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Old 07-23-2009, 11:29 PM   #1
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Slab leak... need help!!


Need help with this one! But I have too much pride to hire someone for the job. I also am a handyman by trade, so I am comfortable with this repair.. with a little direction.
South florida home. CBS construction. Found a few ounces of water in my garage. Traced the water back to the wall behind my washer. Opened the wall. Found the water coming from a copper pipe that comes out of the slab floor. Its 1/2" flex copper thats encased in black plastic tubing. I cut away the tubing to the slab to make sure the leak wasnt coming from above.
Clearly the leak is coming from the slab. But rather than opening up the slab with my jackhammer.. and really pissing off my wife... i figured I would try to reroute the line.
Follow me for a second. Here is the layout from top to bottom. 1/2" copper coming out of the ground. T's off in two places to feed a sink and also a washer. THEN IT TURNS INTO 3/4" COPPER and continues UP into my attic.
So correct me if I am wrong... but I can cap it before the ground... figure out what room no longer has water... then drop in a pipe from the attic?
Thats the easiest solution, right????? I DO own a jackhammer.. but what scares me is the fact that with that plastic tubing.. there is no way to say for sure how far away the leak is.... could be 50 feet from where its coming out. Would follow gravity.....

HELP PLEASE!!

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Old 07-24-2009, 08:56 PM   #2
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Slab leak... need help!!


You could try to reroute it through your ceiling as long as you can cap off the supply to the leaking old pipe.

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Old 07-24-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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Slab leak... need help!!


From our "experience" you need professional help. Swallow the pride and bite the bullet. Hire a professional. We had a two fold leak under our slab. A fresh water leak and a sewer cast iron pipe leak. When the slab starts rising, the sheet rock cracks, and doors don't close, it gets expensive. Are your walls and ceiling textured? Try matching that after the cracks! Sooner is much better than later dollar wise. Heck they may throw in fixing leaky faucets for free at the same time at least he did for us!
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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Slab leak... need help!!


Alright. I opened the wall and have a better sense of things now. There isnt any ridgid copper going into my attic. My whole house is plumbed with flexible copper tubing, under my slab foundation. I know what that means for me in the future, but I need to get through this one leak for now. I dont want to replumb the house with ridgid copper tubing through the attic. For now, I want to fix the slab leak.

I have all the right tools. And know how to use them. But since the flex copper tubing is inside a black plastic tubing, I am not sure how to precisely locate the leak. In other words... the leak is inside the black tube, so the leak could be 50 feet away, and following the tube out the other end!!

Whats the next step? Drill some 1/4 holes into the slab until I find a bubbler? Or go at the slab with my jackhammer? The black plastic is throwing me off. I know its there to protect the copper... but i think its going to make it really hard to find the leak??
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:26 AM   #5
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Slab leak... need help!!


WHAT YOU NEED IS A COMPANY THAT LOCATES LEAKS UNDER SLABS

IF YOU GET HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE INVOLVED THEY TYPICALLY PAY FOR EVERYTHING EXCEPT FOR THE TIME AND MATERIALS TO MAKE THE REPAIR TO THE PIPE ITSELF, ! !

THIS IS BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE LEAK AND THEY WANT TO BE SURE THAT WHOEVER DO'ES REPAIRS DIG'S IN THE RIGHT SPOT THE FIRST TIME THIS IS A COMPANY I FOUND ON GOOGLE


http://www.floridaleak.com/
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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Slab leak... need help!!


sir, that larger 3/4 line is probably the supply line and the smaller line feeds something. it might be as simple as an outside faucet behind your wall or it might feed the kitchen. you won't know till you isolate it. look at where you think it is going and use common sense. yes, the only way is to cut the line feeding your problem. sweat a cap on the feed side, turn the water on and see what doesn't have water now. an old trick i use on existing houses is to poke a balled up wad of white light bread in the lines so no water comes back to where i'm soldering. water is attracted to heat in pipe for some reason. it has something to do with pressure building up and pushing the liquid to wherever it can go. it will disapate and blow out when you turn your water back on. also, stick a straw or small tubing in the copper where water remains and draw as much out as possible before soldering. if you are not comfortable with soldering you can buy "shark bite" fittings that will work fine for a small job. they are worth their weight in gold on something like your problem. you mentioned a 3/4 line going up into the attic. uh oh, not good. if it is copper, check it out. in south florida you probably won't have a problem. i live in south alabama and that would freeze in a heartbeat on a real cold night. also, if you do run a new line overhead, which is very feasable compared to cutting concrete, do so with pex and get someone experienced in crawling around in an attic. if all your copper is real confined and you don't have room to push or pull the pipe you may have problems there. take note on what is what and make sure you cut into the copper at the best place. you are welcome world, buddy builder
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:22 AM   #7
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Slab leak... need help!!


you know that black plastic pipe enveloping your copper is probably only 1-2 feet long. it is put there only to protect the copper from the concrete, not the whole line. take a knife and cut that plastic to the slab. a lot of times a finish nail was drove into the copper at about floor level. i have seen these nails pierce copper and stay there for a year or longer sealed up until they rust out. also plumbers can be bad about no taking enough care when bending the copper up out of the slab. you might get right outside your house and do a little digging. usually a leak in copper is where the action is and i have mentioned two possibilities right there. if you have a monolithic slab you might get to the problem from right outside. if it is a supportive slab (blocks), overhead is the way to go. you are welcome world, buddy builder
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:04 AM   #8
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Slab leak... need help!!


Now were getting somewhere. You say that black plastic tubing only goes a foot or so... well thats great news. I figured it went the entire length of the flex copper tubing. So that means that 100% when I jackhammer up that slab that the leak is somewhere in that area where I am digging.

Question is then... how to I repair it. I am comfortable with soldering copper tubing. I also know all about shark bite connectors. But I dont have an oxygen acetylene rig.

Would a well soldered joint be good enough, or should I call in a favor once I find the leak. I have a friend who solders copper tubing for an a/c company.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:13 AM   #9
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Slab leak... need help!!


YES CALL YOUR FRIEND

MOST CODES REQUIRE COPPER "UNDER SLAB" NEEDS TO BRAZED WITH SILVER SOLDER AND THIS IS VERY HARD TO DO WITH ANY KIND OF REGULAR TORCH

BUT YOUR FRIEND BRAZES ALL HIS PIPES
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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I watched him make a repair to a flex copper line that was running out to an a/c system once. I dont recall him reaching for any sort of solder. I think it was some sort of welded joint, whereas the fitting and the tubing were somehow melted together. Is that possible, or did I just not see him applying the solder?
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:06 PM   #11
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Slab leak... need help!!


The silver solder comes in a stick approx. 12-16" long you "do not"
use flux when the copper gets cherry red it sucks the silver in this is why you need a much stronger torch
then regular solder
this gives you a much stronger/harder joint then regular soft solder ! !
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:40 PM   #12
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Slab leak... need help!!


Alright, got a decent hole jackhammered in the slab. 4" my ass. The slab is 6" thick, at lease where im digging. Opened up a section about 12x12 inches. Followed the moist rock around the tube, and removed the concrete about 6" around the tube. Got my arm and shop vac in there. Was up to my elbow and I havent got past the black tubing yet. Hope the post about there only being a few feet of that was right. Will open more of the hold up. Until i get past it, i will have no chance of finding the leak. 10-4 on the silver solder. I do rememer now watching him use the solder stick. Would you consider an a/c tech who solders freon lines all day qualified to solder a 1/2 inch copper hot water line?? Will check the post again later, after another few hours of jackhammering!!!
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:46 PM   #13
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Slab leak... need help!!


YES THAT IS WHY I RECOMMEND CALLING HIM
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:45 PM   #14
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Before I forget to mention it... THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!!

I opened the slab even more. The hole is 12x16 and is about 2 feet deep. I never got to the end of the black plastic tube thats around the copper.

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLACK PLASTIC RUNS THE WHOLE WAY?

The hole is 2 feet deep, and i reached in and dug by hand around the copper. I got to my shoulder and still felt the plastic tube around the copper.

For tonight, I have given up. Depending on the replied I receive about the black plastic tube, I may dig a little more.. or call in a leak detection company. I can feel water coming out of the tubeing, but its a very slow drip. Not any sort of spray or high pressure leak. As a matter of fact, the escavated hole might have bought me a lot of time. Since all that sand is exposed the drip now has somewhere to go.. and unless the leak gets worse it will never even come close to become standing water in the hole.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:04 PM   #15
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Slab leak... need help!!


MROGGE PLEASE SEND ME A PRIVATE E-MAIL WITH YOUR PHONE #

AND THE BEST TIMES TO CALL YOU I AM AVAILABLE 10:AM TO 10:PM CST

90% OF THE TIME THEN WE CAN DISCUSS YOUR PROBLEMS FIRST HAND

AND SAVE ME A LOT OF SORE FINGERTIPS ! !

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