February 14, 2017
By Mark Paup

What Causes Slab Leaks to Happen?

Updated February 5, 2024

We offer many important plumbing services to residents of Des Moines, IA, and throughout the Greater Des Moines area. Among the more complex plumbing repairs that we do are slab leak repairs. A slab leak is a leak in cold water or hot water pipe down in the concrete foundation of a home. Not all homes stand on a concrete foundation, but many in this area do—and if leaking starts down in the concrete, it can mean structural damage to a house, along with massive water waste.

How Do Leaks Start Down There in the First Place?

This is a good question because it seems strange that pipes that are underneath a thick layer of stone wouldn’t be prone to damage that creates leaks. But several forces can lead to both hot and cold-water slab leaks:

  • Corrosion: Older homes may have copper or steel pipes in their foundations, and both can suffer from corrosion over time. Copper is corrosion-resistant, but that doesn’t mean it is corrosion-proof: chemical reactions and nearby electrical lines can create the electrolysis necessary to trigger corrosion. Corrosion weakens pipe metal to the point where leaks start.
  • Abrasion: When water moves through a pipe, it will often cause the pipe to move around. This is particularly common in hot water pipes, where the heat causes the pipe to expand and later contract. This movement can cause the pipe to wear against the concrete around it, and over time the abrasion might cause leaks.
  • Shifting: The foundation of a home can shift due to changes in the soil from storms, or construction. It doesn’t take much movement in the foundation to put pressure onto the slab pipes which can create major leaks.
    If you suspect, you have a pipe leak in your home—no matter where it is—our plumbers are standing by to help.

Golden Rule: “We Obey the Rules to Live By!”

Contact Us Today for Plumbing Service!

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