Slab leak detection.
Slab leak detection or underground leak detection is a specialized area of the plumbing and gas fitting trade.
When a homeowner discovers he has a hidden underground water leak or gas leak, the first step in the repair process is to locate it. There are a number of different tools and techniques used in slab leak location; in this article we will cover some of the more popular methods.
Rio Rancho slab leaks tend to be caused by poly butylene piping failure. Many thousands of houses in Rio Rancho are piped in poly butylene. The older “Amrep” subdivisions, 20 years older or more are the areas we find slab leaks and yard line leaks the most. As poly butylene piping ages here it becomes brittle and starts to crack. This weakens the wall of the pipe and causes it to split and break.
Albuquerque slab leaks are a mixture of poly butylene leaks, copper slab leaks and galvanized iron pipe slab leaks. The west side of Albuquerque has certain subdivisions that were plumbed in poly butylene. On the Far East side of Albuquerque there are many houses piped in copper. These houses are having slab leak problems because of a reaction between the copper and decomposed granite in the ground. The reaction causes the pipe to oxidize and little by little the wall of the pipe thins out until it cannot withstand the water pressure anymore and splits. On the east side closer down into the valley there are a number of houses with yard lines plumbed in galvanized iron pipe. These pipes rust out over 20-30 years and start to develop leaks also.
The most common method of water leak detection is to use a special, super sensitive listening device with a probe. These devices have special indoor and outdoor sensors which penetrate the ground and can hear the seeping or trickling sounds of an underground water leak. The technician will work his way around the house or yard listening for the sound and can eventually pinpoint the position of the leak. Sometimes the technician will fill the water lines with nitrogen which pushes out of the break causing a louder bubbling sound which is easier to pick up. This type of method can take a few hours to more than a day depending on where the leak is located, and how deep it is.
Another method is to use a laser heat sensor gun. This works especially well if the leak is a hot line leak. Temperature variations in the floor are a good indication that a water leak under the slab is close.
Radiant heating systems leak from time to time also. The lines from these systems are usually encased in concrete and operate on a much lower pressure than your drinking water system. This makes radiant heating leaks more difficult to detect. One method that works quite well though is thermal imaging. With thermal imaging a special device with an infrared camera is used. These devices take snapshots of the ground and can instantly show the user where any “hot spots” under the ground may be. With these devices, radiant heating system leaks can be pin pointed quickly.
Advanced leak location techniques.
The process of leak location has evolved since the 1980's and new specialized techniques have enhanced accuracy and speed greatly. One new technique involves injecting specifically chosen gaseous mixtures into the potable water system. These gaseous mixtures are safe, harmless; EPA approved and will "evaporate" in a matter of hours, sometimes even minutes. The specific technique requires the blending of 8 harmless yet effective EPA approved gas blends, mixed within specific tolerances and ratios. Because each leak is so vastly different, only the appropriate gaseous blends are deployed. Each assortment will react to the environment in a specific manor while within each mixture; is embedded a carbon rich signature. Once deployed, the interactions of the blended gas combined with the Carbon Rich Signature produce an amazingly reliable result, producing the leak's exact local, depth and other related determinate s. The result is a proprietary leak locating technique which is highly accurate.
We work with a local leak location company that creates and uses these advanced location techniques. Once located, we can repair any slab or underground leak.
The cost of a slab leak can vary depending on the location, depth and difficulty. For an accurate and free cost estimate call central plumbing.