When installing thousands of water mains each year we have become aware of several factors that the average homeowner may not think of when installing a new water main or replacing a leaking water main.
To avoid freezing pipes we always suggest to keep the water main valve in a warm area in your home or apply additional heat to the designated area if possible. After experiencing the deep freeze as we did in 2017, we experienced a 40% increase in broken and frozen water mains. Most homeowners were not prepared even after living in the house for 40+ years in some cases. Another suggestion is to always keep a small stream of water running on the top floor of your house to reduce the odds of water freezing. The odds are that moving water will not freeze if running at a constant.
In many cases a non-licensed plumber will entertain the idea of repairing a leaking lead water line to keep the cost down and present a less costly option to the homeowner. The average homeowner may not understand the pros and cons of repairing a lead water line, on top of the fact that it is completely illegal.
When connecting to alloys of metal together in the form of a repair, there is a good chance that the pipe will leak again in the future. Repairing a pipe two times will end up costing more than the total cost of replacing the entire water line the first time.
If you have a water line feeding a sprinkler system or greater than 2”, it is imperative that you obtain a DEP on-site inspection. This is another way that a sub-par contractor may cut cost and try to issue a “cheap price” to a homeowner. At the time the homeowner may not know that the inspection is required and will only find out down the road when they try and sell the house, re-finance etc. At this time the city would still require a plumber to be hired and excavate/expose the pipe that was installed which is 75% of the cost for a water main installation.
The most important factor to consider is the experience of the company you are using. It is extremely important to research the company and make sure the hold all of the required insurance policies, are licensed and have the required DOT bond for opening the roadways of NYC.