Addressing a water leak under the floor
In some cases, having a floor that is warm might seem like a good thing, but unless you have an engineered radiant heating system installed in your flooring, having a warm floor is an indication that something is wrong.

The cause of the floor being warm or hot to the touch can be attributed to several different factors but as we said, unless you have an engineered system designed to provide such radiant heating, more than likely you have a leak.

“My floor is dry, I can’t have a leak,”
Leaks under the floor can sometimes take months to surface, to the point where you actually begin to see water on the floor, so how do you know if you have a leak. Here are a few signs to look for when trying to determine whether or not you have a leak,

  • Do you hear a constant sound of water running, especially at night when things are at their quietest. Sometimes this might be just a faint sound, and at others, it might sound like someone is running a bath down the hall.
  • Have you seen what would appear to be an unjustifiable increase in your water and/or gas bill, (electric bill if your water heater is Electric).
  • Have you experienced a warm spot, anywhere on the floor, which was not there before and is not going away. This spot will usually become warmer and warmer as the days go by, (and the leak gets bigger).

If you are experiencing just one of these symptoms, you may have a leak. If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, you most definitely have a water leak.

What do I do if I suspect that I have a leak?
So you have a good idea that there is a leak under the floor, the next step is to “contact a professional” who has the proper tools and expertise to accurately identify the location of the leak. We know you might have a warm spot, and we know that maybe the water is surfacing in a certain location, but the path of the leak travels to the area of least resistance. What this means is that many times the leak can be five to twenty feet away from where the water is showing up. This is why it is of the utmost importance that you hire a professional who has the proper equipment and expertise to accurately identify the location of the leak under the floor. If you are looking to hire a company to locate a leak under the floor and they show up with a “Stethoscope”, turn them away and hire someone with the tools necessary to accurately identify the location of your leak.
As a professional, it is discouraging for me to show up to a customers home where an unqualified and under equipped technician has previously shown up with not much more than a Stethoscope and a Jack hammer, and by the time I am called out, there are multiple holes in the floor and an unknown location of a leak.

The Leak Locating Process
In simplest form, this is what to expect with the process of an Electronic Leak Location.

  • With the Electronic Leak locator (Listening Device), we listen to all water outlets, recording each reading to determine the three to four highest indicators.
  • Locate the water lines under the floor, using the Electronic “Pipe Locator”, which services the four water outlets previously identified.
  • With the locations of the piping servicing the four water outlets having been identified and marked, we will now listen to the floor with the Electronic Listening Device in order to determine the location of the leak under the floor.

The Leak Repair Process
With the leak having been located, there are usually two courses of action.

  1. Open up the floor to repair the leaking section of pipe. Following this repair the hole would be buried and the concrete would be patched to a rough finish in preparation for finish floor.
  2. Abandon the leaking section under the floor and “Re-Route” a new section of water line in the walls and/or overhead.

As a general rule, “re-routing” the pipe provides a more long term solution because you are effectively getting rid of the entire ‘Branch Section” of piping which has the leak, and although in most cases this is the more expensive of the two options, in some instances it can be the least expensive option.

Let’s take the example of a leak under a tiled in shower, the expense of having to open up the floor of the shower and then having to replace the shower pan would incur an expense greater than abandoning the pipe under the ground and re-routing a new section of pipe in the walls and/or overhead.

Does my Homeowners insurance policy cover a leak under the floor?
Whether or not a Homeowners insurance policy will cover a leak under the floor varies among the different insurance providers and it will be necessary for you to contact your Insurance carrier in order to determine whether or not they will cover any, or all of the expense of the leak repair. When we perform a leak location and/or repair, after we have professionally located the leak under the floor, it is time to contact your insurance agent, this way we will have confirmation that, there is a leak, and we can at that time provide the insurance carrier with the cost necessary to fix the leak.

  • Please note that some insurance carriers will suggest that they provide you with someone of their choosing, to locate and repair the leak in question BUT, what they will not often times tell you is that they cannot dictate who you use to locate and/or repair the leak, and therefore it is your prerogative to use a plumbing professional you feel most comfortable with, assuming that your preferred plumber has the proper tools and expertise necessary to perform the necessary repairs.

In general, many insurance carriers cover portions of the leak repair process but from the prospective of the insurance carrier they are focused in on compensation for “Damages” caused by the leak, including the damages caused in the process of accessing the problem section of piping.
In the cases when your policy covers such leaks under the floor, this is usually what you can expect to see, (Please note that only your insurance carrier can accurately determine what they will and/or will not cover under your policy).

A separation of the total bill from:

  • Search Find and Cover Up– The expense directly related to locating, exposing and covering up the area where the leak was repaired. This will normally include flooring and or wall repair when applicable.
  • Actual Pipe and Repair– The expense directly related to repairing the leaking pipe itself.

Note: As a general rule, insurance carriers cover the expenses related to “Search Find and Cover Up” and the insured covers the expenses related to “Actual Pipe and Repair”. In most cases the proportion of the bill is heavily weighted to the Search Find and Cover Up portion of the bill because this is where the majority of time is spent.

How do I go about scheduling a technician to perform an Electronic Leak Detection at my home or business?

24 Hours a Day and Seven Days a Week / Servicing the Inland Empire / 800-25-PLUMBER

Depending on previously scheduled calls, we have technicians available to be there when you need them.

Mon- Fri 8:00am to 5:00pm
Sat 8:00am to 4:00pm
Note: In order to best fit your schedule, services are available outside of the business hours listed above. Additional charges will apply.

Any questions, email me at wlvingston@plumbingandair.com ,also you can contact me at my direct line (909)335-0535 ext. 279

Be sure to contact Redlands Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for all your service and accessory needs. We provide “Service Worth Bragging About” to the Inland Empire including; Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, Beaumont, Highland, Riverside, Banning, and Rancho Cucamonga.