Need advice on concrete slab water leak

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  #1  
Old 07-29-07, 03:58 PM
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Need advice on concrete slab water leak

I have a single level 1255 square ft house in Phoenix, Arizona. The house was built in 1995 or 96.' It is on a concrete slab. I have done all the usual troubleshooting, sleuthing and determined that I have a hot water leak under the concrete slab in the laundry room. I don't know if there are other concrete slab leaks. I have not hired a plumber/leak detector yet.

I have a few questions:

How thick is the slab? Is the soft copper piping embedded in the concrete or below it?

They tell me you either repipe or break open concrete floor in house. Is the concrete jackhammering method something I can study up on to do the repair myself?

What repipe route to you take in a single level house? The attic is hot as hell much of the year Can you just do a partial repipe insted of repiping everything?

Cah new pipe be attached to above-ground foundation on outside of house?

Insurance says they won't cover it unless there is actual water damage. But I am going to check into this further. Any loophole I might find in the insurance policy?

Thanks,
Dave
 
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Old 07-30-07, 05:02 PM
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How did you determine it is inthe laundry room?

Years ago I did such a job and enjoyed the challenge and got it fixed. Copper pipe was in the earth below the 3-4 inches of concrete.

I'd do the one repair, if me, and see if this cures it. If you have more than one leak, then I'd really worry, and then start to wonder and ask questions.
 
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Old 07-30-07, 05:53 PM
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Recent topic?

On 7/24 there was a topic posted "Hot Water Leak???" that might have received some answers that would help you with your problem. Scroll down several posts and check it out. I think it was an under slap water leak in FLA. FWIW.

Pete
 
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Old 07-31-07, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for repsonse to my question

Ecman1 asked how I know there is leak under slab in laundry room.

I turned off water heater valve and circuit.Then city water meter leak detector triangle stopped moving and warm spot on floor cooled after a few days

In addition, I listened to drain pipe under laundry room sink. I heard water noises. Then when water heater turned off, noise immediately stopped.
 
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Old 07-31-07, 05:52 PM
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Thanks. Keep us updated to progress/work attempted, or ask more questions if you want.

Aren't you tempted to 'have at it', and attack the hot spot?
 
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Old 08-01-07, 07:15 PM
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you pretty much have the 2 options you mentioned. you can go down through the floor, it should be about 4" of concrete, and find the leaking pipe. with a hot water leak, it's much easier to find because you can feel it in the slab. it sounds like you've pinpointed it pretty well, finding it should be easy. that would be the quicker, cheaper option and since the house is only 12 years old that might be the best choice. copper should last quite a bit longer than that and there may just be a kink in the copper that wore thin.

the other option is to repipe. yes you can do a partial repipe. in your case you could repipe just the hot side of the house, begining at the heater. the other option is to do some detective work and find the manifolds in the wall. there will certainly be one behind the w/h, maybe also behind the washer. the trick is finding the begining and end points of the leaking pipe. once that's done, you can just reroute that pipe overhead in the attic.

typically, insurance companies will pay for all the work to locate and access the leak. they will also pay for all the work to return the house to "normal". what they won't cover is the repair of the actuall leak. they'll also cover any water damage but it sounds like you don't have any yet. get some free estimates from local plumbers even if you're going to do the work yourself. that way, if you decide to, you can submit them to the insurance agent and maybe get some money back.

good luck.
 
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Old 08-01-07, 10:23 PM
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thanks for continued responses

Thanks again to all for the latest responses to my problem. Ecman51 asked if I was "tempted to fix it myself." Yes I am tempted to fix it myself. Given the fact that I am the type of guy to study up on a solution, can I really do the underslab repair myself? I don't think I have the expertise to do any repiping.

This may seem like a stupid question. Do I even need to hire a leak detector?
Someone said he located an under slab leak with a medical stethoscope and listening to glass turned upside down.

Something else has been bothering me. It seems to me that the intense vibration from the jackhammer would cause peripheral damage and cracking elsewhere in the house. Am I wrong? Is Jackhammer the only tool that can penetrate the concrete?

Are there any Internet step-by-step procedures for penetrating concrete, repairing pipe, and re-sealing hole in floor?

I have to admit, this could be the worst dilemma I have ever faced as a homeowner-with the potential repair cost. I keep trying to think of a way out of this mess. Maybe not as bad as I think.


Thanks,
Dave
 
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Old 08-02-07, 05:10 PM
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That was me.

I honed in where I thought the leak was. Just used a sledge hammer. Did not worry about any damage as pipe was copper and that can take the shock. Also, the floor did not fracture way out from where I was sledging.

Sectioned out what was bad (I can't remember anymore what I found, but remember it was an easy fix).

The fact you have this warmer area of slab. How broad an area is this extra warm area? Are you game enough to break up the cement in that area? If so, even if you are off SOME, you will be below grade and then once yo are below the bottom of the slab, and perhaps with additional digging you most likely will find where the water flow is coming from.

Have you tried to listen with say one of those aluminum drinking glasses? or maybe even a metal funnel would work. You turn either such things so that the hollow rim is against the floor.

Just thought of something: You could hammer drill through the slab with the proper bit and probe for wet.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 08-02-07 at 05:13 PM. Reason: added last paragraph
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Old 08-02-07, 06:57 PM
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i've found and repaired many, many slab leaks and the hot ones are always easier to find. if you can detect the hottest point, theres a good chance you're pretty close. listening through the floor drain may be a bit misleading due to sound being transmitted by the drain line. a stethoscope works well to locate the leak. wouldn't worry about the jackhammer. it makes short work of the concrete and won't cause any unwanted damage to the floor. just remember to pull down any pictures/paintings from nearby walls and check for things that might fall off of shelves due to the vibration. also, concrete dust is going to go everywhere. cover all your wooden and upholstered furniture. since this is in the laundry room you probably can just close the door and get some ear and eye protection. if you find the pipe but not the actual leak, you can just see what direction the water flows from and follow it. patching the floor is also pretty simple. i would say the hardest part of this type of job, technically speaking, will be the actual repair to the copper pipe. according to the universal plumbing code, the pipe will need to be silver soldered, not soft soldered. probably not something for somebody that's never done it but you might want to know that. chances are if you hired somebody, they'd just soft solder it anyways. i've found that most guys either don't want to deal with it or don't know how.

the way i see it is like this. if you pinpoint it the best you can, open it up with a jackhammer, and don't find the leak you can just patch the hole and try again or hire somebody. nothing lost but time. go for it!
 
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