Slab Leak: Re-route options?


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Old 07-04-12, 11:29 AM
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Slab Leak: Re-route options?

Long story short, we have a slab leak of the main hot water supply at/near the manifold as it comes up from the ground. Have had 2 leak detector/plumbers out to confirm. We're 95% certain we're doing a re-route (vs under-slab repair and re-pipe). We're having "Pros" do this work - at least the serious stuff aka plumbing, etc. possibly more if insurance helps.

We're in San Diego - nice weather, no freezing, etc. Moderate to dry weather. Home built in 1975 on a slab.

The run is from the water heater in the corner of the garage through a bedroom, through the bathroom to the transverse wall behind the vanity where manifold comes up through slab. This transverse wall is fairly central to house, and supply lines run from there.

We're considering 2 different routes offered by 2 different companies:

1. Company 1 - referral from Insurance. Stay inside: From garage, rip into ceiling across room, rip into ceiling in bathroom to back wall, across back wall to behind vanity. Lots of "ripping" - probably 30-40linear feet worth in ceilings and walls across 2 rooms. Also, since built in 1975, plumbing company won't rip in until drywall has been taken down and tested for asbestos, etc. Likely by a 3rd party. Some new regs?? Sounds like a pretty big deal which is understandable. First plumber who did leak test also was discussing this as the most viable option.

2. Company 2 - referral from friend of ours. Run outside: From garage, pop through the wall, run main line outside of house at ceiling level, pop in at the location of transverse wall in bathroom, run inside wall to drop down to behind vanity/manifold. No tearing into a ton of drywall - just some access holes in a few places. Sounds pretty good . . . Or is it??

I'm leaning towards Option 2 since it will be less destructive and disruptive - and cheaper (if we don't get covered by insurance.) Question is if running outside is okay? Plumber said it was okay code/regulation-wise. No worries about freezing/heating due to SoCal weather. Though would get a beating by the sun during daytimes. My concern would be more insulation and aesthetics sun/uv wear. Aesthetics not as big as there are already some electrical conduits running the same line as proposed so it would "blend in" better than w/o. Insulation? I don't want to have to be replacing junky foam stuff every 12mos fro the rest of our living here cuz it's getting beaten down by the sun. Also want it to be secure - just a little funky thinking of our main 3/4" supply line running outside of the house - just doesn't seem common. I told him that I would want it nice and secure, strapped/mounted nicely, etc. and looking good - he confirmed it all would be.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 07-04-12, 11:57 AM
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Hi,

Are you 100% sure its a slab leak?

Tell me more about the house and I may better guide you. This hot water line feeds a bath group? How many bath home?

The water heater plumbing goes to a manifold, then under the slab to that bath manifold, correct?

Attic?

There is a service that will coat the inside of the pipe with a PVC coating and seal the leak. I probaly would pay to try that first. I am sure they have it in your area. No need to do all the lines. Just the one.

I can give you more info later but different states call it different things. Find a guy that has done it before. About $300-400 bucks a fixture here in NJ.

Here is an example of whats available to NJ. This link is only an example and for reference only.

Water Leaks, Pipe Repair, Relining, Rusty Water, ACE DuraFlo's ePIPE



Mike NJ
 
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Old 07-04-12, 01:32 PM
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Why would you insulate the line if it was outside? It would have to be copper pipe outside as well. Do you have a 2nd floor?
 
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Old 07-05-12, 04:22 AM
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Thank you for your response and help.

Pretty sure - at least 2 separate/independent plumbers told us that (one came out for home warranty call, the second via our home owner's insurance) It's not an above slab as there is no standing/visible water or otherwise. The rate it's flowing (via flow meter & you can hear it flowing through the heater) has to be a significant amount. Warm bathroom floor too (it's how we first were alerted of something wrong.) There is some blistering and moisture present in the the floor boards in adjacent room. I guess the moisture is finally coming up through the slab. (It's been like this for a few weeks now)

2 story home on a slab. Single Main 3/4" line from hot water heater in garage comes to manifold in transverse wall behind bathroom on same ground level. 2 other bathrooms directly above (back to back) on 2nd story. One additional line comes off manifold to the kitchen. 2nd plumber had an infared/heat camera and showed us all of the lines as they heated the floor enough to scope.

Can you coat/line/duraflow a main line? Reliable? Okay for code/regs?
 
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Old 07-05-12, 04:26 AM
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Thanks drooplug.

Insulate it because it's the main hot water feed from heater to manifold and exposed to elements. I guess it wound't have to be, but wouldn't it be smart to have it insulated? Does't freeze here in San Diego but winters can get close during our "winters".

Yes, there is a second floor. The scenarios above would run either inside the ceiling between 1st/2nd floor, or outside at that same level, then pop in before dropping down.
 
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Old 07-05-12, 06:22 AM
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I am trying to get an understanding how the manifolds are laid out. More then often even on a two story house we will do various things.

So the water heater main goes into the wall and feed a bathroom?
Where are the two baths upstairs?
Directly over this bath?
Have you actually seen the manifolds and had the sheet rock cut away?

There should be no manifold for those baths then and just a run for the kitchen if its all grouped in the same vicinity.

Possibly pics can help.


If there are manifolds sometime we find the second manifold from nearby and tap into that to decrease the distance of the re-pipe.

But more then often I will get up into the attic then pipe back down into the piping of that bath group that is being feed from that leaking line. Its less intrusive. Often you can run up inside closets.

Every home is different, but I rarely every seen, if not at all, where they cut the ceiling from one side to the other to run pipe. IMO that's just wrong.

As far as running outside, I have not really seen that either. What we would do is actually run the line under ground to the area and bring the pipe in behind a vanity or somewhere less conspicuous.

You still need to cap and re tap into the manifold or the line somewhere, period.
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 07-05-12 at 10:52 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-05-12, 10:48 AM
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"As far as running outside, I have not really seen that either."

San Diego has better weather than Orlando, but the houses are built similarly because the architects here ripped off the California designs in the '50's.

My 1953 house was re-piped about 15 years ago due to slab leaks. Putting copper in concrete is and was a terrible idea. The plumbers ran 1/2" CPVC around the outside of the house along side of the footing. Means it is only about 2" deep in the ground, but we are getting warmer here due to something people say doesn't exist, so no freezing pipes. Where it needs to be exposed to the air, it is insulated.

Takes a l-o-n-g time for the hot water to reach the other end of the house since it is no longer a straight-ish line, but other than that, it works fine.

The guy across the street was re-piped, too. He has his pipes run up and along the outside rafter tails and has lots of insulation on them. It is ugly! Then it goes through the crawl space and down. There is no way that could have been done on our house. We don't even have a crawl space above or below. Just vaulted ceilings through the whole house.
 
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Old 07-08-12, 08:29 AM
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I would try my best not to run it through the ceilings. Even with a good drywaller, you'll end up always seeing that 'strip' cut into the ceiling.

Can you go up to the attic and back down?
 
 

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