Slab leak in the desert


Howdy. I've read a lot of the posts here on slab leaks. I finally figured out where my mystery leak was coming from... at least I think I have. Took up the carpeting today and found the cracked concrete and large wet spots -- sure hope the bad pipe is under there.
So here's what I'm wondering -- any thoughts on whether it's easier to fix a slab leak or to run new hot water lines through the attic crawl space? Seems a little scary bringing a jackhammer into the house. But maybe that's just cuz it's so new.
The ranch house was built in 1963 on a slab in Las Vegas. Hasn't had a leak in at least 14 years -- and maybe never though I only know going back the 14.
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On Feb 8, 10:26 pm, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"
Took up the carpeting today and found the cracked concrete and

It will be a lot of work to break up the slab and pour a patch compared to say running new Pex in the attic and with less down time. That said, your attic must get very hot there quite hot enough to heat up the tap water significantly.
This might be OK for the hot water but will suck when you want a cool drink. I have a private well on my place goes down 150 feet. I can enjoy a cool drink year round. You can keep cool water in the fridge but it always gets that fridge taste.
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wrote:

I never get a fridge taste from water.
My mother had a glass bottle, flat with a special 3-piece aluminum lid that screwed on. It has the part with the holes, a long rivet, and a part with no holes that covered the holes when the bottle was upright, and which fell away and opened the holes when the bottle was tipped.
But I didn't have that when I started, and I just used the plastic half gallon bottles from milk, rinsed out a few times. now I also use half-gallon plastic apple juice containers and 3 liter soda bottles.
Maybe your taste buds are more sensitive than mine, but all of these taste neutral.
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I had the same problem in a suburb of Las Vegas. We determined that the leaking pipe was the one from a manifold off the water heater to the kitchen sink. We ran a new line from the manifold along the base of the wall in a closet after ripping out the base board. The base board was later replaced with finish lumber to form a decent looking cover for the pipe. In the kitchen, the new line was threaded behind the range and a cabinet using the concealment they provided.
It seems the attic relocation of faulty pipes is quite common. However rarely, we do sometimes get severe freezes. In one home here, years ago, a couple took a winter vacation and the attic pipe froze, then thawed, causing considerable damage. They should have turned off the water when they turned off the furnace.
I hope these comments may provide some help in determining the best way to repair your problem.
SJF
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SJF, Lawrence especially... and everybody... Thanks so much. Seriously helpful stuff. I'm going to sleep on it and decide the preferable course of action in the morning. I'll let y'all know what happens next! This group rocks.
--svs
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On 8 Feb 2007 20:26:32 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

I would think it's easier to just fix the break. You can rent a concrete saw and saw out a hunk of concrete and bust it with a sledge after you saw it. My pool had a leak under the deck and that's how they repaired it. He had to saw to "holes" because he was a little off on the first one and even so the whole repair only took a couple hours including patching the deck with new concrete.
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wrote:

The tricky part of the problem is determining just where the leak is. The water can migrate some distance under the slab before it find a way up. Also, the line being repaired may fail elsewhere because of overall low quality.
SJF
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If it were my house, I would bypass the slab lines-- wouldn't even entertain a thought of breaking the slab, patching the lines, and then patching the slab. Larry
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On Fri, 9 Feb 2007 08:09:15 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (lp13-30) wrote:

Why not? There's nothing sacred about the slab. If it leaked in the wall would you run all new pipe instead of fixing the leak in the wall?
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He used a sound listening device to listen to the sound of the water leaking under the slab. Pretty accurate. Not many people seem to do this kind of work.
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wrote:

No, the plumber did not do that. Several plumbers shied away from the job recommending I find someone with a sound listening device. So I hired one. Since I had already determined it was a hot water line by turning off the heater supply and the general area of the leak indicated it was the hot line to the kitchen sink, this was verified by capping off that line at the heater manifold. The listening device was not used even though they had one available. It seems their first thought was to replace the line and I agree it was the best solution.
SJF
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Not if the tubing is corroding. Next week you have another leak two feet away. Fix that and you get another leak four feet away. Run new lines and be done with it.
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Good point but the leak I had (luckily under the garage floor) was due to a pipe kinked during construction. I had a service come and locate the leak.
Slab-on-grade construction should be banned!
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On Feb 9, 9:41 am, snipped-for-privacy@mojaveg.lsan.mdsg-pacwest.com (Everett M. Greene) wrote:

I completely agree on the banning of such construction. What a completely absurd concept. I found out they are still doing out here in Vegas -- I assumed it was some silly "live-for-today" approach to construction when the house was built. I guess all the builders live for today out here. Or for keeping plumbers and repair crews busy. :-)
So I'm leaning the rerouting direction. I have my plumbing company coming out today to give me an estimate on rerouting the hot water lines through the attic crawlspace or walls. Since I don't have to reroute the cold water (yet. heavy sigh.) it might not be too horrid. At least I can do all the repair work to the walls and ceiling once the plumbing is fixed. And who knows... maybe even the rerouting. It will help having the plumber out here just to tell me how he would run it - from where to where, etc.
I'll keep you all apprised.
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Part of the cost of bypasssing the line will be determined by the size of the line, which in turn will be based on what the line feeds. If it a main line coming off the WH, and is leaking between the WH and the first place it splits off to, it will be a larger pipe than an end run. If you are real lucky, maybe the line will only go to some noncritical spot like a vanity sink in a half bath. If so, you could run a much smaller line (3/8) which would be much less in both materials and labor. So the hot water comes out a little slower-- big deal. Larry
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About as easy to run 2 lines as one, same access troubles, PEX is easy to work with once your in there.
I would at least run all new pex before repairing walls, why do THAT twice??:(
Busting into slab MAY do colateral damage to hidden sewer lines etc.
Better to go all overhaead ONCE and be done with it, may be advantage at resale time too!
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I believe we have all reached a consensus. I've decided to go for the rerouting. Larry, though I can't be 100% certain of the leak spot without the leak-detection service, I am absolutely confident that it is from the hot water line that branches off after the kitchen. My water lines go from the hot water heater to the kitchen (includes the washer), then guest bath, finally master bath. It's a pretty compact house from that standpoint.
My home-owner's insurance claims adjuster came out yesterday and I'm pleased to say that my decision to buy the additional "water back-up" insurance has paid off quite a lot (I think it cost me like $18 for the year or something like that). With the check I was given to pay for the carpet padding replacement, retacking, cleaning, etc etc etc -- all of which I can do myself with no anxiety whatsoever -- I should get away with less than a grand out of pocket for the plumber to run all new lines.
I'm hoping that my ability to repair all the drywall after the plumbing is done will cut my costs. So on the positive side, I'll have great motivation to repaint in preparation for putting the house on the market in a few months. And I really do believe it will help with the sale having all new plumbing. These slab leaks are one of the biggest risks when buying an older house out here (yes, in Vegas, they think a 1963 house is really old. hahaa. they think a house built in the 1940s should be on the historic register -- not kidding!). I'm in a working-class neighborhood where a lot of us buy our first homes and knowing the plumbing won't be exploding anytime soon could make it a more appealing purchase.
Well I have some saturated carpet padding to get the heck out of this house. Hey, any idea how long it takes a slab to dry after all this?? I don't want to put the new padding down until then.
Thanks again for all the help this week. I'll let y'all know what the plumber says Monday.
--Shannon
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wrote:

Sure, if you are dealing with that kind of piping. I was talking about the typical copper pipe systems we have out here in the west. These kinds of leaks are very rare and usually caused by a construction defect of some kind.
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