You may have noticed some wet areas in your flooring. In general, this is a common sign that you have a plumbing leak under the foundation of your home. However, this is not the only sign that you may have a problem. You may have also noticed an increase in your water bill. Another sign may be the detection of a foul odor in one or more parts of your home. There is only one way to know for sure whether you have plumbing issues and to what extent: you need to call in a plumbing expert to do an inspection.
When the plumbing expert has finished the inspection and has found that there is a problem with your freshwater pipes, you may wonder if this means you will need to dig up the foundation of your home to do a water line replacement. Although this might be necessary in some cases, the expert may give you a few other repair options to consider, depending on your specific situation. Because some repair methods can be labor-intensive and expensive and not always necessary, it’s best to educate yourself on water line repair and replacement before approaching a professional. Once you find the right contractor for the job, he will test the pipes to determine how extensive the problems are.
How Bad Is the Problem?
There are two ways to test for leaks without disturbing your foundation. The first method is to just look at the water meter. The meter has a triangle, also known as flow indicator, which will be moving if you have a leak. Because the flow indicator also moves if there is water running in your home, make sure that you turn off the water before checking the meter.
The second way to check for a water leak is to use a water pressure test gauge. You’ll need to attach the gauge to an exterior faucet or hose faucet. It’s important to turn off all the other faucets and water-consuming appliances before you read the pressure. After you get a baseline reading, check the pressure again in a few days. The pressure gauge will only indicate a drop in pressure if there is a leak in your pipes.
The next step is to determine how many leaks you have and where they are located. This can also be done without having to disturb the foundation under your home. The plumbing experts will use a pipe locating device, commonly referred to as pipe locator, to find the water lines located underneath the slab. Then, they will pump air into the lines and use a special listening device to locate the water leak(s). Once the specialists determine the extent of the leak or leaks, they will recommend the most appropriate type of repair, as described below.
Spot Repair for Pipe Leaks
The first recommendation that a plumbing expert will make is to actually go through the slab that is located directly above the leak. There are plumbers who will tell you this can mess up the foundation under your home. However, when done correctly, this process does not compromise the foundation. That’s because, in most cases, foundation repair experts will only punch a hole in the slab to fix the leak. The most important thing to remember is to do your homework and hire plumbers who have the experience and reputation for doing the job right.
Whole House Repiping
This is an option that is recommended if you have had leaks before or if there are multiple leaks throughout your home. Although this option does not disturb the slab foundation under your home, it is not without drawbacks. Since repiping basically involves abandoning old water pipes and rerouting new ones through walls and attic, it can cause different cosmetic issues. This means calling in other repair experts to fix the cosmetic issues created by the repiping. In the end, this could mean more time and money. However, this is still less costly than having to tunnel under the slab. Not to mention that it won’t disturb your home’s foundation.
When having repairs done on your freshwater pipes, you need to be prepared to spend both time and money. How much time and money you will end up spending depends on the extent of the leak or leaks and the repair method recommended by the plumbing expert. Ask friends and family if they have anyone they would recommend. You can also check BBB’s website to find trustworthy contractors serving your area.