At Cool Touch, we have the training and experience to quickly diagnose a slab leak in your Phoenix home, as well as determine how it might have been caused. That’s a critical first step in making an efficient, effective, and safe repair. Another critical part of slab leak prevention is understanding how they are caused in the first place. Below are a few of the more common causes of slab leaks.
Most pipes underneath slab foundations are intended to last for many years, but corrosion from mineral deposits and other chemicals in the water can shorten their life, particularly copper pipes. Most modern construction calls for soft copper piping to be used so that it has some flexibility as the slab is set up. If a bend, kink, or small dent was made during construction, it could act as a point source for accumulating corrosive deposits. Sometimes, the concrete surrounding the pipe can cause corrosion.
Excessive water pressure, or water that’s too alkaline or acidic – commonly referred to as high or low pH – can degrade pipes, particularly around joints or any bent areas. Electric currents in the slab can cause corrosive deposits to grow through a process known as electrolysis. That is a particular concern if the copper pipe is close to any steel reinforcement rods in the concrete.
Modern plumbing standards call for copper water lines to be protected from direct contact with the concrete in slab construction. That is usually done by wrapping the pipes in plastic insulation. A leak could occur if a section of the plastic wrapper came loose during construction. The copper may not have been properly wrapped in some cases, exposing it to the corrosive effects of the concrete.
Extreme weather conditions can also cause of slab leaks in Phoenix area homes. The dry soil in our climate tends to shift and the pipes can also expand and contract a lot over time. Eventually, this puts enough stress on the pipe to cause it to leak through cracks or loose joints. While burst pipes from freezing conditions is not as common, it can happen in our area.