Water Leak Under Slab on Grade House

4 years ago

How does one fix a buried leaky water pipe UNDER the house?

My parents' house in New Mexico was built in '78 and is slab on grade. I was there to see neighboring houses built and I know they ran piping (and even HVAC) in trenches and then poured the slabs. My sister says there is a spike in the water bill and she can hear water running when she's in one of the bathrooms and everything is turned off. The soil is sandy/gravelly and drains extremely well so there is no sign of it outside the house. The leak could easily be 10 ft or more from the outside walls of the house. There was a similar leak several years ago but it turned out to be the pipe feeding the underground valve for the front yard sprinklers, which was located a foot or two outside the house. Easy to dig up and repair.

I'm afraid a plumber is going to tell us we need to tear up the bathroom floor tile and remove the tub and cut the concrete and dig a hole. The one redeeming thing is that it's a warm climate and the pipes probably aren't as deep as the ones here in MO. I sure am liking my Midwestern walkout ranch about now, with all the piping in the basement ceiling, easily accessible by pulling a few suspended ceiling panels. :-D

Any thoughts what to look for or what we might be in for?

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