Slab leaks: they’re a big deal and a costly problem if left unresolved. But what are they exactly? At their most basic, slab leaks occur when water lines beneath the concrete slab your home stands upon leak—a far more complicated problem to address than pinhole leaks, which occur when pipes above the concrete slab leak.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
Ground Shift: As the years pass, the massive weight of your home takes a toll on the concrete slab and the earth it was built upon. This eventually leads to settling and ground shift, and if the shift is significant enough, it will put pressure on your water lines. This pressure ultimately leads to cracking and leaks. Natural disasters like earthquakes can have the same effect—except the process takes minutes rather than years.
Nicked Line: Sometimes water lines suffer damage during installation or while workers lay the concrete slab. While that damage might not be significant enough to cause leaking during initial inspections, normal wear and tear over time can erode a small nick until it becomes a leaky crack.
Electrolysis: Chemistry at work! Electrolysis occurs when the copper in your pipes interacts with minerals in the soil beneath your home. This can cause a subtle electrical reaction that over time erodes your pipes until they leak.
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