If you own a home, one of the scariest feelings is to know you have a leak in your plumbing somewhere, but not know what it is, or how much damage it will do. Sometimes you are alerted to the potential of a leak by a wet spot on the floor somewhere, or sometimes you just hear water rushing through your pipes constantly, even when nobody is using any water. Either way, water damage can have catastrophic consequences, and any possible leaks need to be addressed immediately.
The first thing most homeowners would do is call a plumber. While this is often a good idea, it is not always the best alternative if you have a slab leak. The first thing you should do is actually try to determine on your own, whether or not the leak is coming from under your slab.
If you call a plumber out to your home, and they determine that you have a slab leak, many of them will call a leak detection specialist to find the leak. They will then mark up the cost of the detection company when charging you. It is not uncommon for a company like “American Leak Detection” to charge a plumber $250 for finding the leak, only to have the plumber charge you $450. By first calling the leak detection company, you can potentially save that $200.
To determine whether or not you have a leak coming from under your slab, you should first determine if your house is on a slab, and if so, if your water pipes run under it. Most homeowners know whether or not their home has a crawl space (or basement) under their home. If you do not know, the easiest way to find out is to go to your bathroom and/or your kitchen and jump in the air. When you land, you will either feel a hollow thud, like it is hollow under your home, or solid, like you just landed on concrete. If it is hollow, you are not on a slab.
The nest thing you need to make sure of is that everything is completely turned off. Sometimes a toilet will run constantly and the only way to know is to stick your ear to the toilet tank to hear it. Turn off all of the emergency shut off valves to your fixtures if you are unsure. If you do all of this, and have determined that your house is on a slab, you should call a leak detection company to find it. Once the leak is found, you can then call plumbers for estimates to repair it.
One last thought is that if you have found that the problem is a slab leak, you should take care of it right away, but taking a few days to gather estimates, and talk to your home owner’s insurance company is okay. You are not going to float away. Take the time to do your due diligence, just don’t procrastinate.