Slab Leaks

Santa Fe Slab Leak Detection

What is a slab leak?

A slab leak, also called a foundation leak or concrete slab leak, is a water leak in the pipes under the concrete foundation of your home or business. This type of leak can cause significant damage to a building’s structure and lead to the development of mold. It’s important that foundation leaks are repaired as soon as possible by a licensed professional to prevent further damage.

What Causes Slab Leaks?

Foundation movement

If the foundation shifts, the pipes can move as well, which could cause them to pull apart, crack, or break. Foundation movement can be due to Santa Fe’s unique soil expanding and contracting with the changing weather or poor-quality foundation repairs.

Corroded copper or cast iron pipes

Over time, water and chemicals in and around pipes can cause them to break down or rust. Common causes include the use of water softeners and cleaning solutions. Corrosion can also happen when the water velocity in the pipes is too high, if pipes are sitting in wet soil, and where copper pipes come into contact with the steel rebar in the concrete foundation.

Pipes that are broken or cracked by tree roots

Poor installation of sewer lines or incoming water lines

What are the Symptoms or Problems of a Slab Leak?

Because slab leaks happen below the foundation of your home or business, you may not notice signs of a leak until water has built up and already caused damage. If you notice any of these things, you may have an under slab leak.

Water bill is unusually high

Unfortunately, this is usually how many home or business owners discover they have a leak in their water supply line. Even a small “pinhole” leak can waste over 10,000 gallons of water in just a month.

Excess water around the foundation

Unfortunately, a sewer line can leak under the foundation for years before being noticed. With the expansive soils in New Mexico, a sewer leak could cause the soil to swell. You may notice wet flower beds or soggy dirt around the building’s foundation. Over time, all that water can cause the slab to erode.

Structural damage to the building

If enough water is present, New Mexico’s expansive soil can swell up enough to actually lift a building. When this lifting, or heaving, is due to a water leak, you’ll see the foundation buckle. Cracks in floors or walls, floors that are uneven, or doors dragging on the floor are all signs that there could be a water leak under your building’s concrete slab.

Sound of running water

If you can hear water running through the pipes when there isn’t any water being used, that’s a good sign that there could be a leak.

Damp or warm spots on floor

When there’s a leak under the slab, water can seep up through the concrete and onto your flooring. Wet floors, carpet, or baseboards are all possible signs of a leak. Mildew under your flooring is another indicator. If areas of the floor feel warm or even hot, you could have a hot water line leaking out under your foundation.

Remember, these problems will only get worse with time, so it’s important to call the professionals at James’ Plumbing & Heating as soon as you suspect a slab leak. We’ll find and fix the leak, so you can be sure your home or business is a stable, safe, healthy place to be.

Slab Leak Detection

Before a leak can be fixed, we have to confirm that there is a leak, and find exactly where it’s located. James’ Plumbing & Heating starts investigating a slab leak by visually inspecting your property for the signs listed above. Based on this evidence, we can usually determine whether the source of the leak is more likely to be a sewer pipe or water supply line. Then we can begin the actual testing.

Detecting leaks from a sewer line

To check for sewer line leaks, hydrostatic testing is used. A special ball is placed in the main sewer line and inflated until it’s big enough to plug the line. Then we attempt to fill the entire system with water. After 20 minutes, if the lines can’t be filled or they’ve lost water, there’s a slab leak. Once we’ve confirmed a sewer line leak, we have to figure out where it is. We use a special camera to go into the sewer lines and inspect them visually. We can also perform a leak isolation test, which involves filling different sections of pipe with water to see if it will hold.

Detecting water supply line leaks

A pressure test checks for leaks by checking the water pressure delivered from the main supply at the street and comparing it to the pressure in the lines after the supply from the street is turned off. If the pressure in your home’s water lines drops, there’s a leak somewhere.

After a water supply line leak is confirmed, the location is determined by first checking faucets and toilets for drips and leaks. If there are none found, acoustical listening devices can be used to detect the sound of leaking water under the building.

James Plumbing also recommends slab leak detection in these situations:

  • Before any foundation work is started
  • After foundation repair has been completed
  • Before you buy a home
  • Once a year in areas where foundation cracks are common

Once we’ve discovered where the leak under your slab is located, we can fix it.

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Local Reviews

James' Plumbing and Heating Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars based on 114 customer reviews

Map of Santa Fe, NM

Quick Service!




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Service was timely and efficient. Thomas was very knowledgeable.


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Great service all around




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Isaac and Thomas completed our job in a short amount of time and were very professional. At the completion of the job, Isaac troubleshooted an issue that could occur with our boiler. He even had the part on hand, and replaced the part, saving us another service call in the future. All in all, a great job by both Isaac and Thomas! We will definitely continue to use James Plumbing for our plumbing needs.


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Very Satisfied




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

We made the switch to natural gas and decided to replace our water heater and boiler. James came out and gave me an informed opinion and a reasonable estimate. Isaac was the technician who did the work. He was also knowledgeable, friendly and reliable. They made quick work of the job and we're willing to answer any questions.


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Thrilled, at last!




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Today was my lucky day. After 10 years in Santa Fe, this was the first truly positive experience with a plumber/plumbing company! Isaac Martinez—to be more specific. I had an electrician install a light with an exhaust fan in my bathroom ceiling, but I needed a plumber to vent it through the roof. Before today, every plumber I had hired was a disappointment—from bad workmanship to poor attitude, overcharging and dishonesty, so I was dreading another nightmare. I held my breath and called the company with the best online reviews —James’ Plumbing. I left a message, expecting to never hear back, but the receptionist called me within 2 hours and scheduled me for the next day, between 12:00 and 2:00. I got a call from the plumber the next morning, saying that he’d had a cancellation and asking whether he could come sooner. He also asked about the job to be done so he could gage how long it would take. He showed up 45 minutes later, clean, polite, in Covid mask and work uniform and introduced himself as Isaac. He took a look at the bathroom, went to gather the necessary supplies and got straight to work. Isaac finished the job in about two hours. His work was neat with minimal plaster damage and the bathroom was left clean. He took me up on the roof to show me the vent—everything meticulously and professionally done. I was shocked and delighted. He handed me a detailed, printed invoice, which I paid with a check. He then emailed me a copy of the invoice. He also referred me to a plaster repairman—It’s my lucky day! I will definitely call James’ Plumbing again...and ask for Isaac Martinez!


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Wonderful service calk




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Isaac was courteous, informative, methodical, and fixed our issue!


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Great service. Knowledgeable. Professional




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Isaac did a great job diagnosing and resolving issues with out radiant heat. He was knowledgeable, professional and courteous.


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Great service: never overlooks details. Always available to describe problems and solutions.




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Very professional. highly recommended. returns calls promptly.


Map of Santa Fe, NM

5 Star Service




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

If you want a lasting plumbing job done correctly the first time, then James’ Plumbing & Heating are the people to call! Not only was my problem fixed promptly, it was affordable and everything was explained to me in depth and all of my questions were thoroughly answered. Furthermore, the person who fixed my problem (Isaac) called later on in the day to ask if everything was working properly. That type of service is rare nowadays and highly appreciated. James’ Heating & Plumbing will be my go-to for all future plumbing/heating needs. Keep up the great work!


Map of Santa Fe, NM

Excellent service!




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating

Isaac came and fixed all of our issues, he was fast and did an excellent job! Reliable and friendly service, I will definitely recommend James plumbing and heating to friends and family!


Map of Santa Fe, NM

I highly recommend James Plumbing.




Review of James' Plumbing and Heating


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About Us

James’ Plumbing & Heating has been solving Santa Fe’s plumbing, heating, and cooling needs for over 30 years. With 24/7 service and the best service technicians in town, it’s no wonder why we have some of the highest online reviews in the area! Call today to learn more.

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