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A Homeowner's Guide to Slab Leaks, Part Two

Last week, we talked about certain things that you, as a homeowner, should be aware of as signs of a potential slab leak in your home. Today, we’re going to walk you through what happens once you call in your plumber. How does a residential plumber confirm that a slab leak is indeed the issue, and what does the repair process look like? Is there a better or less expensive way to take care of this homeowner’s nightmare? Read on to learn more about our recommended best practices for this issue.

Under Pressure

The first step is to make sure that the warning signs you’ve noticed are the result of a slab leak. An experienced plumber will be well-versed in ways to confirm this without digging into your floors. One good method for this is hydrostatic pressure testing. This involves inserting an inflatable ball into your home’s main sewer line to block it, then filling the sewer system with water. Your plumber will observe the water level for up to fifteen minutes — if it won’t fill to the slab line or if the water levels drop, there’s a leak in the sewer line.

Ready for Your Closeup

After the leak has been detected, its exact location needs to be determined. A camera inspection comes in handy at this point. Your plumber inserts an infrared camera into the sewer system to pinpoint exactly where the leak is occurring. Pressure tests and camera inspections are inexpensive, noninvasive ways to isolate the nature and exact location of a leak. Once this process is complete, your residential plumber will decide on the best plan of attack.

Reroute, Repipe, Repair

If your plumber immediately recommends jack-hammering into the foundation to fix the leak, politely decline and call the next person on your list. This is not only the most expensive possible solution, it’s also the messiest and the one which will inconvenience you the most. Find a plumber who will take time to discuss the various repair options and decide on one that will not only be cost effective now but also save you money on more repairs down the road. Rerouting or repiping are usually the preferred methods, depending on how extensive the leak currently is. Rerouting, an ideal fix if only a small amount of pipe is affected, basically means eliminating the existing, leaking line and running new pipe through a wall or ceiling instead.

If multiple leaks exist, your home probably needs repiping. This is a more costly and extensive solution, but it is also a more permanent fix. Your plumber will install a brand new, more durable system to eliminate any future problems. Obviously, this is a big project, so find a plumber you trust and make sure you understand why this is the recommended solution.

Choose Wisely

A slab leak ranks high on a homeowner’s list of headaches, but with a dependable, experienced plumber on your side, you can face down the problem and secure your system with as little trouble as possible. Trust your plumber to diagnose and repair the problem with the least invasive and least expensive methods available.