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Southlake Style

Slab Leaks Can Cost You!

Jun 03, 2013 04:23PM ● By tina

Soil shift is the main cause of slab leaks in North Texas.

Sponsored by Berkeys Air Conditioning and Plumbing

Written by Jeff Sims, Plumbing Service Manager, Berkeys

Nearly all homes in Colleyville, Grapevine, Southlake and throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth area are built on concrete slabs because the clay soil is too unstable for basements. That reduces the structural risk, but doesn’t eliminate it. There are a number of plumbing pipes that will run underneath that slab, and in some cases, the plumbing is embedded in your foundation slab. If one of these pipes breaks or cracks, you will have a slab leak. The word “Slab Leak” is an industry and insurance term used to describe a leak in one of the water lines running underneath your house.

What causes a Slab Leak?

There are a number of factors that can cause a leak, including poorly installed plumbing pipes, old pipes or use of too much soldering flux, but here in North Texas the main cause is soil shift. The ground here is, for the most part clay, hence the reason we don’t have many basements. This causes the foundation of your home to shift slightly over its lifetime. Don’t worry, your house isn’t going to slide off the hill since these soil shifts are very minor. However, when it comes to the plumbing underneath your house, this shifting can cause pipes to bend and / or crack resulting in a leak.

Why early leak detection is so important

A slow leak underneath your house can cause the soil to shift more, making the leak worse. In severe cases, the slab and flooring can erupt and flood rooms, ruining carpets, furniture and appliances. When that happens, foundation repair is the next step and also very expensive. Also, leaking water lines underneath the slab can erode the soil and cause the foundation to cave in. When the slab fails, its weight breaks the plumbing lines beneath, causing a rush of water into the home.

So you can see how detecting a leak early is essential to help avoid costly repair bills later on. How do you know when to call a licensed plumbing professional to come to your home and perform a slab leak test?

  • Your water bill increases for no apparent reason
  • You hear the sound of water running when no taps are open
  • You see foundation cracks
  • Uneven plant growth around foundation
  • There is a visible shift in the soil around your home
  • You have warm spots on slab floors
  • If you have a hardwood floor, you see dark spots, or notice wet spots in your carpet (assuming you don’t have pets that aren’t house-trained)
  • You smell mildew or moldy odors coming from floors or walls

Remember, even a small leak can wreak havoc on your house. A leak the size of a pinhead, also known as a pinhole leak can waste roughly 360,000 gallons of water per year. That’s enough to fill 12,000 bathtubs!

Electronic listening equipment.

How Slab Leak Detection works

Leak detection is done in a series of steps involving visual inspections, electronic listening equipment and tracing your plumbing lines.

Visual Inspection

A licensed plumbing technician will carefully inspect all floors and exposed concrete in your home to check for evidence of a leak. This includes looking for cracks in the foundation, discolored hardwood floors or wet spots in your carpet. In addition, the technician will also ask you a series of questions to make sure any other causes can be eliminated, such as roof leaks, pets, or a coolant leak from your car (in the garage).

Electronic Listening Equipment

At Berkeys we use special listening equipment that is tuned to “hear” water leaks. We place the equipment on the floor or to the walls to exactly pin point where a leak may have occurred.

Line Tracing

To better understand where water lines are running underneath your home, we use a transmitter and receiver system to trace copper lines. This helps save time in matching a potential leak with where water lines are running under your foundation.

Fixing the leak

Fixing the leak

Depending on where the leak has occurred, we isolate the area by drilling directly into the concrete or exposing the section of faulty plumbing in your wall. The section of plumbing that is leaking is cut out and replaced, while we also verify that no further leakage will occur. If we have to drill out a portion of your slab, we fill the area back in with new concrete and mark the repair location for future reference.

About Berkeys

Berkeys is an award winning home service company, providing quality plumbing, air conditioning, and heating services to homeowners in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex for over 35 years.

All of our technicians, are background-checked, drug tested and have passed rigorous state examinations and are licensed by the State of Texas; they understand the complexity of state codes all the way down to local requirements.

Berkeys maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has led the field in area newspapers’ readers’ favorite polls.

For more information about Berkeys, visit or call 877-BERKEYS