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General Testing FAQ's

Why is it necessary to test for sewer or water leak(s) under the slab?

Answer: Because of the expansion/contraction clay soils we have in the North Texas Area, which expands when wet, and contract when dry, an undetected or un-repaired water source which is left under the slab, can/will at some point cause a problem to the foundation structure of the home.

When should a plumbing sewer and water test be done?

Answer: Anytime foundation work is done on a concrete slab, during lifting and leveling it is always possible plumbing pipes could be pulled apart causing a leak. Even after repairs, an undetected and/or unrepaired leak can cause problems to the foundation structure. Therefore we recommend testing under the following circumstances.

  1. Prior to any foundation repair work (Pre Sewer & Water Test)
  2. Prior to any mud jacking/pumping foundation work (MJ Sewer & Water Test)
  3. After and foundation repair work (Final Sewer & Water Test)
  4. Re-occurring sewer pipe stoppage problems
  5. Higher than usual water bills
  6. Prior to the purchase of a home
  7. Preventative maintenance testing is also a good idea. (Recommended at least once yearly)
Wouldn't I know if there were leaks under the home?

Answer: With a fresh water plumbing leak, no more than a few months after a leak would develop; you would be alerted to the leak with higher than usual water bills. The problem is with a sewer leak; there is no measuring device or system, measuring the amount of use per month. The sewer pipes are 2 to 3 feet under the slab with dirt and concrete on top. There are also concrete perimeter beams all the way around the exterior of the home. With this known, any evidence of the leak will only come in the form of structural damage to the home, and at that point it will be too late. We call these leaks "Silent Killers".

Sewer Leak Test

What procedures are used to determine whether there is a leak on the sewer lines under the home?

Answer: An inflatable rubber test ball is inserted into the main sewer line at the clean out area and is inflated to separate the sewer lines under the home from the main line in the yard. The entire system under the home is then filled with water to floor level and monitored for loss. The preferred leak test water level observation point is a commode lead bend, however it is also possible to observe the water level from a stand-up shower drain, main line sewer clean outs at slab level, or any end of the line clean out at slab level.

If it is possible to observe the water level from a commode lead bend, it will require the removal of a commode from the floor. If damage to the commode and/or flooring occurs during the removal and/or resetting of the commode, In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC accepts no responsibility for the damage and will not pay for any repairs and/or replacement of the commode and/or flooring damaged. This includes the removal and/or resetting of a commode during the leak isolation process.

Water Pressure Test

What procedures are used to determine whether there is a leak on the potable water supply lines under the home?

Answer: A pressure gauge is attached to one of the water outlets, then the potable water system is turned off at the meter, and the gauge is then monitored for pressure loss.

General Location FAQ's

What procedures are taken if a leak is detected under the home?

Answer: At this point all we will know is that there is a need for further investigation to determine where the water system is losing pressure and/or the sewer system is losing water. This investigation, which is step 2 of the plumbing repair process is called water and/or sewer leak isolation or sewer leak detection. Call our office for a ($) price quote on this investigation. One important note here is that In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC cannot guarantee leak location unless our company performs the excavation and repair process, see question #11 for more information.

If you perform the location process, can I get someone else to perform the repairs, and/or if I get someone to perform the location can you do the repairs?

Answer: To answer this question we are going to give you the procedures followed by our company in this regard. If someone calls us saying that they have a leak under there home, they know where it is and they would like an estimate from us to repair the leak or leaks, we explain the following. We will be glad to give an estimate to repair the leak or leaks present, however if we excavate to the leak sights and there is no leak present, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to pay us for work performed anyway. Or we offer to the customer that we will provide an estimate for repairs, if they are satisfied with that estimate, we will go in and perform a verification isolation to verify the leak locations are correct, at no cost if the customer uses us for repairs.

If during the verification isolation it is determined that the leak or leaks are not located correctly, then a new estimate amount is given to repair the leak or leaks present. Again at that point, if the customer uses us for repairs there would be no charge for the verification isolation performed. Now if it is determined that the leak is not in the spot determined, there may at that point be an additional charge for performing the regular isolation process to determine the exact location of the leak or leaks present. We take the location process very seriously, because we believe that any company performing these types of repairs takes on the responsibility of the location whether they performed it or not once they excavate through or under the slab.

The only exception to this rule is if the customer does not want to perform the verification isolation, and at that point we clearly explain that they are responsible for all costs whether the leak is present or not. It is our belief that neither us nor any other company should be held responsible for leaks not present at excavation if they performed the isolation but not the excavation. It is the excavation and repair companies' responsibility to verify they are going to the right location. With that said, no our company does not have to perform both the location and repair process, but it is best for you the customer from a responsibility stand-point to have one honest company perform both the location and repair process. We say honest company, because there are some companies out there who are never wrong on the location of the leak, the reason they are never wrong is that if the leak is not present where they said it is, they will cut out a section of pipe and say the leak is fixed and you will never know the difference.

Now with this said they may go ahead and re-test the system and tell you there is still another leak and charge you two or three times for one leak repair, or they may not even re-test the system, meaning you may get charged for a leak repair and never get the leak repaired. You might say that this is not possible, however we know for a fact this is possible, and happens every day in the industry, because several of us came from other companies in this industry where this kind of fraud took place on a weekly basis. This goes back to our opening statement in the who we are section, we are people of integrity, honesty and fairness, who are willing to admit when we are wrong, and suffer the monetary loss which may occur from the error. We can supply you with several names of former customers where these exact situations have occurred. No one in this industry is perfect, including us, because we do not have ex-ray vision we will make mistakes, but we work very hard to be right in every situation, and we will treat you fairly trough-out the entire process.

Sewer Leak Location

How is a plumbing sewer leak(s) located?

Answer: This is a process called Sewer Leak Isolation or Sewer Leak Detection . We want to isolate the leak(s) under the home by breaking the system down into smaller parts, by using different sized inflatable test balls and air hoses. We strategically place the test balls into the system to test section by section of the system until the leak(s) is located. We can also use a special tool called a sewer video camera to be able to see inside the sewer pipes. However many times, what may look like a leak on the camera may not actually be a leak, so using the camera only to locate leaks, is not a correct location technique.

Water Leak Location

How is a plumbing water leak(s) located?

Answer: This is s process called Water Leak Isolation . First the water system is turned off at the meter. Then we pump air from an air compressor into the water lines, which forces the water still in the lines out. Then we try to determine the location of the water lines under the slab. Once the water lines are located, we use a special listening device to listen for air escaping from the pipe, to pinpoint the location of the leak. It is important to note here, that when locating a water leak, it is only possible to find one water leak at a time, once a leak is located, that leak must be repaired and another test performed to verify there are no further leak(s). This means that it is possible to have more than one location charge and/or repair charge. However with that said, the overwhelming majority of houses tested do not even have 1 water leak, and the majority of houses with water leaks only have one leak present. It is just important for you to know what could happen.

Sewer Clean Out Installation

What is a sewer clean out?

Answer: A main line sewer clean out is one or two pipes that normally stick up a little out of the ground, usually in the front or back yard of the home, and typically in the flower bed areas around the home. Basically this would normally be with-in 2 to 4 feet of the edge of the foundation. This clean out is one or two pipes that tee directly into the main sewer line, its purpose is to allow for something, normally a sewer machine cable to be inserted into the sewer line to unstop a plugged sewer line as necessary. We use these clean outs in order to insert a rubber inflatable test ball into the sewer line, or a sewer camera for testing purposes.

Why is it necessary to install a main line sewer clean out?

Answer: Main line sewer clean outs are used to gain access into the sewer line in order to unstop a clogged or plugged sewer line, test for leaks, locate leaks, and video inspect the sewer pipes if necessary.

Sewer Pipe Camera Inspection

A video camera snake can be inserted into the sewer lines in a variety of different ways in order to visually inspect the sewer drain pipes. A sewer video camera is a very useful tool in locating leak(s) with-in an underground sewer drain pipe. However, it is very important that in the overwhelming majority of the cases the camera not be used as a primary leak location tool. The reason for this is, what may look like a leak with a camera, may not be leaking, and the opposite, so it is very important that in leak locating, test balls with air hoses attached to them be the primary leak location tool, and the camera be used to help in the process of putting the test balls in the proper place for testing.

Under Slab Sewer/Water Leak Repair

How is a plumbing leak(s) under the concrete slab repaired?

Answer:

  1. The leak(s) must be exposed. There are two ways to access a leak under the concrete slab. One is to penetrate through the slab, by Jack Hammering a hole, and digging to the leak. The other is to tunnel from outside the slab. To avoid interior reinstatement & inconvenience to the homeowner In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC prefers to Tunnel from outside to expose the leak(s), if at all possible.
     
  2. Once the leak is exposed, we cut the bad section of pipe out, and install a new section in its place.
     
  3. Once the leak is repaired, a final sewer and/or water test is performed before covering the leak(s) to verify there are no further leak(s).
     
  4. Once a no leak result is reached on the final test, we re-insert the dirt back into the open hole / tunnel and then reinstate the concrete if applicable.
     
  5. If it is necessary to access the leak(s) from the inside of the home, by Jack Hammering through the floor, and/or cutting through any sheet rock or wall coverings, In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC's proposal amount does not include reinstatement costs. Furthermore In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC accepts no responsibility for the reinstatement cost of any kind, e.i. floor covering replacement which could include but not be limited to carpet, linoleum, tile or wood flooring of any kind, and does not include any wall covering replacement which could include but not be limited to sheet rock, brick, paneling, tile or wood of any kind. If it is necessary to Jack Hammer through a tile shower bottom with or without a shower pan, to repair a leak at the shower pan or any part of the drain system in or under the slab the following applies. In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC accepts no responsibility for reinstatement cost to reinstall the shower pan and/or the tile of any kind. This statement ( # 5 ) includes at time of original repairs and/or warranty repairs.
     
  6. It may be necessary at some times to repair 1 leak and re-test the system to determine if there are any further leak(s). In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC will submit a proposal for specific work to be performed, if it is determined that additional work is needed, additional costs will apply for the additional work.

If you perform the location process, can I get someone else to perform the repairs, and/or if I get someone to perform the location can you do the repairs?

Answer: To answer this question we are going to give you the procedures followed by our company in this regard. If someone calls us saying that they have a leak under there home, they know where it is and they would like an estimate from us to repair the leak or leaks, we explain the following. We will be glad to give an estimate to repair the leak or leaks present, however if we excavate to the leak sights and there is no leak present, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to pay us for work performed anyway. Or we offer to the customer that we will provide an estimate for repairs, if they are satisfied with that estimate, we will go in and perform a verification isolation to verify the leak locations are correct, at no cost if the customer uses us for repairs.

If during the verification isolation it is determined that the leak or leaks are not located correctly, then a new estimate amount is given to repair the leak or leaks present. Again at that point, if the customer uses us for repairs there would be no charge for the verification isolation performed. Now if it is determined that the leak is not in the spot determined, there may at that point be an additional charge for performing the regular isolation process to determine the exact location of the leak or leaks present. We take the location process very seriously, because we believe that any company performing these types of repairs takes on the responsibility of the location whether they performed it or not once they excavate through or under the slab.

The only exception to this rule is if the customer does not want to perform the verification isolation, and at that point we clearly explain that they are responsible for all costs whether the leak is present or not. It is our belief that neither us nor any other company should be held responsible for leaks not present at excavation if they performed the isolation but not the excavation. It is the excavation and repair companies' responsibility to verify they are going to the right location. With that said, no our company does not have to perform both the location and repair process, but it is best for you the customer from a responsibility stand-point to have one honest company perform both the location and repair process. We say honest company, because there are some companies out there who are never wrong on the location of the leak, the reason they are never wrong is that if the leak is not present where they said it is, they will cut out a section of pipe and say the leak is fixed and you will never know the difference.

Now with this said they may go ahead and re-test the system and tell you there is still another leak and charge you two or three times for one leak repair, or they may not even re-test the system, meaning you may get charged for a leak repair and never get the leak repaired. You might say that this is not possible, however we know for a fact this is possible, and happens every day in the industry, because several of us came from other companies in this industry where this kind of fraud took place on a weekly basis. This goes back to our opening statement in the who we are section, we are people of integrity, honesty and fairness, who are willing to admit when we are wrong, and suffer the monetary loss which may occur from the error. We can supply you with several names of former customers where these exact situations have occurred. No one in this industry is perfect, including us, because we do not have ex-ray vision we will make mistakes, but we work very hard to be right in every situation, and we will treat you fairly trough-out the entire process.

What is the warranty period on any under slab plumbing work performed?

Answer: Our under slab plumbing repairs are covered by a One Year Warranty which covers all labor and materials to excavate to the leak(s) repaired, repair the leaking area, and back-fill the excavated area. As in the original plumbing repair process, this warranty includes standard replacement materials only, and does not include replacement of any finish work, i.e., Sheet rock, Paint, Flooring, Ceramic Tile, etc. This warranty is also voided if any work is performed which compromises the integrity of the plumbing repairs perform, such as foundation movement or repair work, mud-jacking, mud-pumping, any other digging, underground vibrations, etc. If repairs are performed and during the 1 year warranty period you suspect a leak at the repaired area, we must be contacted immediately, and given an opportunity to investigate. In-House Plumbing & Service, LLC will verify whether there is a leak present on repairs previously performed, at no charge, unless one of the voided situations above is applicable. However if any other work must be performed, all work will be billed at regular rates.

Should the leak(s) be repaired before or after any foundation work?

Answer: From an honest plumbers stand-point, the best time to isolate/locate and/or repair the sewer and/or water leak(s) under the slab is after any foundation work is completed. Anytime any lifting and/or leveling is done on a foundation, it is always possible to pull plumbing pipes apart, causing a leak(s). There is no foundation repair company which takes responsibility for leak(s) that develop as a result of lifting and/or leveling. Therefore In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC. always suggests that the plumbing repairs be done after any foundation work that may be done. We have found that it is hard enough to pay for these types of repairs once, more less twice. However, there are a few reasons why it may not be possible to perform the foundation repairs prior to the plumbing repairs.

  1. If there is coverage in your homeowners insurance policy, the insurance company may require that the investigation and/or leak(s) repairs be performed prior to any foundation work being done. This decision must be discussed with the homeowners insurance company involved in the process. In-House Plumbing & Service, LLC is not the insurance company, and must differ completely to the insurance company for all coverage issues.
  2. From a foundation repair stand-point, it is sometimes necessary to repair the plumbing leak before any foundation work is done, and let the dirt under the foundation dry out for a period of time. This may be necessary, if the foundation repair company and/or engineer believes that there is a possibility the leak may have caused the foundation damage, and with the leak repaired, there may be a possibility no foundation work would need to be performed. This decision must be discussed with the foundation repair company, and/or the engineer involved in the foundation repair process. In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC has no experience in the foundation repair business, and must differ completely to any foundation repair company and/or engineers opinion in this matter.
  3. If mud-jacking/mud-pumping (MJ ) is also required during the foundation repair process, it will be necessary to repair any plumbing leak(s) under the foundation before any MJ can be completed. In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC's recommendation in this situation, if you want the plumbing repairs to be done after the foundation repairs is as follows. First perform any lifting and/or leveling to the foundation, then repair any plumbing leak(s) that would need to be repaired, then the MJ can be performed. After all foundation repairs have been completed including any MJ work, then a final sewer and water test can be performed to make sure there are no further leak(s) in the plumbing systems under the home.
  4. If foundation repairs are done before the plumbing repairs, you must be prepared to repair any plumbing leak(s) after the foundation repairs, because any undetected and/or un-repaired plumbing leak(s) left under the foundation especially after foundation repairs, could cause the foundation to shift and/or move again.

Tunneling

This is the process of digging on average a 3 foot x 3 foot x 3 foot hole under the concrete slab of a home in order to expose something. In leak detection & repair, this would be used to expose a broken sewer drain pipe in order to repair the broken pipe.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage FAQs

Would my Homeowners Insurance Company/Policy cover any of the cost associated with the plumbing repairs?

Answer: In the past, most Homeowners policies covered the majority of the costs to repair these types of leaks, However at this time, most of the companies have taken this type of coverage out of the policies. If there is coverage, typically the Insurance Company would pay for the Testing, Location/Isolation, and the Access/Egress portions of the repairs. You the homeowner would be responsible for the deductible and the plumbing cost to repair the actual leak(s). Please see question #14 for more important insurance information.

Would my Homeowners Insurance Company/Policy cover any of the cost associated with foundation repairs?

Answer: Foundation repairs are not covered in any policy, However if the Insurance Company determines that there are leak(s), and that there is coverage for those leak(s), than they may do an investigation to determine if the leak(s) caused the foundation damage. Only if there is coverage for the leak(s), and if it is determined that the leak(s) caused the foundation damage would they cover some or all of the foundation repair cost. In our experience it is very rare that someone would receive any coverage for foundation repairs. However, this investigation cannot be completed by the insurance company unless the evidence to investigate is still intact, meaning that no foundation work con be completed until the insurance companies investigation of the evidence is complete. Once the foundation repairs have been completed, the insurance company will not be able to perform the proper investigation to determine if the leak(s) may have caused the foundation damage. With this in mind, if you would like to get help from the insurance company on foundation repairs, they must be contacted and given an opportunity to investigate the damage prior to any foundation work.

How would I go about finding out if my homeowners insurance policy covers these types of repairs?

Answer: It is important to be very careful how you determine if there is coverage in your Homeowners Insurance policy. If you call the insurance company and let them know you have a leak, and ask them if it is covered, they could file a claim to determine if it is covered. Therefore you could end up with a claim on your record, and get no help from the policy. Because of this, we suggest that you call the agent personally, and explain to him/her that you know someone who has leak under the slab of his or her home, and found out that there is no coverage in their homeowner's policy for these types of problems. Then explain to them that you want to know if your policy would cover anything like that. This method puts it back on the agent to sell you the policy all over again. They cannot afford to put a claim on your record in this type of situation.

Important Insurance Coverage Notes

Answer:

  1. It is important to note that if you have a deductible of $1000.00 or more, it may not benefit you to file a claim. It really depends on how many leak(s) you have, and where those leak(s) are. Therefore we suggest that you have a leak(s) Isolation performed first, then an informed decision can be made on whether or not the insurance company is needed.
  2. If the insurance company does cover some or all of the costs, and a claim is filed, the process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months.
  3. If you are selling the home, with the insurance market in Texas now, a claim on your insurance policy could cause the new homeowners not to be able to get insurance coverage.
  4. If you are looking to get insurance coverage, you cannot do any foundation repairs until the insurance company has performed an investigation. Part of the normal investigation process is repairing the leak(s), which means you may get all the way through the process, get no coverage on plumbing or foundation, and end up having a leak(s) after the foundation repairs are completed. This would mean you repaired the leak(s) 2 times and got no money from the insurance company. This is a very legitimate possibility.
  5. The insurance company may require their investigation plumber come to the property and perform the leak(s) isolation/location testing and report back to them on the findings. The insurance company has the right to use whoever they choose to perform the investigation work needed on the plumbing system, however you the homeowner have the right to use whoever you want to make the repairs needed to the plumbing system(s). Therefore if a separate plumber is obtained for investigation purposes, they will locate the leak(s) sights, report these sight(s) to the insurance company along with a repair method option and price. In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC will repair the leak(s) located for the same price the insurance plumber quotes, unless our normal repair price is less, at which time we will repair them for our normal repair price.

Home Warranty Policy FAQs

I have a Home Warranty Policy, would that policy pay for the costs of these repairs?

Answer: Normally Home Warranty policies have a buy out clause which would come into play on these types of problems. Many of the companies will send a plumber out to perform a test to verify there is a leak(s). Once it is verified that you do have a leak, they will give you a certain amount of money as a buy out. This will leave it to you to get the repairs done. The normal buy out amount is $250.00 to $600.00. It is important to note that anytime there is a leak(s) under the slab, it will be more than $600.00 to find and fix that leak(s). Because of this there is absolutely no reason why the warranty companies plumber would need to do anything but verify there is a leak(s) somewhere under the slab. We suggest, that if they try to require you to do anything else than a test to get the money, you ask them how much they normally charge to find and fix a leak under the slab. Then get them to put that in writing as a guaranteed price.

Steps in a plumbing leak detection & repair Process

Steps in a plumbing sewer and/or water leak detection and repair process

Answer: The process of plumbing sewer and water leak detection and repair is a process that entails a possible 1-3 steps to complete. In-House Plumbing & Services, LLC can perform all three steps of the process if necessary. However, since we will not know if there will need to be further investigation done until we do the initial test, these steps will most likely be performed at different schedule times, over a short period of time. The following is a list of those possible steps in the leak detection and repair process.

Step 1 - Perform a plumbing sewer and/or water test on the plumbing sewer and/or water system under the home. No Leaks Detected - This would be great, and at this point there would be no further decisions to be made Sewer and/or Water System Shows To Be Leaking - At this point all we will know is that there is at least one leak under the slab foundation somewhere. At this point, because further investigation is needed to determine where the leak(s) are, and how many there may be, we really have no idea what it will cost to repair the leak(s). To determine this information it will require going on to step #2, which is the next step in the plumbing process. However, please review the following section numbers to get information on any decisions that might need to be made before going on to step #2.

Example 1 - Leak detected before foundation repairs started, see #5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14.

Example 2 - Leak detected after foundation repairs started and/or completed, see #6, 11, 13, 14 & 15.

Example 3 - Leak detected with no foundation repairs needed, see #6, 11, 13, 14, & 15.

Step 2 - Perform a plumbing sewer and/or water leak isolation/location test. See #5 & #6 of the question and answer section for the process used to isolate/locate these types of leak(s). Once the leak or leaks are isolated/located, a proposal amount can be given to repair the leak(s), which is the third step in this process.

Step 3 - Perform sewer and/or water leak(s) repairs. See #7 of the question and answer section for the process used to repair these types of leak(s).

Payment Information

* All pricing information given verbally and/or written is due immediately upon completion of any work performed. In-House accepts cash, check or all major credit cards. If payment cannot be made as listed, all other payment options must be approved before starting the job by In-House management only.

 

 

 

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