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Help! Water leak under slab #4715958
04/04/18 09:31 AM
04/04/18 09:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
Cujet Offline OP
Cujet  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
FL acreage property, concrete block home with a monolithic slab. Pipes under slab.

Yesterday, walking barefoot I notice a hot section of tile floor. Sure enough, its where I remember the water pipes being. Turn off the water heater inlet overnight and the floor cools. Turn on the water heater inlet and a rush of water is heard. Rinse-repeat. Yup, I've got a substantial leak.

The hot-spot is about 13-14 feet in from the wall. I suppose one could tunnel underneath in wintertime, when the water table is low. As my house is on a bit of a mound.

I'd really hate to break up the tile floor and destroy the slab. As of right now, I don't have any known or major slab cracks, or any water in the home.

Of course, the hot spot may not be where the leak is. As some of the pipes have insulation.

Suggestions? I have zero idea how to deal with this, other than to tunnel under and solder in a new section.

Installing new plumbing in the attic is prob exceptionally difficult.

Last edited by Cujet; 04/04/18 09:32 AM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4715968
04/04/18 09:37 AM
04/04/18 09:37 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,263
Ontario, Canada
IndyIan Offline
IndyIan  Offline

Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,263
Ontario, Canada
Copper pipes? I don't know if they make pipe cameras that work with that size of pipe, but if they do having a look to see where the problem is would be a good start.
Also for hot water, pex in the attic might be surprisingly easy to install even down into the walls. You'll get instant hot water in the summer too!


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4715973
04/04/18 09:40 AM
04/04/18 09:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,320
OH
SatinSilver Offline
SatinSilver  Offline

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 11,320
OH
I'm sure they have scope cameras that can find the leak. Just saw an ad for one yesterday. They can even sometimes repair the leak without breaking everything up.

http://www.leakdoctor.com/blog/How-to-Detect-a-Plumbing-or-Slab-Leak-in-Central-Florida-_AE21.html

Last edited by SatinSilver; 04/04/18 09:42 AM.
Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4715983
04/04/18 09:49 AM
04/04/18 09:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,101
socal
barkingspider Offline
barkingspider  Offline

Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,101
socal
If you do not want to break the slab to fix the leak, your only other option is to re route the pipe. This will save your floors but u will have holes in the drywall to patch and paint. Re route is a better option as u now have new pipe vs new patched old


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716004
04/04/18 10:11 AM
04/04/18 10:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,958
Western S.C.
CR94 Offline
CR94  Offline

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,958
Western S.C.
My mother's house had that problem twice with cold-water pipes. Solved once by rerouting around the outside of the house, underground. The second time by slipping a special plastic pipe inside the copper pipe for the whole distance---a more elegant and less expensive solution. Some plumbers in your area should know how to do that if the problem is not rare there.

Last edited by CR94; 04/04/18 10:12 AM.

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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: barkingspider] #4716098
04/04/18 11:34 AM
04/04/18 11:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 790
Connecticut, USA
bmwpowere36m3 Offline
bmwpowere36m3  Offline

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 790
Connecticut, USA
Originally Posted By: barkingspider
If you do not want to break the slab to fix the leak, your only other option is to re route the pipe. This will save your floors but u will have holes in the drywall to patch and paint. Re route is a better option as u now have new pipe vs new patched old


I would agree...

Depends on what's currently buried and its age. It might be possible to use a thermal camera to pinpoint the leak. The risk, not knowing why the pipe burst, is after the fix other leaks may sprout.

I think abandoning and rerouting is likely the better option.

Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716111
04/04/18 11:51 AM
04/04/18 11:51 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,114
South Florida
bubbatime Offline
bubbatime  Offline

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,114
South Florida
My mother in laws house was built in 1980 in Florida. She had the same problem. They re-plumbed the entire house through the attic. You could dig up the concrete but that would be substantially more money. Get a few quotes from plumbers, they will likely qoute the same thing..

Plumbing through the attic can be annoying because your water is HOT coming through the pipes for the first minute, even the cold water. The cold water for the first minute, will be 110 degrees or so, until it flushes out all the water and cools down to normal ground water temp, 72ish.


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716121
04/04/18 12:02 PM
04/04/18 12:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
Cujet Offline OP
Cujet  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
Thanks guys,

Yes, copper pipe. House is 15 years old. 3300 square feet total, including the 3 car garage, 2400 under air.


People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716128
04/04/18 12:11 PM
04/04/18 12:11 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,451
New England
madRiver Online content
madRiver  Online Content

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,451
New England
You have to way out rerouting the section of piping inside the home somehow like walls or attic. What are the walls made of?

Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: bubbatime] #4716135
04/04/18 12:20 PM
04/04/18 12:20 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,581
Chicago,IL,USA
pandus13 Offline
pandus13  Offline

Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,581
Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: bubbatime
My mother in laws house was built in 1980 in Florida. She had the same problem. They re-plumbed the entire house through the attic. You could dig up the concrete but that would be substantially more money. Get a few quotes from plumbers, they will likely qoute the same thing..

Plumbing through the attic can be annoying because your water is HOT coming through the pipes for the first minute, even the cold water. The cold water for the first minute, will be 110 degrees or so, until it flushes out all the water and cools down to normal ground water temp, 72ish.

Here in the cold, they sometimes use re-circulation pumps to keep the water warm for a long run.
Would that be feasible for OP for cold water circuit?


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: pandus13] #4716143
04/04/18 12:28 PM
04/04/18 12:28 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,451
New England
madRiver Online content
madRiver  Online Content

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 4,451
New England
Originally Posted By: pandus13
Originally Posted By: bubbatime
My mother in laws house was built in 1980 in Florida. She had the same problem. They re-plumbed the entire house through the attic. You could dig up the concrete but that would be substantially more money. Get a few quotes from plumbers, they will likely qoute the same thing..

Plumbing through the attic can be annoying because your water is HOT coming through the pipes for the first minute, even the cold water. The cold water for the first minute, will be 110 degrees or so, until it flushes out all the water and cools down to normal ground water temp, 72ish.

Here in the cold, they sometimes use re-circulation pumps to keep the water warm for a long run.
Would that be feasible for OP for cold water circuit?


Funny thing. Growing up in Kuwait before they had a water distribution system they delivered water via truck to house and pumped to tanks on roof. In winter we used the hot water tank inside house. In summer we reversed and the tanks on roof were the hot water(solar) and the inside water heaters shut off were cold water.

Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: madRiver] #4716166
04/04/18 12:39 PM
04/04/18 12:39 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
Cujet Offline OP
Cujet  Offline OP

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,189
Jupiter, Florida
Originally Posted By: madRiver
You have to way out rerouting the section of piping inside the home somehow like walls or attic. What are the walls made of?


The home is concrete block, bathroom walls are tile. The drywall has very little room underneath. As the wood mounting strips are only about 1/2 inch. And that is where the wires are.

The plumbing comes up from under the slab. Does not go behind the wall


Last edited by Cujet; 04/04/18 12:48 PM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716170
04/04/18 12:41 PM
04/04/18 12:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,426
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 11,426
Phoenix, AZ
My great-aunt has this happen to her house. Home-owners insurance paid for it.


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716178
04/04/18 12:47 PM
04/04/18 12:47 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
sleddriver Offline
sleddriver  Offline

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,838
Central Texas
How about renting a thermal camera to detect where the leak is underneath and the location of the pipe? As for a solution, it's difficult to add anything without being on site. Do you have any photographs of your foundation before concrete was poured?


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Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet] #4716214
04/04/18 01:25 PM
04/04/18 01:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,156
Hudson, NH
LeakySeals Offline
LeakySeals  Offline

Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 7,156
Hudson, NH
With lime erosion being a serious problem in FLA don't hesitate to fix that. I had this problem in my last house. Rent a concrete saw or pay someone to cut out the section of concrete. Replace the bad pipe. throw in stone base. pour a patch.


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