Slab Leak

Discussion in 'Home, Auto, Hobby and Computer Tech' started by NVGator, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. NVGator

    NVGator Member
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    Since everyone else is sharing their stories, I figured I'd do the same.

    Anyone ever heard of a slab leak? Anyone ever dealt with a slab leak? Know what the hell a slab leak is? Well, I do and it is very common in my area. It's not a matter of "if" it will happen, but "when".

    So, here's the long and the short of it... Friday evening I was filling my dog's water bowl from the kitchen sink and noticed that there was hot water coming out of the cold water side. Now our facet is a single arm which you maneuver to the right for cold or to the left for hot or up the center for warm. So, I pushed it to the left and got even hotter water. I didn't think much of it other than, "Damn kids! Now I have to replace this facet." See, I've got a 2 1/4 and 3 3/4 boys who tear up everything. Didn't faze me to think they broke this. Saturday morning, I woke up and walked own the hall, past the laundry room and into the kitchen to get coffee. I have tile and wood floors that are on concrete slab. As I walked by, I quickly realized my floor was much warmer in a 3 foot section than the rest of the floor. We're talking 20° warmer in this section. It then hit me... Our time has come.

    I went out to the road and pulled up the cover to the meter and sure enough, it was spinning when it shouldn't be. A small spin, but still a spin. By Monday, yesterday, I've got a serious audible "SSHSHHHHHH" happening in my wall, by the laundry room, and the dial at the meter is going a mile a minute. I how have to shut off the water at the shutoff valve to keep from creating a giant reservoir under my house.

    So now, I have a few plumbers come out and the fix is to reroute the pipes through the walls and into the attic. Which means that just about every wall in the house will need at least a hole cut in the top and bottom or possible a trench from floor to ceiling and let the repiping begin.
     
  2. oxrageous

    oxrageous It's Good to be King
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    Sounds like a real hoot. How much?
     
  3. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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    Whats the exterior wall finish of the home where the water service enters and the headroom of your attic?
    Also what is the material the water pipe is made of?
     
  4. NVGator

    NVGator Member
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    Oh, it's a real peach. Not to mention I just remodeled both bathrooms.

    Gonna run $10-$12k.
     
  5. NVGator

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    Not sure I understand the question. Exterior of the home is stucco. Water enters the home from, from the shut-off valve, into the slab, from the bottom. As for Attic, it's got a lot of room. I'd say at least 4' at the peak. I've actually spent a lot of time in the attic due to wiring the house. Furnace is up there as well.

    Copper. To my understanding that's part of the problem. That, and the fact the two lines are too close to each other in the slab, and the minerals in the soil have caused a lot of deterioration of the pipes.
     
  6. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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    I was thinking of an alternative path, possibly making the vertical cut through the outside skin in one place and hitting the attic, then making drops into each wet room through the top plate (via bored holes into a stud cavity) in an effort to minimize interior cuts, but unless you have special interior wall finishes(faux painting) cutting and repairing drywall usually isnt that bad. I'm sure whomever you hire will be well versed in the least anount of damage to your home. The more I think about my idea the less I like it for several reasons. That's a biitch.
     
  7. NVGator

    NVGator Member
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    Can't go through exterior walls due to freeze but I'm sure you are already thinking about that.

    What's interesting is that from the exterior shut off to the hot water tank, it's just 1 line of cold. That line is fine. It's once it exits the tank and back into the slab that the problem exists. They've got to abandon that line and instead reroute to attic, then drop down, as you indicated.

    Now, comes the serious problem ... Insurance coverage. :lol: Almost everyone won't cover.
     
  8. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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    Out of curiosity, whats the level of hardness in your water and do you have a softener?
     
  9. NVGator

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    Why don't you use the reply button? It notifies the person you left a response, which is helpful.

    I have no idea about the level of hardness. However I can tell you the boron level in the soil is beyond toxic level.
     
  10. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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    Sorry, I'm kind of tired. Water pipe has to be wrapped where it passes through concrete due to it being so reactive to both copper and galvanized pipe. Here in Jacksonville the water in our area is extremely hard and is especially corrosive in hotwater piping and causes much shorter life spans.
     
  11. NVGator

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    No worries. I just notice a lot of posters don't use that reply button.

    When you say reactive, are you referring to electrons? Do your pipes break in the slab often and cause this problem?
     
  12. stephenPE

    stephenPE Senior Member
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    I felt your pain almost 20 years ago. Lived in Hamilton Hghts off Newberry Road. Houses all built on clay. That sh#t dries out and and shrinks gets wet and expands...............Our slab was cracked like many in the neighborhood. Walls got cracks. It was a clstrfck and OF COURSE insurance would not help. I hired a company out of Ocala to place jacks all around the front of the house buried way down on pilings. They put the jacks on top of the pilings and tried to jack it into level. 10K for it. Now my ex has the house................I guess it helped. If you drove down 91st st off Newberry south you could feel the roller coaster affect from that gdm clay.............
     
    • Bait'n Gator

      Bait'n Gator Go away..... bait'n
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      About 8 months ago had a hot water cpvc line break under my current home. It was built on a concrete slab. So instead of busting up the floor and paying a fortune to have it fixed, I bought a case of beer and made my younger brother help me bust the stone exterior around the base with a sledge hammer. Then we busted out three or four blocks, just enough for me to slip through ( I'm 6'2'' 195 lbs). Then I got a tiny shovel and tunneled about 10 to 12 feet in the sand under the slab to the busted pipe. Fixed it and slithered back out. Cost me about $8 in fittings. I'm currently building a new home and it's also going to be on a concrete slab but I'm running all pex. Not doing that stupid $hit again.
       
      • bradgator2

        bradgator2 Rioting
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        Just happened to a good friend here in Ocala. Where 98% of the homes are built on slab on sand. The repair company came in and could detect the leak within inches. I dont know by what method they were able to do that. By some miracle, it was only about 1 foot into the home. Literally only had to bust out 1 single tile.

        Good luck NV. Does insurance cover any of it.... or all on your dime? Sucks, either way.
         
      • crosscreekcooter

        crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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        That's correct, steel embedded in direct contact with concrete cause ions to migrate and combine with water (and oxygen) to form rust. The International Codes require a separation barrier wrap on metal pipe (plastic or building felt).
         
      • NVGator

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        That sounds horrible.
         
      • NVGator

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        I can't speak for Ocala but with this issue here, it doesn't make any sense to determine where the leak is happening and just fix it. It's more than likely to happen again somewhere else. That's why they just abandon the piping under the slab and start all over to repipe the entire house.

        As for insurance, we are keeping our fingers crossed. We've got the best in the business with USAA. However, talking to one of the plumbers he said he's only known of 1 client to have insurance pay the entire amount. The majority just pay a small fraction of the total cost. Mostly just to "repair the slab" which equates about $3k. This company are very familiar with this issue, have come highly recommended by neighbors who used them, and average about 1 home repipe a week. :eek:
         
      • NVGator

        NVGator Member
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        These are copper pipes which might also be cause for the corrosion.
         
      • LagoonGator68

        LagoonGator68 mostly peaceful protester
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        Rust, oxidation, corrosion are all words for what metals do in the presence of H2O and O2. The rate changes with pH.

        Rust is 24/7/365....it never sleeps.
         
      • gator1946

        gator1946 Senior Member
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        For areas where you don't have attic access, think Crown molding. .Hide the new pvc behind that. Many fewer holes in the walls. Much less time to fish pipe through walls, and an added touch to the look of the house. It'll take a little planning but between crown molding and closets you can usually find a way to make it happen. Find a plumber who doesn't look at you like your nuts, tell him what you want, and get a good bid. Or DIY. It isn't that hard. Also you may not have to re-pipe everything. In a bathroom, for example, if you can't get to the sink, tub, or toilet find a way to connect to existing pipes. Beats the hell out of tearing up tile or other hard to replace installations. Slab leaks tend to occur where more water is running. That's not at termination points in the bathroom or kitchen. Ten grand is ridiculous.

        And yes copper pipes suck. I live in Florida and the water here eats copper for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes even midnight snacks.

        I just re-read you post. I sort of get the problem. Leak detectors can usually get within one to two feet of the gusher. In fact with a good ear you can you usually get within one or two feet of the problem. If the piping isn't that old you may have only busted a joint and the re-pipe plan is a great way for the plumbers to take an extended vacation on your nickel.

        Damn it. I've just killed my like ratio.
         
        #20 gator1946, Oct 19, 2016
        Last edited: Oct 19, 2016

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