Introduction To Home Foundation Leak Detection
The stability of a home depends on the strength of the foundation. If the foundation is compromised in any way, the home could potentially become structurally unsound, leading to costly repairs.
As the strongest element on Earth, water is a threat to any foundation. Water can leak from the home’s plumbing system or seep in from outside. Either way, the trickling water will slowly but surely whittle away at the foundation, causing cracks and crumbling. If ignored, the foundation could collapse, bringing the house down with it. Learning to spot the signs of a foundation leak before disaster strikes is crucial for any homeowner.
How To Spot a Concrete Foundation Leak
Some signs of a foundation leak are obvious, while others are more subtle. Plumbers and homeowners alike can watch for these tip-offs of a concrete foundation leak:
- Mold and mildew: Mold and mildew can only survive in damp environments, so the growth of mold or mildew could indicate leaking water.
- Pooling water: Puddles of water on the basement floor or even outright flooding are obvious signs of a foundation leak.
- High water bill: A sudden spike in the water bill may be the result of a hidden water leak, especially in the basement or foundation.
- Cracks: Any cracks in the concrete wall, whether interior or exterior, are signs that the foundation has shifted. For safety reasons, all cracks larger than ⅛” across should be inspected and repaired by a professional.
- Sticking doors and windows: When the concrete foundation shifts even a little, it can affect the framework of the house. Doors and windows that no longer open or shut properly may indicate a foundation leak.
- Uneven or buckling floors: Buckling floors are usually caused by excessive moisture from a leak, while a shift in the concrete foundation can result in uneven floors.
Helpful Leak Detection Tools
There are a number of tools plumbers use while searching for leaks in a foundation. Some examples include:
- Inspection camera: A camera mounted on a long cable can be sent into the pipes to visually look for leaks.
- Listening disc: When placed against a solid surface, a listening disc amplifies the sound of trickling water, which can be heard through headphones.
- Soil probe: A long metal rod is stuck into the soil around the foundation, allowing any leaks to be heard through headphones.
- Infrared heat scanner: Leaking water creates temperature changes in the foundation, which can be visually detected with an infrared heat scanning camera.
The Cost of Leak Detection and Repair
The longer a foundation leak is ignored, the more expensive the repair will become. Minor leaks can be repaired by replacing the leaky pipe, or filling the cracks and resealing a leaky wall. But if the leak has been allowed to cause structural damage to the building, the repair will be much more extensive. Hundreds of gallons of water could be wasted, and the house may have to be propped up while a new foundation wall is built.
Homeowners shouldn't wait until their concrete foundation is crumbling to locate and repair a leak. For the safety of their families and the benefit of their bank accounts, they should call a professional plumber for assistance right away.
Call McLoughlin Plumbing for Leak Detection
McLoughlin Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling has been serving Delaware County, PA since 1964. Their technicians are known for their 24-hour emergency services, friendly customer assistance, and community involvement.