Monday, August 30, 2010

Water standing in the yard can be a sign of a SLAB LEAK

If you have decided that watering your grass in the summer is not for you, your grass may brown, and may not grow as fast.  Not always a bad thing.  If, however, one day you notice that your grass is greener than it was the day before, there has been no rain, and you do not suspect someone is sneaking onto your yard while you are at work and watering the grass for you.  You may have a leak under your slab.  Once a pipe breaks under your slab, the water sprays out all day and all night.  You may not notice a drop in water pressure.  You may not hear any noise in your home.  Simply green grass can be the first sign of a leak under your slab.  By checking your water meter, you can tell if you should call someone to get even more information.  If you are not comfortable taking the lid off of you water meter, cal the water company.  They don't want you wasting water any more than you want to waste it.  They won't help you find the problem, most likely, but that will be able to tell you if the meter is running non-stop.  If it is, and you don't think you are using any water, check toilets, sinks, hose bibs, and ice makers.  No leaks on any of those?  Try turning off the water at a shut off inside your home.  Don't know where it is?  You should in case of an emergency.  Shut it off, and take another look at the meter.  If it is spinning with the valve shut off, your leak is likely on the service line into your home.  If the meter stops, then the leak is likely on a water supply line to a fixture or appliance in your home.  In either case, call company that specializes in slab leaks.  Make sure they do a lot of them, and are confident they can do them well.  Almost all plumbers want to do the work, but one the specializes in slabs will be the most accurate, can make the smallest hole in your home, and can keep the price down because they are not worried about breaking 2 or 3 holes when they can't find the leak the firsts time.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

What is a slab leak? I got a high water bill. Could I have a plumbing leak I don't know about?

So you opened your mail, and got the water bill is much higher than it is supposed to be.  You have called the water company hoping it was a mistake, but they said it is not.  Perhaps they send someone out to make sure the meter is working properly, but it is.  You have not seen any sign of water around your house.  You have not wasted three times your normal water usage filling the pool over and over again or watering your lawn non-stop, so what is happening?  Check the toilets and sinks in your house, and if you can't find another cause for the increase, you may have a water leak.  If the water company comes out, they will look at your meter, and they may tell you that a leak indicator on the top of the meter may be spinning away.  this is a classic indication of a water leak and often a slab leak.  There are several different type of slab leaks.  The service line of your home runs from the water meter to the shut-off valve in your house.  If you close the shut off valve in your house, the leak indicator on top of the water meter will continue to spin.  If you have a leak in your home between the shut-off valve and and of the water fixtures in your house, when you close the shut-off valve, the leak indicator will stop also.  If the leak is on the service line, there is still a chance, even if you don't see water in your yard, that the leak on the line could be outside of your slab.  This is most likely in climates where freezing is an issue as service lines are often required to be 36-48 inches under ground, and that depth can allow even significant water loss to dissipate before reaching the surface.  In areas where freezing is not a concern, lines are often run much closer to the surface, and leaks on the service line outside of your slab are more readily apparent.  Never fear!!  Once you realize that you have a leak, you know what the problem is and can get started on the path to getting it fixed.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is a water slab leak?

Water is relentless.  Rivers formed the Grand Canyon and glaciers flattened the United States to create farmland throughout the heartland of America.  The same forces of flowing and freezing water can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home.  Slab leaks can happen to any home on a slab foundation.  No matter the age of your home, no matter where you live.  Just because it does not freeze where you live, you may still have leaks beneath your slab.  California and Texas have some of the highest rates of slab leaks in the country, and deep freezes are few and far between.  For the rest of us, we can still have slab leaks, and then we must worry about freezing and thawing to boot.  As a slab leak detection and repair specialist, we have found that, surprisingly, most slab leaks on the pressure side of the plumbing happen in newer homes, built in the last 20 years.  Slab leaks on the drainage side of the plumbing happen in older homes, where the metal drainage pipes have simply worn away. 

Slab leaks can occur on the service line of your home from the water meter to the shut off valve in your home.  They can occur on a cold water supply line to any plumbing fixture in a home, or they can occur on the hot water line to any fixture using hot water.  They can occur on any drain line from any sink, toilet, shower, or washing machine.

Leaks on the pressure side of the plumbing can often be discovered before they cause a great deal of damage.  High water bills, noise, or wet spots in your yards can be signs of a slab leak on the pressure side of your plumbing.  These leaks are often found before too much time has passed, but they can also cause damage to a lot of your home.  The pressure of the water fills up the space beneath your slab and inside you foundation.  If it cannot escape through the foundation, it can find its way up through small hairline cracks in your slab and can flood your home! 

Leaks on the drainage side can be much more hidden and are harder to diagnose.  They can leak for years without any outward sign of leakage.  Think of all the nasty gray water hanging out under your slab, sloly wetting the soil, and then the soil dries, then wetting it, and then it dries.  Over time, your foundation can feel the effects.  These leaks can cause your foundation to buckle and can cause a good deal of smelliness if you have a crack in your slab.  Drainage pipe should be checked every so often just to make sure you don't have a problem. 

Of course if you may have a leak, call in a professional who can fix it right, not a kid with a sledgehammer who wants to make a mess in your home and may get lucky and find a leak.  Most leak detection companies, and some plumbers can find your leaks accurate to within a couple of inches; no matter what kind of slab leak, no matter where it hides.