Customer Ignores Minor Water Main Leak…. Only to Discover Major Problem Down the Road

November 21, 2017

When it comes to water main breaks there are plenty of unknowns. Where is it broken ? Why did it break ? Did someone else cause water main to leak ? And so on and so on. However, with all these unknowns there is one universal truth that every plumber knows for sure, leaks don’t fix themselves. Sometimes I meet a homeowner and they’ll ask how much time they have until a small leak becomes a much bigger issue. There’s no correct answer to that question. It could be 10 hours or 10 days, but you can bet on the leak getting worse.

Recently, I was on an estimate for a minor pinhole leak in a homeowner’s main service line. It was a very small leak at the time and although it caught the homeowner off guard, he thought that he had the leak under control. I advised him to fix the leak immediately because the resulting damage to the basement alone would cost almost as much as the installation of a new water main. Needless to say, he didn’t have the leak under a much control as he thought. Not to long after the estimate he woke up early one morning to a flooded basement. Everything in sight was ruined and he called us in a panic. Luckily, we were able to complete the job that very same day on an emergency basis but in the end his procrastination ended up costing him almost 3x the original cost in cleanup and other repairs.

The leak started like this
The leak started like this

And ended up like this
And ended up like this

What does the installation process look like?

Excavating for new water line install
Excavating for new water line install

Prepared for copper piping
Prepared for copper piping

The new pipe is installed
The new pipe is installed

Final connection inside new location
Final connection inside new location

Lead Pipes are Very Fragile

Aside from the health concerns involving lead pipes, another major thing to consider is their age. Conservatively, any lead water main service can be dated back to at least the later 1940’s before building codes started to change. Lead is a much softer material than copper and even the smallest contact can cause irreversible harm. For these reasons alone, you should never ignore a water main leak. It may seem like small and harmless at the moment but that can change very quickly.

Old lead water line
Old lead water line

Old lead water line
Old lead water line

Keep up with us on Harris Water Main

Quick fix for leaking water main!  Quick fix? What do you think? 

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We are a sub surface water main and sewer plumbing company in New York, yes we know, that’s really specific. But with that said, we really enjoy what we do so we decided to keep documenting and give you a glimpse into some of the work we do that is behind the scenes of what makes this job so great. We’re doing something a little different on the YouTube channel.
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We’d love if you took the time to go watch it and let us know what you think. Thanks for watching! 
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We are at Sullivan St in Manhattan, in the heart of the West Village. Here we  show you how we tackle a leak in a historic property built in the mid 1800s. With only a 3 day notice from the DEP, we work diligently to replace an old 2 inch galvanized pipe with a new 3 inch ductile iron pipe, ensuring the sprinkler line is fixed and working properly. This video is perfect for anyone interested in seeing the inner workings of a professional plumbing repair job and how to tackle leaks in historic properties.
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We are on 9th Ave. in Manhattan. We are replacing a 2 inch copper water main. A laundromat in the area sprung a leak inside the building and decided to replace the entire water main.
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