How do you decide whether to do a water line replacement or just a water line repair? Thousands of NYC property owners are faced with that question every year when a water main requires repair work. There are sensible guidelines to follow and some sound advice as well. This article will attempt to supply valuable information and helpful advice to the general public.
The three factors needed to make a wise decision:
- The material the existing water main is made out of.
- The age of the existing water main.
- The price difference between a water line repair and a water line replacement.
Water Main Materials
There are three materials presently legal for a water main service line in NYC. They are copper, brass, and ductile iron pipe. For water service lines up to 2″ (which includes the vast majority of water service lines throughout NYC) K copper is used. For a larger water main such as required for a fire sprinkler main or for an apartment building ductile iron pipe is generally used. Brass is usually only used for 2 1/2″ service lines or on special request – which doesn’t occur frequently.
In NYC it is not legal to do a water line repair on a lead or a galvanized water main regardless of the condition or age of the water main. So right off the bat if the line is lead or galvanized pipe a water line repair is eliminated from being one of your options. Typically galvanized water services provide very low water pressure and are prone to rupture without any warning. This is because galvanized pipe rusts and corrodes when it come into contact with water. For more detailed information read this informative article: Water Main Materials Tutorial.
The Age Of The Existing Service Line
The useful life of a typical water service line is around 50 years. Therefore any water service line over 50 years old is not a sensible candidate for a water line repair and a water line replacement should be the only option. Lead and galvanized pipe has not been used in approximately 60 years or more, which is another reason to never consider a water line repair of these materials. Another thing to consider is that metal become brittle as it ages and connecting to an existing water service is always a chancy proposition. For the above reasons a water line replacement is typically the job of choice unless the water line is only a few years old or there is a very substantial cost difference.
The Cost Comparisons
An important thing to consider is that many of the costs in performing either a water line repair or a water line replacement are set. Permit fees, restoration costs, much of the labor, tools and equipment are all required regardless of the scope of work. Material costs comprise only around 20% or so of the cost of a water main job. Therefore there is typically not a tremendous difference in the cost of a water line repair and a water line replacement. A general rule of thumb is that if a repair costs 50% or more of the cost of a replacement to just do the replacement. This rule of thumb can be applied to other purchasing decisions such as when deciding whether to buy “new” or “used”.
It is a company-wide policy and strong belief of the ownership of Joseph L. Balkan Inc. that an educated and knowledgeable Client is our very best customer. Doing the right job is always the priority, not “making a sale”.
About Joseph L. Balkan Inc.
Balkan Plumbing is the largest water and sewer service line company in NYC and was originally founded in 1952 by Joseph L. Balkan. We are licensed by the Department of Buildings. We are also bonded and insured to the fullest NYC requirements. Free and no-obligation site visits are provided 7 days a week, day or night. As a family run NYC sewer and water main company in operation for over 60 years our 10 year guarantee on all full replacement work means we continue to stand by our work after the job is done.
We are expertly equipped from our 48,000 square foot facility which houses dozens of service trucks, heavy equipment, backhoes and an array of pneumatic tools. For all your house sewer repair or replacement, water main, catch basin, fire hydrant, manhole, fire sprinkler service, sewer check valve, trench drain, or any sub surface plumbing work count on Balkan Plumbing to provide quality service at the most reasonable price possible.
Joseph L. Balkan Inc.
130-01 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418
Phone: (718) 849-0900 | Espanol (718) 849-0900
Fax: (718) 849-9570