IS THE MAIN MY RESPONSIBILITY OR THE UTILITY COMPANY?
The Main Thing to Remember…
When it comes to plumbing, there are many safe and effective DIY fixes, and you can browse our Plumbing Blog to see many of those. But there are other fixes that require an expert plumber…and a few that require a call to your water company. For a homeowner, it pays to be familiar with the different kinds of issues.
In this article, we’re going to talk about The Main Thing: water and sewer mains. How do you know your problem is in the main lines? Do you call the plumber or the water company? The answers aren’t always obvious, but there are a few guidelines. First, if you see signs of main line problems (clogged toilets, slow drainage, poor water pressure that isn’t linked to a faucet, etc.), call your Tampa Bay plumbing expert, Emory Garland Plumbing, right away. Staying on top of these issues can prevent or delay the bigger ones.
Water Main Lines
And if you think you have a main line leak, try to determine if it is on your side of the meter, or on the utility’s side. One way to tell: if your bill suddenly goes up or the meter runs faster than it should (or if it runs at all after you shut off the house water valve), the leak is going to be on your side – and the water company is just going to keep billing you for the water that’s leaking from your pipes. But if your bill is the same or lower, and you’re just experiencing a general drop in water pressure, the leak is likely on the utility side. So:
- Water usage/bill going up = call a plumber!
- Water pressure/bill going down = call the water company!
In either case, if you guessed wrong, you may get charged for a service call and still have to call the other guy. But at least you have details to give over the phone before anyone comes out, and you made an informed choice.
Sewer Main Lines
With sewer lines, the deciding factor usually is the property line. If the problem is in the public right of way, the utility is responsible but, from the property line to your house, it’s on you to fix the line. We’ve all seen those poor homeowners with torn up front yards…and only imagine what it’s going to cost them.
Costs and Insurance for Repairing Water Mains and Sewer Mains
Remember: while your home insurance may (or not) cover flood damage from failing pipes, it almost surely does NOT cover the cost of repairing lines unless you added a specific rider. To avoid costly main line repairs as best you can, educate yourself about your main lines: older pipes are vulnerable, as are pipes near mature trees/root systems. Clay soils are harder on pipes than sandy soils, and pipes installed before the 1980s are probably made of clay or iron – both easily corroded over time.