How Foundation Problems Can Cause Plumbing Leaks—and Vice Versa

Foundation Cracking

Your home’s foundation is its greatest structural support, keeping it level and stopping it from sinking into the ground. Many plumbing systems run under the foundation. Older homes tend to lack the moisture barrier that new homes are built with, so when a foundation shifts in an older home, it can cause plumbing problems. In turn, leaks near or underneath your foundation can cause significant foundation damage.

If you’ve recently had foundation problems, or suspect that your plumbing may be leaking near the foundation, call for plumbing services in San Antonio, TX right away. The sooner you address the issue, the more likely you’ll be able to avoid costly repairs.

Why foundations move

Your home’s foundation is most likely a concrete slab sitting on top of soil. Even when you live in Texas, which is not exactly known for its earthquakes, the soil and earth below still move. Heat, rain, snow and other weather conditions can move the soil, and excess water may penetrate the foundation. Since concrete is porous, it absorbs water and may crack or shift. Alternatively, the water can create loose soil pockets that cause the foundation to slowly move.

Because foundation movements are so slow, you probably won’t notice them as they happen, but you should call for help as soon as you notice signs of damage.

How shifting damages pipes

When your foundation moves, it will put pressure on or jostle the pipes below and around it. The movement is usually slow, so leaks will probably be incremental and unnoticeable at first. (It doesn’t hurt to check your basement or crawl space once per month to see if there are signs of leaks.)
The foundation’s movement can slowly pull pipes apart or shift the system until it’s bent out of shape. This may affect outdoor plumbing only, such as your sprinkler system, or it could intrude into the indoor plumbing system.

If you’ve recently had foundation work done, you should call a plumber to ensure that your system remains intact and leak-free.

How leaking pipes damage a foundation

Leaks under or around the foundation saturate the soil, which can cause it to shift and move. Over time, this shifting and washing away of soil leaves pockets or holes underneath the foundation, resulting in cracks, sagging, noticeable shifting and other issues.
It’s important to stay vigilant and to call a plumber when you start noticing signs of leaks, like dramatically spiking water bills, noticeable water lurking around your home or yard, water damage, mold and mildew (and their distinct odor) and soft spots in your yard or floors.
Plumbing and foundation issues are inextricably linked. Whenever you notice a problem with one, it’s smart to have the other checked for potential issues. Staying alert will help you avoid major, costly repairs.

In need of affordable, skilled plumbing services in San Antonio, TX? Big City Plumbing, LLC has been serving the area since 2008. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment and get an estimate.

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