Basement fills with water

Slab and Pinhole Leaks

What are Slab Leaks and Pinhole Leaks ?

Slab leaks are caused by water pipes underneath your foundation, or "slab", rupturing causing water to leak under or on the foundation. These are very serious and can affect the structural integrity of your home. Water underneath the foundation can cause the soil to shift, cracking or shifting the concrete foundation of your house. These type of leaks should not be ignored, and can be signs of bigger problems with your home's piping.

Pinhole leaks are small, pin-sized leaks that occur in piping, usually copper pipes in your home. The cause of pinhole leaks is thought to be high alkaline water combined with chlorine causing pitted corrosion in copper pipes. Pinhole leaks do not release a torrent of water, but rather drip a little bit of water steadily. This can result in mold or mildew.

Whether your home is being affected by slab leaks (under the house) or pinhole leaks (above ground in the house), Wise Monkey Repipe & Construction can help you repipe your home and eliminate future pipe leaking issues.

In the next two sections of this page, we look at what to look for if you sustpect you have a slab leak or pinhole leaks.

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How Do You Know If You Have a Slab Leak?

Here are common signs your Sacramento area home has a slab leak.

  • Water pooling on the floor. When you see mysterious pools of water on the floor or basement, it’s likely you have a ruptured pipe under your foundation.
  • Wet carpet and floors. If your carpet or floors are wet for no discernible reason, there may may be a leak underneath.
  • Water collecting in a puddle outside the house. The water from a slab leak may appear outside the perimeter of your home. If you notice a puddle near your home, and it is continually there, the cause may be a leaky pipe underneath your foundation.
  • Cracks in your floor. When you see cracks appear in your floor, this may be due to water leaking under the home, causing the slab to shift. This can cause severe structural damage if left unchecked.
  • Hot spots in your floor when you walk on it. When a hot water pipe leaks under the floor, the water heats up the area above it, causing “warm spots” in certain places on the floor.
  • Water bill or heating bill rising unexpectedly. If a hot water pipe is leaking, that can cause the natural gas bill to rise. In the same manner, if you see your water bill going up, it can be because you are leaking water steadily from a busted pipe.
  • Musty or strange odors. If water is seeping from the floor into the wall or carpet, it can cause mildew and mold, causing a funky smell in your home.
  • Mildew or mold at the bottom of walls. When water seeps up from the foundation to the walls, that water soaks in and becomes mold. Potentially, this can create a health risk to your family.
  • Low water pressure. If your sink or other faucets do not seem to have as much water pressure as they did before, it could be because a leaking pipe is reducing the pressure.
  • Bubbling paint on painted floors. The water coming up through the foundation gets under the paint in your floor and causes “bubbles” in the paint to appear. Don’t ignore any of these symptoms of a slab leak!

Remember that a slab leak is very serious, and can pose a threat to the structural integrity of your home. The soil under the foundation or the foundation itself may shift, causing numerous issues. If you’re in doubt, call a licensed contractor to inspect your home immediately.

What Are the Signs of Pinhole Leaks?

Recently, the city of Folsom, California released results from a study on pinhole leaks from consultant group Black & Veatch. Over 1,150 residents of Folsom have been affected by pinhole leaks in their copper piping. The study stated “the source of pinhole leaks may be due to the water’s purity combined with a pH level above 9.0 and the use of chlorine.”

“That has the potential to create pitting within certain parts of copper pipe. And this can occur where there might be impurities in the pipe or where there might be sediment that has settled in the pipe,” Marcus Yasutake, City of Folsom’s Environmental And Water Resources Department Director, said.

Yasutake also said in regard to the pH in the water, which has been tested at 9.0, which is alkaline, “[the water] it will try to stable itself to become more in equilibrium. And what the water will do is physically pull ions or, in this case, copper from the copper pipe. We haven’t figured out the specific answer yet but, determining what the potential causes are that can get the pH to adjust above the 9.0 level.”

You can read the original article from CBS Local here: Let’s look at more signs you might have pinhole leaks in your piping.

  • Mold and mildew appear in the wall. Small leaks in the pipes in the wall or floor can cause water to be soaked into the wood, carpet, or drywall. If you smell something musty or moldy, or visibly see mildew in the wall, you may very well have pinhole leaks.
  • Odd sounds in the wall. Pressure from leaking pipes may cause hissing, or other strange sounds.
  • Low water pressure. Does your water pressure seem lower than normal? It could be because you have pinhole leaks, and the water is escaping, unbeknownst to you.
  • High water bills. If your water bill is consistently higher than normal, you may have leaky pipes.
  • You live in an area with alkaline water. Water with a high pH level (above 8.5) can cause ions to copper piping to be pulled out of the metal, causing corrosion and pipe degradation.

If you suspect you have pinhole leaks, have a licensed contractor inspect your home. Prevent further damage from occurring by having a professional repiping contractor take a look for telltale signs.

Questions About Slab or Pinhole Leaks?

If you have any questions, the team at Wise Monkey Repipe & Construction can help you make an informed decision on the best options for repiping your Sacramento area home. Our leadership team has 50+ years combined experience in construction and repiping.

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The team at Wise Monkey Repipe & Construction can help you through the process of replacing the old pipes in your home.

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