American Water Resources
, a provider of Service Line Protection and In-Home Plumbing Emergency Programs, is offering Water Line and Sewer Line Protection to homeowners in Vermont.
Until a homeowner experiences a service line problem, many are unaware that they are responsible for the maintenance of the water and sewer lines that service their home. Since repairs to these pipes are not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies, the job of finding, hiring, and paying someone to fix a service line problem falls solely on the homeowner. Without the right services and support, the process can be extremely unpleasant and expensive – costing up to thousands of dollars. Many Americans have misconceptions about what this process entails. Nick Robles, American Water Resources (AWR) Contractor Network Manager, a licensed Master Plumber with 15 years of experience, provides insight into what the necessary steps are to repairing a water line problem:
Step 1. Recognize the Problem
Pooling water or sink holes on your lawn, high water bills, plumbing malfunctions (e.g. can’t use your shower, toilet or sink), and excessive water in your yard or basement are signs that something may be wrong with your water line.
Step 2. Find a Qualified Contractor
Finding a good contractor can be a complicated task. To get started, you need to do your research to determine if they are properly licensed. Once you select a contractor, you will need to manage the relationship, including all follow ups, billing and problems that might arise.
Step 3. Contractor Assessment
Once you get a contractor out to your property, the contractor will have to find the leak and assess the damage. The timing and cost for locating the leak depends on the severity of the leak or break and the length of your service line.
Step 4. Repairs
Before a contractor can begin the repair, the underground utilities must be marked, which can take a couple of days. You will also need to obtain proper permits that can cost anywhere from $70-$200 (additional permits may be necessary if the damage extends under the street). The actual digging and repair can take between 2-3 days and cost you between $1,500 and $3,000.
Step 5. Inspection and Restoration
Once the repair is made, you’ll need to have the site properly inspected to make sure that the repairs have been tested for problems, completed correctly and are up to local code. Restoration including reseeding, usually takes between 4 and 8 hours, but is best completed during the spring and summer months. It usually costs a few hundred dollars. If landscaping or hardscaping, like patios or sidewalks, is disturbed during the repair the cost will increase.
“As you can see, the complexity of such a task is great,” said Robles. “Even if you were to manage the process on your own, you would still incur many of the same costs and would need to use the correct materials and adhere to local codes. More importantly, without the proper expertise, you can do even more damage to your water lines, or inadvertently cause other damage while attempting repairs.”