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Slab leaks

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  • Slab leaks

    I am working on a job that has a leak on the cold water line under the slab. On a copper line, I energize the line, trace it out, and then listen with my Goldak leak detector to find the leak.

    This house has polybuteline and PVC water lines under the slab. There was water coming up from under the tub, but only because the slab was already broken there for the trap. Since it was a plastic line, I couldn't energize it. Since it was cold water I couldn't check for warm spots on the floor. I listened to all the lines I could touch, and didn't hear water flowing through any of them.

    What I did to find the leak was turn the water off at the meter, and ran a hose from the neighbors house to the inlet on the water heater. I hooked the outlet of the water heater to the cold water lines, and let the water run for a while. I took the temperature of the floor around the house until I found a warm spot. I then listened in that area until I heard the water running. I drilled a small hole into the concrete at that spot, and water started pouring out! Success! I am going back tomorrow morning to open the floor and fix the line.

    What are some tricks you use for locating leaks on plastic cold water lines underground when there is no water visible? This way worked well today, I'm just worried I might run into a situation where it won't work that well.

  • #2
    Re: Slab leaks

    Hey would this work???? Run a hose from the neighbor and connect to the drain valve of the water heater and open it. Close the water heaters cold water valve. Now place a jumper hose between the hot and cold washing machine supply valves. Open the w.m valves and let it cross over. You must also turn the homes water meter or main valve off.

    Add>: I usually bypass lines...I usually dont break the slab open unless I KNOW the pipe is good enough to repair. With polybutylene I would bypass it for sure.
    Last edited by TheMaster; 12-16-2010, 06:28 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Slab leaks

      Good Job Mark.
      Okie Bill used that technique recently his outcome was a positive one as well.
      The only difference was,he had....




      PICTURES!!!!





      Dinner's on me next time your out

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Slab leaks

        How long did it take to pipe it up the way you did it and to put it back like it was in order to get the cold lines hot?

        I have a trick for locating hidden pipe headers for slab jobs and it might help you...we shall get to it sooner or later on this thread. In metal or plastic pipe.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Slab leaks

          You could always cut the neighbor out of it by disconnecting the main and capping it. Install a hose faucet at the meter to feed the house. Dont forget to protect the city supply from backflow...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Slab leaks

            I've worked on this home many, many times in the last 12 years. When he called me on Wednesday, it sounded like another line let loose above the slab like has happened many times in the past. When I arrived, I saw that wasn't the case. I had other jobs set up, and they were fine with me coming out today to find the leak and fixing it tomorrow.

            We decided to run hoses from the neighbor instead of digging up the meter because it was less work, and the neighbor and the homeowner are friends. The homeowner ran the hoses from the neighbors to the water heater before I got back to the job. It took me about five minutes to move the two flex lines on top of the water heater to start my test, and about another five minutes to install new ones after I was done with my test.

            Normally I will not open a floor to fix a leak. I am a huge fan of running a new water line over head. It's just not possible to do that in this case.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Slab leaks

              Originally posted by Nevada plumber View Post
              I've worked on this home many, many times in the last 12 years. When he called me on Wednesday, it sounded like another line let loose above the slab like has happened many times in the past. When I arrived, I saw that wasn't the case. I had other jobs set up, and they were fine with me coming out today to find the leak and fixing it tomorrow.

              We decided to run hoses from the neighbor instead of digging up the meter because it was less work, and the neighbor and the homeowner are friends. The homeowner ran the hoses from the neighbors to the water heater before I got back to the job. It took me about five minutes to move the two flex lines on top of the water heater to start my test, and about another five minutes to install new ones after I was done with my test.

              Normally I will not open a floor to fix a leak. I am a huge fan of running a new water line over head. It's just not possible to do that in this case.
              What kinda flex lines do you use? Sharkbite? If the heater was piped instead of "Hosed" you can see that the washing machine is a good alternative. I guess you guys have earthquakes and nothings hard piped?

              Glad you got the problem located...goodluck with the repair!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Slab leaks

                the hot water trick is good with an i/r thermometer. but i also use compressed air to cause the leak to bubble. this makes a good rumbling noise when you're in a pool of water under the slab.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Slab leaks

                  Rick, I agree using compressed air does work. Funny I have some kiwi mates who reckon we are strange for using air. they reckon listening is the only way

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                  • #10
                    Re: Slab leaks

                    Originally posted by Cleanmen2 View Post
                    Rick, I agree using compressed air does work. Funny I have some kiwi mates who reckon we are strange for using air. they reckon listening is the only way
                    Nitrogen works great also.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Slab leaks

                      We carried Nitrogen bottles on all of our trucks.

                      Mark
                      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Slab leaks

                        Question, please! Will a Mechanics stethoscope hear the nitrogen leak ? What is the most affordable instrument that will work, please?
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                        • #13
                          Re: Slab leaks

                          What psi do you start with when using compressed air or nitrogen on polybuteline and PVC water lines

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                          • #14
                            Re: Slab leaks

                            Using Nitrogen I never let the pressure go above 50 psi. A low cost electronic listening scope works good if you cant use hot water (look up a Littmann electronic stethoscope less then $350)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Slab leaks

                              Use meter wheel and shut off on water heater to narrow down to hot or cold line.

                              Fill line with compressed air to create distinct rumbling sound

                              Listen for sound with :
                              http://www.pollardwater.com/pages_pr...12geophone.asp

                              Decide to crack slab and silver solder or rerun over head..

                              Thank you careless concrete men for all those dinges and creases in those copper lines;-)

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