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Old 05-30-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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Concrete slab water leak


I have a water leak in a concrete slab floor and am looking for advice. The attached text and diagrams explain the problem.

Thanks for any help.
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Concrete slab water leak-floor1.jpg   Concrete slab water leak-floor2.jpg   Concrete slab water leak-floor3.jpg   Concrete slab water leak-floor4.jpg  

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Old 05-30-2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Concrete slab water leak


You are going to need a local contractor to investigate this more than likely. But in the meantime......

The first thing I would do is to turn off all appliances that could be using water. Ice makers, leaky toilets, water softeners, R.O.'s, stuff like that. Once you are sure there is nowhere for water to be going as part of the daily functions of the home then look at your water meter. There should be a trickle indicator on the meter. If the indicator is moving even ever so slightly there is water being consumed somewhere. This may indicate an in-slab leak. If there is no trickle indicator (I don't know what those things may be called in various parts of the country) then there will be a number dial or or some type of numbered gauge that would show consumption. Note the reading and wait an hour or so and then check to see if the reading has changed.

If this doesn't prove-up anything then the next thing I would do is turn everything back on as normal, go to the drug store and buy a cheap stethoscope (about $12 or less). Then turn on the heat system and use the stethoscope to listen to the slab in the vicinity of where you think the leak is. You will hear the water running or hissing or whatever.

There is a chance the 4" holes are a result of "core samples" that were taken post construction and this may indicate that previous owner(s) were aware of a water-table issue. Not to say that's the problem. The holes appear to be just the right size for what is used for that type of exploration. Your County Extension Agent or Government Building Inspection Office will be able to enlighten you as to water table levels in your vicinity.

This may also be something as simple as inadequate drainage around the home and water collecting and pooling under the slab.

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Old 05-30-2010, 09:01 PM   #3
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Concrete slab water leak


(You might need some professional help to do this.)
Put some dye in the boiler water. Bleed and repressurize the heating system. Have the system turned on and operating normally over a few days. See if dyed water seeps up from the crack in the floor.

Ideally, you should drain the system and refill it after you are completely finished with this test. You don't want a real leak some time in the future splashing colored water all over the place.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:22 PM   #4
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Concrete slab water leak


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
... look at your water meter ...
There's no trickle indicator but the water meter has an electronic display to 2 decimals. (I'm assuming it's in gallons but that doesn't matter.) Experimenting at the tap, it takes about 3 tablespoons to register a .01 increase in the gauge. So we ran two tests, 9 hours overnight when we were asleep, and 7 hours today when we were out. Unfortunately the results conflicted -- overnight the gauge stayed the same. Today it went up .01. The water seepage was about the same, I'm guessing a good tablespoon.

There was a slight difference in how we conducted the tests. Overnight we spot-ran the tap until the gauge incremented, so we were basically starting close to the .010 point (theoretically, that is, the gauge only registers to .01, but we stopped flow as soon as it flipped to the next hundredth). Today we flipped to the next hundredth, and then ran another two tablespoons of water, trying to get it to about the (theoretical) .018 point, so ANY water use would increment the gauge.

As a result, the second test should be more sensitive. Of course there could be a minuscule leak somewhere else in the system. There's nothing noticeable, but it would only have taken a tiny amount to increment the gauge.

Also, while we were setting up for today's test, at one point we stopped the water flow, the gauge was stopped, and then a few seconds later it increased by .01. Everything was completely shut off at that point so it shouldn't have incremented.

I'm not sure where we stand. We'll probably try another test or two like this, if only to feel like we're doing something.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:27 PM   #5
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Concrete slab water leak


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(You might need some professional help to do this.)
Put some dye in the boiler water...
I like this idea, but you're right -- I'd need professional help.
I'm calling tomorrow to get a pro here to assess it, and I'll pass along the suggestion.

The obvious drawback though is that it's almost ninety degrees out and it wouldn't be fun, if even possible, running the heat for any length of time.
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