Story & Info: Slab leak pipe repair Melbourne FL Brevard Co

31 Sep 03 Got up this morning and stepped in a puddle of water by the frig in the kitchen. Thought the auto defrost pan must have overflowed. Pulled it out from the wall for trouble shooting and found the water seeping out from under the baseboard. Wonderful figured the plastic water line in the wall had split. No such luck. Verified by turning off the water going to the frig under the kitchen sink, but the water keeps coming!!!
Dug out my video, I made during construction, (amazed I found it). It showed only the Frig line behind that wall. Cut into the wall board behind the Frig and found water coming up from the slab around the outside of the copper conduit carrying the plastic line for the frig.
Fortunately it is a tiled area (I guess) so water damage is small so far. Also, it is a seep that a few towels keep up with so can wait till a plumber is home probably Tue. I began looking for anyone who had experience with a plumber finding leaks in a slab. Ads say they have an electronic detector to pin point.
1 Oct 03 Labor Day, decided to call East Coast(EC) since they and Atlantic seemed to be the first two in the yellow pages that stood out as having slab leak detection & repair in their ad. I had EC do a water heater as an emergency job, and they had been great. They should be out tomorrow. Getting by with towels and turning off at night, flushing toilets with buckets.
2 Oct 03, asked around at work and was told Joe's plumbing was double recommended. Wife called and said East Cost wouldn't be out til noon. Called Joe's for a data point as EC was going to be $300 to diagnose, and $125/hr to repair. Joe's said they didn't do enough slab leaks to become profecient and relied on the American Leak Detectors "the best in the county" to do the detection part of the job. Called them and they charge $400 to pinpoint and open the slab. You can then get your own plumber (ie Joe's) or they will arrange for a plumber to do the task.
EC came as estimated about 1:00 PM Tue. The guy is their best slab specialist, says he locates the leak 95% of the time by sophisticated equipment. I have my doubts and he explains he uses pressurized air in the line and can hear the leak (sort of like checking a car tire). Here are som things I learned watching him:
1. Look at your water meter as a leak indicator. With all faucets off the triangular icon should not be revolving, mine was slowly revolving indicating a slow leak.
2. Shut off the hot water heater input, if indication on meter still revolves leak is on the cold water side.
3. Hook up an air bottle to a convenient hose bib. In our case bubbles inmmediately started bubbling up from the seepage area. This of course is hardly ever the actual leak point. He slowly turned the pressure down and adjusted to a "sweet spot" and put his ear to the floor (even claims listening through carpet works. Seems like a stethescope would be easier, but this guy claims he is a lot more accurate with just his ear. Turns out our leak was only about 2 feet from where the seapage was coming from, but he said he has seen it be yards away, no telling how far the water goes before it finds an area to escape from. Amazed at how simple and quick his diagnosis was, but well worth the $300.
4. He was able to get to it through one 12x12 floor tile. Used a portable Bosch electric jack hammer that made short order the the tile and the concrete slab material.
5. Pretty muddy job, but a couple buckets full of dirt and he revealed the two pipes going to the kitchen sink. He then turned on the air again and isolated the pinhole leak in the cold water pipe. Proceeded to cut out the bad spot and solder in a splice. Amazing how quickley someone who knows their job can do the task. Pinhole looked like a rock or sharp object had gotten the pipe, rather than corrosion which sometimes comes from a soil reaction.
6. Now for the water meter test once more. Turn on the water and watch; hopefully a motionless icon...what a great feeling that is!
7. Final cost $592.
Plumber's name was David by the way...ask for him!

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