Ooh, a warm spot in the floor! I think I’ll move my chair over there; it’ll keep my toes cozy in the winter. Well, yes, but it’s also a sign of a potential problem. Slab leaks can sneak up on you. Because of where they happen, a lot of the most obvious signs of a leak can go unnoticed. Your pets might notice it before you do, suddenly choosing a new spot to curl up on.
Another indicator may be an increase in your water bill. If you haven’t changed your habits and it’s not a faulty meter, it may be worth checking for a hidden slab leak. If it gets bad enough, the slab could crack from lack of support. Because it can create an imbalance, cracks in the walls are also possible. Once the slab has cracked, water can seep in, creating damp spots in the carpet. A moldy smell may be one of the indicators that the slab has reached this state. With a steady water supply, the underside of your carpet may start building up a nasty mold colony.
You might hear the sound of running water. If no one is using water at the time, this should be investigated immediately. It’s a pretty safe bet if the meter is running and no one is using water, you have a problem. While it’s possible that it’s in the walls or ceiling, generally you will have a more obvious indicator, like an off-color spot in those areas, or something more extreme. If there are no obvious signs of a leak inside the house, it may be under the slab, digging a hole under the house and weakening the structure. Since most types of termites need water to live, this could be creating a haven for them, setting you up for a whole new problem.
If a slab leak is found, it may be beneficial to cap off the old lines and simply run through the attic. Some newer homes in hot climates are already done this way, as it helps prevent issues if they ever require service in the future. If in doubt, it’s worth your time to have a real professional check it out. There are better ways to warm your toes.