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#4715958 - 04/04/18 09:31 AM Help! Water leak under slab
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7217
Loc: 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.


Edited by Cujet (04/04/18 09:32 AM)
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#4715968 - 04/04/18 09:37 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9108
Loc: 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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#4715973 - 04/04/18 09:40 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10304
Loc: 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


Edited by SatinSilver (04/04/18 09:42 AM)

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#4715983 - 04/04/18 09:49 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
barkingspider Offline


Registered: 12/22/13
Posts: 2064
Loc: 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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#4716004 - 04/04/18 10:11 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
CR94 Offline


Registered: 03/20/16
Posts: 1175
Loc: Western S.C. since 1996
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.


Edited by CR94 (04/04/18 10:12 AM)
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#4716098 - 04/04/18 11:34 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: barkingspider]
bmwpowere36m3 Offline


Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 683
Loc: 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.

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#4716111 - 04/04/18 11:51 AM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5722
Loc: 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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#4716121 - 04/04/18 12:02 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7217
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Thanks guys,

Yes, copper pipe. House is 15 years old. 3300 square feet total, including the 3 car garage, 2400 under air.
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#4716128 - 04/04/18 12:11 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3601
Loc: 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?

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#4716135 - 04/04/18 12:20 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: bubbatime]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3285
Loc: 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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#4716143 - 04/04/18 12:28 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: pandus13]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3601
Loc: 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.

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#4716166 - 04/04/18 12:39 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: madRiver]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7217
Loc: 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



Edited by Cujet (04/04/18 12:48 PM)
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#4716170 - 04/04/18 12:41 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
Nick1994 Online   content


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10280
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
My great-aunt has this happen to her house. Home-owners insurance paid for it.
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#4716178 - 04/04/18 12:47 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4706
Loc: 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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#4716214 - 04/04/18 01:25 PM Re: Help! Water leak under slab [Re: Cujet]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6618
Loc: 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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