A Homeowner's Guide to Slab Leaks

Slab Leaks: 101

Humans have lived in houses for tens of thousands of years, yet we are still improving upon their design. Modern homes use the latest technology and research to build comfortable, safe, and long-lasting homes. One of the advancements that have progressed homebuilding is improved concrete slabs that stabilize the foundation of a home. 

Building homes on top of solid, man-made rock has proven to be an excellent idea with one main downside, slab leaks. In this quick article, plumbing leak specialists define what slab leaks are, why they are a problem, and how to fix them. 

What Is a Slab Leak?slab leak

There are two designs around which houses are built in the US: slabs and crawl spaces. Houses on crawl spaces have a narrow opening under the house so one can access utilities for repairs. Houses that are built on slabs use long-lasting materials that are poured into the concrete to form a giant, solid foundation that the home is built. 

Most new homes are built on slabs. The advantage of this is that the foundation is more solid. The disadvantage is that it makes working on the utilities run under the slab a bit more of a hassle. Slab leaks occur when pipes under the concrete slab of a home begin to leak. Finding the leaks can be difficult unless homeowners have help from professional slab leak detection plumbers. 

Why Slab Leaks Are Problems

Water leaks are serious problems no matter where they occur, even under the giant slab of concrete that a house is built on. Slab leaks present many of the same problems that normal water leaks bring with them, like:

  • Increasingly high water bills
  • High possibility of mold outbreaks
  • Musty odors
  • Ruined flooring and walls
  • Moisture that attracts insects
  • Unstable soil that can affect foundation integrity

Dealing with a slab leak can be a pain, but not dealing with it can be even worse. Leaks usually start small and continue to grow. So, a home may only suffer from one or two of these symptoms, but that problem will surely grow as the leak worsens, to the point that it could compromise the home's safety. 

plumber How to Address Slab Leaks

The first thing a homeowner has to do when they suspect a slab leak is to find it. Slab leaks are notoriously difficult to find because the water from the leak can seep a long distance from the actual leak. It takes special equipment and training to detect an accurate leak, so professionals usually do that job. 

The process of repairing a leak can be invasive because it will likely involve jackhammering the slab of the home up. Due to this, accuracy is of the utmost importance. After the leak is found and the slab is removed, fixing the leak is just like fixing any other leak. When the plumber is done, they will replace the concrete they removed, and things will go back to normal. In some cases, plumbers may recommend repiping sections of plumbing to bypass the leaky pipe. 

About A&A Plumbing

Need a trustworthy company to help address potential slab leaks? A&A Plumbing is the local choice for personalized plumbing solutions. Call today for slab leak repairs in San Antonio, TX.

Plumbing Services That Can Help Homeowners Conserve Water This Earth Day!

Professional Plumbing Services for Water Conservation

Earth Day is quickly approaching, and for homeowners looking to improve their sustainability, water conservation is a great place to start! Homeowners can limit their water waste in several different ways. One of the best options is to hire professional plumbing services.

Plumbing systems are a significant source of water usage in most homes. Many times, problematic or obsolete plumbing fixtures may lead to unnecessary water usage. Inspections of or updates to these systems can drastically decrease water consumption.

Plumbing System Assessments

Homeowners can conserve water by getting basic plumbing inspections to ensure their plumbing systems are running properly and efficiently. Typical inspections involve system assessments in various areas where water runs through the house:

  • Inside – faucets, lines, pipes, sinks, toilets, tubs, water heaters, other
  • Outside – hydrants, pipes, other

Each fixture may also undergo specific testing. For example, one may check toilets for adequate water levels and proper valve functioning. Routine inspections will help water conservation efforts by catching leaks, clogs, or damages that may be contributing to excess water usage. Inspections are typically recommended for homeowners every two years.


Leak Detection and Repair

Homeowners can conserve water by hiring professionals for leak detection and repair. Leaks can occur in all different areas, such as pipes, couplings, and faucets. While certain leaks present obvious symptoms, others are not as easily detected. Professionals can use various techniques to find leaks, including:

  • Meter testing – uses a tool to measure the water pressure of one pipe versus the healthy “standard” to determine if there is an issue
  • Infrared camera – uses a specialized camera to take pictures of potential damage at various angles
  • Dig and drill – exposes the damaged pipe (invasive)

Detection requires very specialized tools, hence why it requires professional expertise. If a leak is confirmed, professional plumbers can determine a repair plan based on the specific location and severity. Of course, since leaks cause unnecessary water waste, repairs will greatly improve water conservation.

Toilet Repair and Installationtoilet

Homeowners can also conserve water by seeking professional help for toilet repairs related to leaks or clogs. Toilet leaks are typically detectable either through sound or through a DIY dye test. Old or faulty valve seals are usually the culprits. Homeowners may also require toilet repairs for clogs, which are often caused either by a natural buildup of waste (e.g., toilet paper, large paper towels) or by foreign objects that accidentally get flushed down the toilet (e.g., children’s toys).

In addition to repair, toilet replacement and installation can greatly contribute to water conservation, particularly if homeowners choose water-conserving toilets. Some common model types include:

  • Dual-Flush
  • Gravity-Assisted
  • Pressure-Assisted
  • Vacuum-Assisted

While each of these models differs in structure and cost, all of them achieve the same goal: allowing homeowners to conserve water in the long term.

About A & A Plumbing

A & A Plumbing of San Antonio, TX is a family-owned and operated company that has been expertly handling local residential and commercial plumbing needs since 2007. Their team of highly skilled technicians takes a personalized approach to each request and operates with the belief that customers deserve “an experience, not simply a service call.” Give them a call for plumbing services today!

Everything Homeowners Need To Know About Backflow Testing

The Importance of Backflow Prevention

Every home has the potential to experience backflow issues. This occurs when pressure changes in the pipes, there’s a break in the main water line, or if a fire hydrant is opened for use. Because water is no longer pushed forward into the home, it will flow backward into the main water line. 

Though homeowners have little control of when this might occur, it’s important to know that this occurrence can and should be prevented.

Backflow Explained

confused woman

Backflow is a dangerous condition when normal water flow is reversed. Rather than flowing in the intended direction, water flows the opposite way through the pipeline or plumbing. While this may not sound too bad, it’s actually extremely dangerous. Backflow can cause cross-contamination between drinking water and sewage and other hazardous compounds like cleaning fluids. A backflow prevention system is necessary to keep this from happening.

Backflow Prevention Tips

woman holding a house

A backflow prevention system does what it says - it prevents backflow. This system is installed on the home’s water pipes and forces water to flow in one direction without returning. It prevents drinking water from contamination due to backflow. 

Preventers are units that function similarly to a gate. They allow city water to flow into the home for use but stop it from flowing backward into the city’s water supply if the pressure drops. When pressure drops and water begins flowing backward, the gate remains shut and the water stays in the pipes instead of flowing back into the city’s water supply. 

Is Backflow Testing Needed?

leaning on why

There are several reasons why a homeowner might need backflow testing. First, if they have an irrigation system for the garden, front yard, or trees, they could be at risk for backflow. Second, if they have a well, they’re also at risk and should be tested. However, even if they don’t have one of these two situations, getting tested is always smart. Why? Because they can be absolutely certain where they stand.

In some places, having a backflow preventer is mandated by law. When purchasing a house that doesn’t have one, it’s a good idea to get tested. If homeowners have had their house for a number of years, testing is beneficial to check and see how the plumbing system is holding up. They’ll only know for certain if they need a backflow preventer installed if it gets tested and a determination is made whether the plumbing requires one.

If one purchases a newer home, it may already have a built-in backflow preventer. In order to be certain that it is working properly, it’s essential to have a certified plumber come to inspect the setup. They’ll install backflow preventers where they are needed and ensure their current preventers are working as they should and are up to date. A preventer that isn’t working is the same as having no preventer at all.

Trusted, Experienced Plumbers

A&A Plumbing has proudly served San Antonio, TX, homeowners, and residents alike for their plumbing needs since 2007. Each call receives personalized service, a no-mess left behind guarantee, and comprehensive service. They provide a full range of services including clogged toilet repair, gas line repair, repiping, and more in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.