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Old 01-06-2014, 01:38 AM   #1
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Serious slab leak - need advice


I have a slab leak.

I discovered the leak when the kitchen hot water spout turned hot immediately when turning it on and it's the farthest water source from the hot water heater (about 40 ft.). It had NEVER done that before. No other water source in the house, even those much closer to the hot water heater does this.

I further corroborated the leak by checking the water meter which still moved slowly when no water was demanded. When I turn off the hot water heater valve, the outside meter does not move.

A leak detector company could not find the leak saying it was due to the type of floor that we have. Our home was built about 55 years ago in the north Dallas area and it's on a slab with what's called a California floor. This is a sub floor of about 4 inches above the slab.

I dug a hole on the side of the house and sure nuff when I turn on the hot water, water starts entering the hole but there are no visible leaks in the exposed pipes we found below the foundation and water seems to be coming from where the pipes enter the foundation's concrete.

Here is what I need to know from anyone who has done this, or had it done:

Can I fix this myself? I do know how to do sweat fittings?

What is the usual procedure a plumber would employ to find the exact source of the leak and can I purchase something that will allow me to pinpoint the leakís source location myself?

Would a plumber dig out the concrete, replace the lines, and then replace the concrete?

To do the above: would a plumber dig under the foundation, up through the concrete foundation to the source, or on the side of the foundation horizontally toward the source?

What type of equipment is best to do this?

If anyone has had a similar problem, I would love to know if you fixed it yourself, if the plumber did it, and if you can answer any of the above questions.

Even if we end up having this done, we want to be informed.

Since we live in the north Dallas area of homes all as old as ours, we know someone has had this problem. We canít be the only ones.

We have not had hot water in about a month. Cold weather has delayed more digging of the hole although we do have about a 31/2 foot long, by 3 ft wide, by 3 ft deep hole.

I greatly appreciate, and I'm anxious to hear, any information of any similar experience that anyone on the forum has had.

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Old 01-06-2014, 05:26 AM   #2
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Serious slab leak - need advice


As often as not the old ,under slab, piping is abandoned and the house is repiped --

Ripping up drywall to add the new piping is often the cheapest way---as all of the under slab piping is the same age and may spring other leaks.

PEX is used for this if code allows---

Have you spoken to a plumber about your situation?

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Old 01-06-2014, 06:52 AM   #3
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Pretty common problem. Homes that old commonly used copper or even galvanized steel supply lines that were in direct contact with the concrete. The pipes reacted with the concrete and corrode, slab shifts and the pipe snaps.
Even some of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes where effected.
Digging and replacing from under the house is almost never a good idea. There's no way to replace all of it, no way to back fill and compact so the slab does not crack and collapse.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:28 AM   #4
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Some times a spot repair- some times a line replacement. Thats your decision.
To pin point it- you make an educated guess and start chipping/digging.
Recommended to braze under slab repairs
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Thanks oh'mike for your response to our problem.

Do you know what the approximate cost would be for a re-plumb with PEX for a 1500 sq.ft. house?

If this were your house would you go the PEX route?
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:41 AM   #6
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Thanks joecaption:

Well, we have already dug a hole so no going back there. The hole is near a corner of the house and, with the size of the house, and the hole, hopefully we won't have a collapsed foundation.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:48 AM   #7
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Thank you TheEplumber:

Not familiar with the term "braze". Could you further explain?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #8
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Serious slab leak - need advice


I'm waiting for my truck to warm up--so I'll answer a question or two---

I can't use PEX because code in this area doesn't allow it---however--I believe it is in your area--so I sure would use it --PEX is tried and true--it's like a hose---no soldering --fast and simple to install---

As to cost? Size of house has little to do with cost--the number of openings is the question---and type of house---Ranches are easy---two story houses? more costly---

Some destruction of the drywall will happen---so paint and drywall is added to the plumbing cost.

Can the run to that sink be isolated and replaced ? Will the entire house need repiping?

A couple of local plumber will need to see the actual job.

Brazing is similar to soldering but is better--and safe for under slab work---
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:11 PM   #9
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oh'mike

Many thanks to you for responding while truck is warming up. Hope you are warmer than we are (Dallas) It's colder than a witches (!!!) here.

We will get more info on PEX. Does sound interesting. I guess the only thing we don't like is the idea of is wet walls and floors in the case of a leak.

We have a ranch style house with 5 water inlets; hot water heater, 2 baths, kitchen, W/D.

We think this problem can be isolated to the kitchen sink area because the hole we have dug shows that the leak is coming from the slab where the pipe goes into slab.

We will call more plumbers and get their local input as well.

We will also find out more about brazing. We do need more info about that.

Can you direct us to the proper equipment and supplies for brazing, or would it be more cost effective to have it done?

We are in such need of help. We do appreciate your time to respond to us, oh'mike.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:44 PM   #10
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Do you have a central manifold where all the underground lines come together with shutoffs?
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:59 PM   #11
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Serious slab leak - need advice


http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...pipe&FORM=VDRE

You already have pipes in the walls so I'm not getting your concerns about leaks.
It's the way all houses are plumbed unless there on a slab.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:07 PM   #12
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostmaker View Post
Do you have a central manifold where all the underground lines come together with shutoffs?
Unfortunately not. But, it surely would be nice to have. Sounds very costly to do.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:16 PM   #13
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Not really.
http://www.pexsupply.com/ProPEX-Copper-Manifolds-519000
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:19 PM   #14
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Finding the leak under your slab is the challenge---with it isolated by the wood floor structure---you need to have an experienced plumber help---a plumber will have x-ray vision (just kidding) from years of working on houses similar to yours---'

If you are lucky enough to find the leak and expose the bad pipe----I would have a plumber do the brazing---that is a learned skill--using an expensive torch--no need to own one of those for a one shot deal---and if your work failed? What a night mare.

I still think you should at least consider a repipe job----above the slab---
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:20 PM   #15
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Serious slab leak - need advice


Do you know where the pipe you think is leaking enters the ground? Cut it and cap it turn the water back on and see if that is it. If it is you can try one thing that may work.
If it is 3/4 or 1/2 inch you can insert a smaller pex pipe through the broken line reattach it to the fixture and your water supply you now have water. The other way is you break the concrete from both ends where the pipe comes up. Tie replacement pex to one end and then pull it through with the broken pipe. I have done both.

Since your 40 foot away try pushing the 3/8 inch pipe through.. I reread your post. It will be just fine and you will be the handy hubby...

http://www.amazon.com/SharkBite-U850...2F8+pex+tubing

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  • SKU: U050LF
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$5.35 / eac

http://www.pexsupply.com/Sharkbite-C...Feg-Mgod4XEASA

http://www.grainger.com/product/19F9...140108001543:s

Faucet connector...

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Last edited by Ghostmaker; 01-07-2014 at 07:16 PM.
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