we can to help, from working with your homeowners’ insurance carrier to convince them that they do actually want and need to cover the repairs to moving fast to correct the underlying issue that led to the problem. A slab leak is definitely not a situation where you want to cut corners, because shoddy repairs can leave you worse off than if you had no repairs at all. Ultimate Plumbing & Repair Inc. is always prepared to bring only our best effort to every job, every time, so you can feel confident in the work we’ve done and that whatever money you had to pay was money well spent.
If you have a slab leak or any other plumbing issues, you should always treat the situation like a plumbing emergency. For fast, friendly, efficient 24/7 service, call (704) 892-5843 or click here to contact us!