Why You Need a Plumbing Test after Foundation Repair
A solid foundation is the key to the structural integrity of a home. As such, it is important to regularly inspect it for damage. Generally, signs of foundation damage include:
- Large cracks in the exterior concrete
- Gaps between the wall seams or between the wall and the ceiling
- Cracked drywall
- Sloping floors or staircases
- Windows that are difficult to open or that have cracks in the glass
Foundation repair is no simple process. It involves installing reinforcing piers under your house or even replacing the entire foundation. For the whole process to be completed, it may take anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks.
One important step in the foundation repair process is the plumbing test. A special plumbing test is typically required after the piers are installed and the home’s structure is stabilized.
The plumbing test is required to protect you and your home from unnecessary damage. It is understood that one cause of foundation failure is water from plumbing leaks.
Is a testing your plumbing necessary?
Yes, it is!
A competent foundation repair company will always require one when foundation repairs are done in the plumbing’s vicinity
In some cases, a plumbing leak is the genesis of a foundation problem. This oftentimes occurs in areas with expansive clay soil. Expansive clay soil tends to expand when it gets into contact with water. This expansion causes soil upheaval.
The soil upheaval then puts pressure on the foundation, leading to foundation failure. Left unaddressed, this problem can require the complete replacement of your foundation. As with any other foundation problem, acting quickly is key.
Sometimes, the leak occurs after a repair to the foundation is done. In most cases, it occurs after a house is lifted. As the foundation is lifted, the plumbing remains solidly embedded in the ground.
A slow leak may turn the soil into mud. Mud, needless to say, cannot support a foundation. If the leak is from a freshwater pipe, rapid soil erosion can take place, making the foundation to drop.
Plumbing issues and foundation repair sometimes go hand-in-hand. Before the work begins, be sure you know your contractor’s liability.
How does the hydrostatic plumbing test work?
A hydrostatic plumbing test works by putting your domestic and sanitary sewage systems under tremendous pressure.
An inflatable ball is placed into the main sewer line, either through the drain system under a first-floor toilet or through an outside cleanout. Old houses often don’t have clean-outs. To solve this, a plumber may need to go inside your home and remove a downstairs toilet.
If the test reveals a leak, you’ll need a plumbing repair. Left unattended, leaks can lead to costly foundation damage. It’s for this reason that competent foundation repair companies always insist on a plumbing test after foundation repair. This prevents the re-occurrence of a foundation problem in the future.
How does the foundation affect plumbing?
As you can imagine, lifting a foundation may also cause the plumbing to move as well. Foundation repair services, in some cases, may correct a problem emanating from poorly aligned plumbing.
However, lifting your home’s foundation, whether suddenly during repairs or gradually due to the expansive soil, can also lead to plumbing damage. Because of this, having the plumbing system in your home tested is important.
Can the plumbing break when your foundation is being repaired?
Generally, it depends on various factors. They include:
- The distance of plumbing away from the shift
- Age and quality of plumbing
- The extent of foundation drop
- Soil density around the plumbing
All the aforementioned factors are related to the condition of the pipes, the extent of foundation degradation, and the soil beneath the foundation. All of these factors are beyond the control of the foundation repair company.
Because the contractor is unaware of the plumbing design, a leak may occur during shifting of the structure. Sewage leaks are harder to detect, as they are un-pressurized. Freshwater leaks, on the contrary, are easy to identify as they are pressurized.
Common Signs of Plumbing Leaks
- Wet spots: This is a common indicator of a plumbing problem. Have a plumbing test done if you notice wet spots or discolored areas in the flooring.
- Foundation cracks: House settlement is common even in newer homes. However, if the problem occurs all of a sudden, it could signal a foundation problem.
- Mold and mildew: Damp spots often lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
- Water meter continuously ticking: If no water is being used and the water meter keeps ticking, it’s a sign that water is leaking somewhere.
- A spike in the water bill: Keep track of your water bills if you suspect there is a plumbing leak. If there is a sudden spike, it means water is leaking.
How much does a plumbing test cost?
Depending upon how in-depth the plumbing tests are, the cost of plumbing tests can range from $250-$750.
As you can see, a plumbing test is necessary after foundation repair. It’s the only sure way to safeguard against any potential water damage down the road. As a homeowner, the last thing you want is to fix a foundation problem now and have to redo it again sometime in the future.