A Guide For Water Main Repair In NYC
As a home or property owner, you may have to deal with doing a water main repair. Or even worse, an emergency water main repair. This is typically due to a leak on your main water service line.
If that’s the case, you’ll certainly have a lot of questions about how to solve your water line leak.
The following is list of essential information you will need to find out:
- Knowing how to determine what material your existing water line is made out of
- Understanding local plumbing code (which materials are allowed to be repaired or must be replaced)
- The age of your water line
- Cost differences between a water main repair or full replacement
For more information, check out our Complete Main Water Main Repair Guide.
When A Water Main Should Be Repaired
You may think a water main repair can be done at any time, and on any line. That is actually far from the truth.
In NYC, for instance, there are strict guidelines of what type of lines can be repaired. It is strictly against Plumbing Code to try to repair a lead or galvanized water line, not to mention it’s poor practice, and in all likelihood a short-lived repair.
Type of Pipe
So your first step is to figure out what type of pipe you have. Lead piping is a dull silver color and very soft metal. Galvanized pipes can be tested with a magnet. If it sticks to the pipe, it is indeed galvanized (note: galvanized is the only water line that is magnetic).
Age Of Existing Pipe
It is generally accepted that (regardless of the material) water service lines last about 50 years or so. Therefore, a key determining factor on whether to do a water main repair or full replacement is finding out the age of your line.
Right off the bat, if your line is lead, it is well over 50 years old. But even if your line is K copper, it can be quite old. Copper water tubing has been used as a material for well over 50 years. So if you have a copper line, some steps have to be taken to figure out how old it is.
One of the ways to know how old your water service line is, is by knowing how old your property is. A second reliable method is by requesting DEP tap records. NYC DEP water records will indicate the age, size, and location of your line.
Water Main Repair Cost vs. Replacement Cost
Always get a written quote for both a replacement and a repair job. The cost differential between a repair vs. a replacement should be a major point to consider. Let common sense rule the day, not the hunt for the lowest cost solution possible.