In the last couple years there has been some media coverage in Orange County about the chemicals added to the water during the water treatment process. The interaction between those chemicals and water pipes in a house can lead to corrosion and rust forming in those pipes. There have even been some lawsuits filed over the issue. While getting a lawyer may help a homeowner feel better in the long run, it won’t fix the home’s leaking pipes. A slab leak can be both destructive and expensive to a home if it is left unrepaired.
The first step would be to determine if you have a slab leak in your home. There are several things you can look for which might be a good indicator. If there is obvious water running from the foundation of the house or the slab is wet, there is a good chance that you have a leaking water pipe. If your water bills have gone up noticeably, and you can’t explain why, this may indicate a water leak as well. If you can hear running water when none of the faucets are running and no one has flushed a toilet, this may also indicate a slab leak.
Houses that are 20 years old or older were typically built with soft copper pipes under the concrete slab (foundation). Building codes at the time didn’t allow the use of hard copper pipes under the slab due to the soldered joints. If the soft copper tubing got kinked or depressed during the concrete pouring process, that would likely be a spot for a water leak to start.
The two methods for repairing a slab leak are either fixing just the leak itself or repiping the house. Fixing just the leak requires taking a jackhammer to the slab, and boring down to where the pipe is leaking. This will be expensive, and won’t prevent another leak from developing somewhere else along the pipe. It will also require additional work to repair the damage created in the process.
Repiping is the most cost-effective and permanent of the two solutions. Using either PEX (a special plastic tubing) or hard copper piping, a piping specialist can bypass the under-slab water lines and permanently fix the slab leak. The new water lines will also get rid of the possibility of developing new leaks in the old soft copper water supply lines under the foundation.