Early Leak Detection in Clay Soil May Avoid Costly Foundation Repair

Southlake, TX – April 27, 2010 – People in North Texas and many other parts of the United States know to keep the unstable clay soil around their homes’ foundations moist, but few realize how fast a plumbing leak beneath their homes can cause major damage.

Berkeys Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., now offers a practical and affordable solution to help homeowners discover potentially costly slab leaks before they do serious damage – the Annual Plumbing Tune Up. The Plumbing Tune-Up now is available for $79 as a stand-alone service or as part of Berkeys Universal Protection Plan, which also includes tune-ups on all central air conditioning and heating systems in a home for only $99.

April Showers Bring May Slab Leaks

Each winter, clay soil around homes tends to dry out and contract. When spring rains come, the clay expands, moving everything in its path with hydraulic pressure. That soil shift can cause foundations to move and crack.

Foundation repair companies call attention to the end result with a steady stream of advertising, but seldom mention the importance of slab leak detection in preventing cracked foundations, says Berkeys President Jamie Wooldridge. Plumbing tune-ups are the best way to find them early.

“If soil around a home’s foundation is allowed to dry out too much, the slab can actually sink and disturb the plumbing lines beneath it,” Wooldridge said. “When that happens and a leak develops, water pressure can build up in pockets of clay soil beneath the slab and push back upward, causing more damage to the pipes until they break.”

Wooldridge says foundation repair is only part of the problem then. The entire first floor of a home can be under water in a matter of minutes, ruining floor coverings, appliances and furniture. He said similar damage can result when a concealed leak beneath a slab causes the soil to erode away until the slab cracks and caves in, also breaking plumbing lines.

Telltale signs of a slab leak include:

  • Water bills increase for no apparent reason
  • Sounds of water running when no taps are open
  • Foundation cracks appear
  • Soil shifts visibly, or plants in one area are much greener
  • Slab floors develop warm areas
  • Floor coverings develop spots or hardwood flooring darkens
  • Bad odors come from floors or walls

Leak detection is one thing, leak location is another, Wooldridge cautions. Pinpointing the source of a plumbing leak requires skill, experience and the proper equipment.

“Good plumbers can locate and repair a plumbing leak with minimal disruption to the surrounding area,” Wooldridge said. “If a contractor says it is necessary to break into a slab or pool deck just to locate a leak, find someone else to do the job. The real pros locate first, and then excavate the smallest amount possible.”

There is a simple leak detection test homeowners can perform if they think they may have a leak. First, write down the reading on the home’s water meter, then don’t open any water taps for the next hour. Read the meter again. If the reading has changed, it’s almost certain there is a plumbing leak.

Wooldridge stresses the importance of regular plumbing tune-ups, the same way homeowners have heating and air conditioning systems tuned up each year. “Preventive plumbing can spot little problems – from faulty shut-off valves to slab leak detection – before they become big ones,” he said.

About Berkeys

Berkeys Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning has specialized in the needs of homeowners in Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Flower Mound for 35 years. Berkeys reputation for prompt, honest service from licensed and factory trained technicians assures customers the best in professional service and equipment. To learn more, call Berkeys at 1-877-BERKEYS, or visit our Website at www.berkeys.com.