Under Slab Plumbing

Installing the ground-level portion of a plumbing system is one of the first things that happens on a construction project.

In Austin homes, the pipes that make up the first stage of a plumbing system are laid in trenches in the ground before the concrete slab gets poured.  Most Austin homes are built on concrete slabs to mitigate the unstable soil underneath. Slabs don’t eliminate the risk posed by shifting ground, but they do reduce potential structural impacts.

Slab Leak Detection Austin, TX

Detecting Slab Leaks

A slab leak happens when a water pipe underneath the slab gets cracked or broken and water comes out. Of course, because the pipe lies under a layer of concrete several inches thick, plumbers cannot usually find these leaks easily. Once found, they require time and labor to access and repair.

Costs mount quickly when plumbers must cut into slabs to reach leaking pipes below. Heavy tools such as jackhammers and plunge-cut concrete saws open the slab to allow plumbers to make repairs. After pipes get repaired, the hole in the slab must be patched with fresh concrete.

Sometimes pipe leaks require more than a targeted, under-slab repair. In cases where much damage to pipes has occurred, they may have to be replaced. This cannot usually happen under the slab. Instead, new replacement pipes get routed around the house or building and connected to the main city sewer line.

Rerouting replacement pipes can result in improved drainage. Certainly, rerouting pipes around the slab results in easier access to fix future problems. Pipe leaks that are addressed in this way also mean that homeowners can stay inside while plumbing work is getting done.

Finding a slab leak can be quite a process, involving tunneling and back filling.

How do you know if you have a slab leak? Look for these signs:

  • Your water bill spikes unexpectedly
  • You can hear running water even though no faucets are on
  • Cracks appear in the foundation
  • Vegetation around the foundation grows unevenly
  • You can see soil shifts around the home
  • Random areas on the floor feel warm
  • Flooring gets dark and discolored (hardwood, tile grout, linoleum)
  • Bad odors emanate from floors or walls

Call an Abacus Plumbing professional at 512-400-0749 if any of the above occurs in your home. Our leak detection technology allows us to identify leaks more easily. When we find the leak, we’ll provide a detailed estimate explaining what needs to be done and repair costs.

Save Thousands by Detecting a Leak Early

We recommend homeowners schedule annual plumbing inspections for early leak detection. Our licensed plumbers conduct comprehensive checks of all plumbing system components. They also conduct water pressure tests to rule out or help identify leaks.