A leaking or burst water line can cause serious problems. If you are concerned that your water line is damaged, it is important to have your water line repaired or replaced as soon as possible. At A1 Excavating & Contracting, our talented and experienced technicians can quickly and cost-effectively repair or replace your water line.
What is a water line?
A water line, or water main line, is the channel in which water enters your home. It connects to the city’s water supply. This line is typically located under the roadway and connects all the homes on your block to the city’s water supply. In addition to your water line, your house also has a main sewer line. This is the channel in which all water and waste leave your home.
If your underground water line becomes blocked, develops a leak, or bursts, it can prevent water from entering your house. It can also cause contaminated water to enter your water supply, mold, and flooding.
What are water lines made out of?
Up until the 1950s, contractors used lead pipes to provide water service to both residential and commercial properties. It was once believed that lead would help prevent pinhole leaks in water lines.
Unfortunately, this is not the case and the health and emotional issues connected to exposure to lead have been abundantly documented over the last few decades. Sadly, most properties built before the 1950s are still contaminating their water supplies due to the lead piping.
As infrastructure ages, the level of lead contamination in our water supplies is rapidly growing. In recent years, copper tubing or plastic tubing have been used as a safe and viable alternative for water lines.
If you still have lead pipes contact our New Jersey excavating company to learn more about a water line replacement.
When should I replace my main water line?
If you live in a typical town or city, your main water line will run under your front yard and connect with the city’s water supply. If this line breaks, water can seep out through the cracks in the pipe. You may not be able to see the fluid leaking out of your line. There are, however, some things that you can look for that indicate that you may need a water line replacement. These include:
- Your water bill is higher than normal but your use has remained the same.
- Soft, soggy spots in the ground that are surrounded by dry land.
- Low water pressure or no water pressure.
- Water discoloration.
- Puddles or soggy areas on your lawn despite no recent rain.
- Areas of grass that are much greener and/or growing faster than surrounding areas on your lawn.
More severe cracks in your water line can produce visible spouts of muddy water coming out of the ground. In this case, you should contact the utility company right away to have them come and turn off the water. You may also be able to turn off the water supply yourself if you can locate the main water valve. The valve is typically located near the intersection of your driveway and the road. You will, however, need a water valve key to shut off the water.
Once the water is turned off or if you suspect that there may be a leak it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey excavator as soon as possible to determine if you need a water line replacement. Left untreated, the leak can grow worse and make its way into your home, leading to mold or flooding.
Moreover, water contamination can occur that makes it unsafe to consume tap water in your home. Do not attempt to dig out the water line on your own as it could do further damage.
What causes water lines to leak or burst?
Like any other part of your home, water lines are subject to wear and tear. While most water lines will last over 50 years, others can experience shorter lives due to many factors. Some causes of water line leaks or breaks are:
- Corrosion from the soil or moisture.
- The aging and natural degradation of the line.
- Freezing causes water inside of the pipe to expand.
- Water pressure changes or high pressure that overwhelms the line.
- External pressure changes such as those caused by construction activities or traffic.
Over time, small cracks or holes can develop and expand. Eventually, water will begin leaking or the line will burst completely. Once you notice the signs of a leak, contact a NJ excavating company immediately to determine if you need a water line replacement or water line repair.
How to avoid a burst water line
While a burst water line is unpredictable, there are several preventative measures that you can take to avoid them. These include:
- Properly insulating your plumbing system.
- Undergoing routine pipe inspection and cleanings.
- Contact a professional if you notice reduced water pressure as it can indicate there is a clog.
- Make sure that water is constantly moving through your pipes in the winter. This keeps them from freezing and cracking.
How do you replace a water line?
Repairing or replacing a water line is a major project that should only be handled by an experienced New Jersey excavator and plumber.
The professional will first attempt to locate the source of the leak and will dig a hole to access your water line. Less serious issues can generally be repaired. This often involves cutting off a section of the line and replacing it with a new pipe.
Older homes built before 1960 may have lead or galvanized water lines. Not only do lead pipes pose significant long-term health risks, but local regulations often prohibit repairing them. If this is the case, you will need a water line replacement.
In addition, serious issues with your water line may require that the entire line be replaced. This involves digging a trench to access your line as well as the water main in the street. The old pipe is removed and a new water line is installed from the main to your house.
Repairing Versus Replacing Your Water Line
The decision to repair or replace your water line is often influenced by several factors, including:
- Age. If your water line is more than 50 years old it should probably be replaced. More serious issues can occur as the line reaches the end of its service life.
- Material. If your water line is made of lead or galvanized pipe it should be replaced. Lead pipes can pose serious health risks. Galvanized pipes can corrode over time leading to serious issues.
- Costs. Depending on the issue, repair costs could be 50% or more of the costs of replacing the entire water line. In these cases, many homeowners prefer a water line replacement since a new line will last longer and experience fewer plumbing issues.
How much does water line replacement cost?
Many factors can influence the cost of water line replacements or water line repairs. These include:
- Location. Costs can vary depending on where you live. In New Jersey, water main repair costs are similar to the nationwide average. But in higher-cost areas such as New York City or Orange County, California you can expect to pay significantly more.
- The size of the pipe. Larger pipes are generally more expensive to replace or repair since there are more materials involved. Moreover, the length of the pipe from your house to the street where the city’s water line is located influences the cost.
- The shape of the pipe. Some water lines are completely straight while others include many twists and turns. Straight pipes are easier to repair or replace since the contractor typically does not need to dig up additional access points.
- The location of the pipe on your property. If your water line runs under your lawn it is relatively easy to access. However, if your water line runs underneath your driveway or flower beds, it can require significantly more excavation work.
- The condition of the pipe. It is generally cheaper to repair a water line than to replace it. In some cases, the pipe cannot be repaired. For example, if the pipe is collapsed or wastewater is running into your home, it will be necessary to dig it up to replace it.
While costs differ based on these and other factors, as a general rule:
- It costs between $500 and $1,000 for water line repairs or replacing a portion of the water line pipe.
- Water line replacement of the entire main line can cost between $1,500 and $5,000. But in most cases, the costs will range between $2,000 and $3,000.
Who do I call to replace my water line?
If your water line bursts or you suspect that your water line could be leaking, contact A1 Excavating & Contracting LLC. Our experienced and dedicated team has proudly served the tri-state area for more than 30 years. We are experts in all aspects of water line repair and water line replacement. Every member of our team stands behind the work that we do.
If you are looking for water line repair NJ, contact us today to receive immediate and professional assistance.