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How to Handle Leaks Underneath the Foundation of Your House
by Brenda Vollman on Jun 29, 2020
Whether you are familiar with plumbing or not, there is a chance that if you are a homeowner one day, you will have a pipe leak. It would be a good idea to learn ahead of time how to respond in such a scenario. Luckily, most pipe leaks are fairly easy to locate and fix, but occasionally there will be one that poses more of a challenge.
One common type of leak that you may experience that can be difficult to deal with is the leak that happens underneath the foundation of your home. Not only are these significantly more difficult to find in the first place, but they can cause much more damage than other types of leaks can as well.
When you have a leak underneath your home, there are some signs that you can keep an eye out for. If you see any of the signs, you should either take matters into your own hands immediately or call a professional out to check things out for you. The exact type of leaks will determine the course the repairs will take as there are multiple types of leaks that can occur underneath your home.
The Most Common Signs Of A Leak Under Your Home’s Foundation
First and foremost, you will want to make sure that what you have on your hands is a leak underneath the foundation of your home. The easiest way to do that without getting any special equipment is by looking for the following three signs. If you notice them, then it would be worth the cost of getting a more specific diagnosis from a professional.
Abnormally Costly Utility Bills
If you have been living in your home for any length of time at all, then you likely have a good idea of how much your utility bills run every month. If you notice that your utility bills have all of a sudden increased substantially with no easily discernible cause, then there’s a good chance it is the result of a leak underneath your foundation.
Moisture Accumulation On The Floor
Even though these types of leaks do occur underneath the home, it does not mean that the water will not accumulate inside of the house. If you notice any water accumulation, especially on the lower floors or in the basement, and you cannot find an obvious source of the water, you could have damaged pipes in the house. We recommend that you get a professional out as soon as possible to check things if you find signs like this in your home.
Sounds Of Moving Water From Below
One of the most obvious signs of a foundation leak is the sound of running water coming from underneath the floor. This will only occur if there is enough water flow for there to be a sound. If you notice this, then you need to get help as quickly as possible, and you should also turn off the water to your home in the meantime.
The Different Types Of Leaks That Can Occur Under Your Home’s Foundation
For the most part, any leak underneath your home will be traced back to one of two places. It is either from the plumbing of your house that supplies you with running water, or it is from the sewage lines that take the wastewater away from home. Depending on which type of pipe is damaged, the process of repairing it could look a little bit different.
Regular Plumbing Pipes
The most common source of water leaks underneath the home is the home's plumbing lines. Older homes were built using copper pipes most of the time. This did not point a problem for many years, but now these pipes have begun to corrode, and many of them are springing leaks across the country. There is little that you can do to prevent this from occurring in the first place as corrosion is a natural property of copper. You will simply need to get the damaged section of pipe and replace it.
Sewer System Leaks
The other common area that you will find leaks is from your sewer lines. You will almost certainly require the assistance of a professional to repair these types of pipes. Do not attempt to handle any section of pipe that contains human waste because it poses a health hazard. If you have traced the source of the leak back to your sewer lines, you need to call a plumber to come out and fix it for you so it can be taken care of safely.
Difficult To Find Leaks
Sometimes it may be almost impossible for you to find the source of a leak on your own even if you know for a fact that there is one there. If you find that this is the case, you can call a local plumber to come out to your home. They will be able to bring along special equipment that can scan the ground and determine what is underneath. They are also able to add pressure to the pipes and analyze where it is being released to determine the source of the leak.
How To Handle The Repairs Of A Leak Under Your Home’s Foundation
Now that you have finally located where the source of the leak is, you can begin to get to work on it. The process of repairing a leak underneath your foundation is pretty straightforward. It is important to remember that not all repairs will be able to be fixed by you on your own. If the source of the pipe that is leaking is directly underneath the slab of your home, it will need to be broken apart to access the pipe, and you are unlikely to have the required equipment to do so.
Full Replacement Of Pipes
Once you have finally located at the source of the water that is leaking into the foundation of your home, you can assess the extent of the damage. Occasionally you may discover that the entire network of pipes underneath your home is riddled with issues. In these cases, it may be easier and less costly for you to have the entire piping system of your home replaced.
This is not a cheap project, and it is one that will definitely require outside assistance to complete. If you discover that your home needs its entire pipe network replaced, it is best to go ahead and do it even if it is expensive to prevent even more costly repairs further down the line.
Repair Of Pipe Section
Most of the time, if what is damaged is a simple pipe, it can be replaced by only changing the section that was damaged. Turn off the water to your home once you have located the source of the leak. Measure a few inches above and below the leak and cut through the piping in those places. Take an extra new piece of piping and place it where the old piecewise. You can then use two clamps to connect the pipes together. Make sure that there is not a leak between the new piping pieces before you cover up everything and finish the job.
If there is only a minor leak and you have debris-free pipes, otherwise a simple yet affordable solution is to use a piece of rubber hose to run through the pipes. You can then inflate the rubber hose, and it will provide an additional boundary that the water cannot penetrate to cause leaks anymore. This is only viable on certain types of projects, though according to leak detection In San Clemente California.
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