Foundation issues, when they occur, can be highly damaging and very costly to repair. This is an expense most homeowners desperately want to avoid – (check out this preventative article on how to properly maintain your foundation). Unfortunately, when foundation problems do occur, they are most often an inconvenient surprise and can be a financial burden. Homeowners want to minimize repair costs while also guaranteeing the best results. This is why they’re often reluctant to conduct plumbing tests when carrying out foundation repairs.
You may view plumbing tests as an unnecessary expense when dealing with foundation issues, but they are crucial in correctly assessing and repairing the cause of the foundation issue.
This post explains why foundation repair experts require hydrostatic plumbing tests and why it’s essential if you’re dealing with foundation issues.
What is a hydrostatic plumbing test?
A hydrostatic plumbing test is more comprehensive than a camera test and is the only test that allows the entire sewer system of your home to be examined at once, while also bringing every single area of the system into the spotlight. It’s used by licensed plumbing contractors to determine if there is a leak in the system.
- Typically, the test is performed from outside the house by a licensed plumber. They gain access to the home’s sewer system through the cleanout – the pipe that sticks up.
- However, in some older homes, the cleanout is not present. In these instances, the plumber would need to locate the sewer main in the yard and install a cleanout.
- Next, an inflatable ball is inserted in the main sewer line cleanout. This ball is inflated until it completely blocks the cleanout.
- After that, water is pumped into the home’s sewer system up to the slab level.
- If there is a significant leak in the system, the contractor will be unable to raise the water to the slab level. Even when the water rises to the slab level, it will soon start to fall if there is the smallest leak in the system.
- The contractor must wait 15 minutes to see if the water falls or maintains its pressure. The more the water level drops, the bigger the leaks in the system. If it doesn’t drop at all, there are no leaks.
If a leak is present, the next step is to detect the location of the leak. Depending on the size and type of leak, it may be found easily or not.
Plumbing leaks and faulty foundations
Plumbing tests are required by plumbing contractors to detect pre-existing plumbing leaks before a foundation is repaired. Plumbing tests are also necessary after the foundation has been fixed to ensure that no new leaks could damage the foundation again.
This is important because a plumbing leak could have been the cause of the foundation problem in the first place. So it’s actually important to get a test before and after a foundation repair. How is your home’s foundation connected to its plumbing?
Excessive moisture around the home’s foundation will cause it to deteriorate. This moisture can come from leaking or broken water supply lines or sewer lines. If leaks are not detected, water can soak into the ground beneath a foundation and turn it to mud.
This will cause the foundation to drop or slide. Leaks from a freshwater pipe may also flood the ground below the foundation and result in rapid soil erosion. And in areas with expansive clay soils, if the soil comes into contact with water, it could expand upwards and damage the foundation.
Hydrostatic plumbing tests are required before foundation repair to determine the plumbing state and if the faulty foundation was caused by the plumbing.
Foundation repair process
Repairing a damaged foundation is a significant work that involves installing reinforcing piers in a home. Sometimes, it requires the home’s foundation to be replaced entirely. Any major work on a home’s slab is going to affect the plumbing.
As the slab is lifted, the plumbing might stay embedded in the ground and tear away from the slab. Or even if it is not embedded, the plumbing can become misaligned. This is why foundation repair professionals require a plumbing test after foundation repair.
Without the test, the contractor cannot tell if there are leaks in the plumbing that can damage the foundation again. As a result, the foundation repair company is unable to warranty the repair work they have done. However, if a hydrostatic test is conducted and no leaks are detected, they can give their warranty. Moreover, doing a plumbing test helps the homeowner protect their home by preventing further damage to the foundation.
Why you should do a plumbing test
Repairing a home’s foundation costs thousands of dollars. Conducting a plumbing test, on the other hand, requires a few hundred dollars. Spending $200 – $500 can help you avoid paying thousands of dollars to repair a damaged foundation by a plumbing leak. Doing a plumbing test will prevent you from paying twice to fix the same problem.
If you’re having foundation issues and need help, reach out to our friends at Granite Foundation Repair.