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
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 listening...no
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!