Slab leak? If so, what's next?

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Dale Johnson

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Appreciate your time in advance:

Situation: My plumbing IQ is low, live in Cleveland in a large 97 year old house, yesterday morning a water main break hit our area - 24 hours later and it's not fixed, yesterday temperatures quickly elevated above freezing thawing several inches of snow/ice, mid afternoon yesterday the water meter (internal) was running so hard/loud that I heard it from the kitchen (one floor up), yesterday in the basement I found 'leakage' coming from the base of two of the four exterior basement walls...

Actions taken: I immediately turned off the water. This morning around 3am the leakage had retreated mostly, the flow indicator on the meter was still immediately upon shut off and now, I turned on the water and the intensity of the incoming water was identical to how I noticed it from the floor above the day prior. I let it run while monitoring the two leakage areas. Once it filled the tank (water main still not fixed), the leakage had regained it's initial extent and the intensity of the incoming water had backed off.

At this time, the water is turned off, the water main not yet fixed, and the leakage from both walls is how I found it. I've read a bunch of information online with varying opinions.

What say you all? Any insight is most welcome.
 

hj

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If it is really a "water main break", then it has NOTHING to do with the water in your house, but you are not telling us anything that would help us diagnose the leak INSIDE the house.
 

Dale Johnson

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The flow indicator stops when the water is turned off. Leakage in the basement originates between the base of two different exterior walls and the slab.

Apologize for my weak plumbing IQ.

Please advise what additional info I can provide.
 

CountryBumkin

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This morning around 3am the leakage had retreated mostly, the flow indicator on the meter was still immediately upon shut off and now, I turned on the water and the intensity of the incoming water was identical to how I noticed it from the floor above the day prior. I let it run while monitoring the two leakage areas. Once it filled the tank (water main still not fixed)


If the meter "is showing flow" with everything in the house turned off - then it sure sounds like a burst pipe. I don't know what the broken water main would have to do with anything. Is this broken main at your house (maybe pumping lots of water at your foundation)?
If not, then I don't think it is related to your broken pipe.

How are you getting water in the house (to fill tank, etc) and water meter spinning if the water main is still broken?
 

Dale Johnson

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The meter and flow indicator stop when I flip the lever.

The water pressure is extremely low with the faucets, toilets, etc. since the water main break but we get some water. It just sounds like a mini waterfall inside the main line in, when turned on, despite the small amount of water pressure, presumably due to the water main break.

Hope this clarifies where I was vague before.

Thanks again for looking at this.
 

Reach4

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Usually in a basement, the water comes out of the basement floor/slab to the meter. Then the water gets distributed around with pipes under/through joists above. Your pipes seem to be in the concrete below. I think you want to get that repiped so that the plumbing after the meter is not in the concrete.

With a house built about 1920, you probably have steel pipes. So while you are at it, you may want to have even more pipes than necessary replaced with PEX or CPVC.

Why did this happen concurrently with the water main break? It could be coincidence, or it could have been a pressure surge that caused both failures. If you don't have water towers in your area, a surge is more likely than an area that uses water towers.

I am not a plumber.
 

Dale Johnson

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The leakage is present under the (internal) meter, on that same wall from another source ten feet down, and on a different wall that's adjacent to the addition.

Pipes are definitely in the concrete. Agree to get them re-piped.

I've been in this house a month. The previous owner said nothing like this happened last winter, however last winter was extremely mild. Quick research in this area and pipes busting is a common thing. Perhaps dud to the age of the plumbing as it's an older area of homes.

Appreciate the response and insight.
 

Dale Johnson

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All incoming water stops when I turn it off.

Update: when I was just down there, the "mini water fall" sound is behind a wall I cannot access. This area is within the crawlspace under the addition, adjacent to the basement of the original construction.

It stops when I kill the water.
 

Reach4

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Update: when I was just down there, the "mini water fall" sound is behind a wall I cannot access. This area is within the crawlspace under the addition, adjacent to the basement of the original construction.

It stops when I kill the water.
That is very significant. So repipe may not be needed. You should have access to the crawlspace if there is actually enough room to crawl. Consider a trap door from above.

Could you quickly add a couple valves to isolate the water going to the new addition?

If the addition does not have its own WH, you could try turning off the hot water supply and see if water leaks out then. It seems less likely, but it would be easy to try. If the addition has its own WH, you could try turning off the water to that. That seems even less likely to isolate the failure.
 
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FullySprinklered

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That is very significant. So repipe may not be needed. You should have access to the crawlspace if there is actually enough room to crawl. Consider a trap door from above.

Could you quickly add a couple valves to isolate the water going to the new addition?

If the addition does not have its own WH, you could try turning off the hot water supply and see if water leaks out then. It seems less likely, but it would be easy to try. If the addition has its own WH, you could try turning off the water to that. That seems even less likely to isolate the failure.
Reach, you do good research. I wish I could do that. Instead, I'm out there facing down defeat, crawling under houses, climbing up in attics, interacting with customers who've been burned by characters who presented themselves a tradesmen. I have to solve problems standing on my feet, come up with a course of action to replace or repair fixtures in a financially acceptable manner, and try to end every day knowing I've done the best I can. Most of the time I win, sometimes I don't. Depends on the circumstances, depends on the customer.

So, keep it up with the research, and please stay on your meds.
 
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