As people in the Fort Worth and Arlington area know, the Texas environment can be unforgiving and cause some pretty hefty property damage. Sometimes the damage pretty obvious, but sometimes the damage can lurk below in the form of slab leak.
For those who don’t know, “slab leak” is a term used by insurance companies and people in the industry for a leak in a water line below the concrete floor of a house. It’s a hidden problem that requires detection by a professional, but there are some ways to detect possible slab leaks yourself.
The first way you could perform slab leak detection is to turn off all the water in the house and check to see if the water meter is still running. If you have a leak, the meter dials will still spin even if all the water inside the house is turned off. This isn’t will not tell you one hundred percent if you have, in fact, detected a slab leak, but it’s a good start.
If you’re comfortable getting a little more technical and have a buddy, you can proceed to the next step in slab leak detection, verifying the leak is not at the main or irrigation (sprinkler system) by isolating those lines with their shutoff valves as explained below.
First, go to the water shut off valve for the house and shut it off while your buddy looks at the looks at the water meter and inform him or her when you have done so. Then your buddy should relay if the meter has stopped spinning or not. If it stops, you know that the leak is not in the main coming to the house. If you have an isolation valve (you should if you’re planning on watering your lawn with a sprinkler system in the Fort Worth, Arlington area), you can repeat turning off the valve to make sure the leak isn’t in that line.
Next, go to the hot water tank and shut off the cold incoming valve which is normally on the top, right side of the hot water heater. Relay that the valve has been turned off to your buddy at the meter and get him or her to tell you if the water is still moving or not. If it is not moving, you have verified that the leak is on the hot side and not on the water main or the sprinkler system. At this point, it’s possible that there’s a slab leak, and you should call a professional to stop a serious problem before it becomes worse.
Because slab leak detection and repair will be costly, it’s a good idea contact your homeowner’s insurance company — if you have an insurance agent that you can talk to without filing a claim — to see if you’re covered for slab leaks and slab leak detection. Doing so in advance will allow you to be sure of your coverage if any and potential out of pocket costs and give you the confidence needed to head off a more costly problem before it gets worse.