Strange Heat Radiation Problem

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That's my next step, except that near as I can tell, the pipes aren't in the slab- but it's possible I suppose. Will let you know.
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On 4 Nov 2005 11:00:28 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net"

Where does the OTP valve on your water heater vent to?
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What is an OTP valve? If that is the over-pressure pipe, it would dump water right onto the floor - in plain sight.
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it's a water leak on the side of the meter that is yours. and wasted water isn't free. if you're the homeowner you need to call a plumber. if you're a tenant you need to notify the landlord to call a plumber. call your water meter reading into the water company and ask how much usage you have since the last reading. match your water bill to a neighbor's. the difference in dollars will move you to call a plumber promptly. if the usage is similar then you have caught the problem early.
on the odd chance that you've encountered a subterranean alien source of free heat we'll all be wanting your address for free samples. :)
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Thanks to all who responded with useful information. After I got home, I turned off the feed to the hot water tank, and as you all suspected, the meter stopped turning and the noise stopped. So, the problem is as you all stated- a broken pipe in the slab. Also, I compared our water usage, and it is twice what it should be since the last reading, 30 days ago.
The insurance company has been called, and the adjuster will be here shortly.
I have a friend who lives in a different devlopment and had similar work done He liked the people he used- they were fast, and not the most expensive (or cheapest), so I may use them, but I have a few questions:
What is the "right" way to fix this? Find the leak and fix that one section of pipe? Replace the entire line? What about it breaking again? Any way to prevent it? How come I don't have any visible/detectable water damage?
An alternate routing through the ceiling may be possible, but could be more expensive, as all the rooms the line would need to run through are completely finished, and I don't think it's a straight run- I'll ask the adjuster what he thinks.
Thanks again.
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Fixing the section may or may not be all you need.l If the pipe is corroeded for any reason, it will leak in another spot in time. If it was stressed by a faulty install years ago, the fix would probably be permanant.
I've heard of way of running a secondary tubing down the existing one but have no other informationon it. A good plumber would know if it is feasble. Perhaps a PEX line can be run?
The pipe is below grade. chances are, the ater is just going down into the ground. BTW, it you think you used a lot of water, wait until you get your heating bill for all of that.
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The adjuster was out. He noted that the copper that is visible (from the water heater) is the lowest grade (thinnest wall) (M?) rather than the appropriate next one up (L?). he also said that anything in the ground has to be K. I'm betting it's all the cheap stuff. Anyway, to my surprise he said I can go ahead and turn on the hot water. I said thanks, but the water and electric bill will skyrocket. He doubts the electric would be that much higher (I disagree), but he also said that once the water passes the meter, it is considered personal property, and so is covered for loss! All I need to do is show the difference in usage. I'm still going to keep it shut off, but at least I know we can turn it on when we need to, without causing additional harm. I asked him where the water is going, and he feels it's mostly going into the sand and soil under the slab, and some into the concrete, but not to worry. Plumber is coming out Monday to determine what needs to be done. I already know that we will need to open the wall under the sink, see where the pipes go. Peel off the tile, then start breaking concrete. Hopefully, the leak will be easy to find (and fix), NOT due to corrosion (but I'm suspecting it is) and will be where I suspect it to be. I like the idea of a secondary line inside, but I think it's only 1/4" pipe as it is- I would hate to lose any pressure.
Unfortunately, the adjuster agreed that there isn't really another viable route, so I think a PEX line is out of the question.
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We had a similar underslab leak between the water heater and a kitchen faucet several years ago. Skilled plumber. Removed baseboard and rerouted pipe along the wall from the heater to the faucet. I later boxed it in with a one inch strip above the pipe and a higher baseboard to cover the pipe. It helped that none of this was in a prominent area. If we'd had to cross the hallway, we would have needed to excavate through concrete (messy and expensive) but we lucked out.
SJF
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I wish there was another route to take similar to yours, but there just isn't. It's upstairs on the opposite wall, and not directly opposite. The adjuster (who was a builder for 20 years) was trying to find a way also. Just not feasible. Any baseboard-type work would be in a very prominent area. Thanks for the idea, though.
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Do not give up too easily on getting the pipe run someplace other than in the slab. Breaking the slab may be more expensive than other less obvious options. A good plumber might find several possible routes that would be better even if they require wall or trim repair. In some areas plumbers have a whole lot of experience with this problem. Don Young

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the slab. Breaking the slab may be more expensive than other less obvious options. A good plumber might find several possible routes that would be better even if they require wall or trim repair. In some areas plumbers have a whole lot of experience with this problem. Don Young <<
Thanks. I will certainly talk to him about it. He has a lot of experience with this model house.
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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

I agree with you. I recently calculated that heating water in my house costs about 4 times as much as the water itself. That's for gas heating, and for electric it should be even higher.
Mark
p.s. It's about $10.00/ccf to heat water, and $2.50/ccf for the water itself.
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I had a similar problem. I decided to repipe the house (abandon the slab and run the pipes through the walls and in the attic) because several houses in a row had the same problem and I felt fixing the leak in the slab was only going to be a temporary fix and I was going to install new flooring anyway. I own a 2-story house, and it took 24 holes in the walls, the smallest about 18" x 18" and the largest about 5' X 18". Ron

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On 5 Nov 2005 05:36:06 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net"

So when my pipes start to leak I just call the insurance company? Pipes do wear out why is it the responsiblity of the insurance company to pay for this repair? Have they insured it since it was new? You will be better off than before the leak you will have new pipes? If my car breaks down do I just get a new one and let the isurance company pay for it?
The federal governmant paid to cleanup after Katrina, will they pay us when we get a big snow storm? Is there snow storm insurance available? I want wall to wall news coverage for each snow flake like they did for the gulf states for each rain drop and strong breeze............
Tom
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Answers to your questions in line...
Trekking Tom wrote:
No, you will also need to call a plumber, unless you are very handy.

Because they took on the responsibility when I paid the premium.

No.
>You will be better off than before the leak you will have new pipes?
I hope so.

I don't know, but I hope it's the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service and two guys with a guitar and banjo find you.

I doubt it. They haven't so far.

In a way.
:
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