Between 1993 and 2012, winter storms caused $28 billion in insured catastrophic losses in 2012 dollars, according to Property Claim Services. That’s more than $1 billion per year, and remember, that’s only insured losses. Many more homeowners were left out in the cold. In total, water damage and freezing make up 22% of all homeowners insurance claims, with an average claim of $4,024.
Want to avoid unpleasant plumbing surprises this winter? There are a few steps you can take to avoid a plumbing nightmare that could cost you thousands of dollars, which we’re guessing isn’t the way you want to start 2016.
Sewer Lines May Be Out of Sight, But That Doesn’t Mean They Should Be Out of Mind!
There’s a Christmas call familiar to most plumbers, the please help me I don’t know what happened and it’s Christmascall. Ordinarily, someone has neglected plumbing repair in an older home, and when all the cousins and in-laws gather for the holidays, all that extra use puts too much strain on an aging pipe system.
You see, plumbing experts agree that the average sewer lines need to be replaced every 40 years or so. But even new homes are sometimes connected to older clay pipes, which means they can suddenly break unexpectedly. And during the winter, whenever the temperatures fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, pipes inside and outside your home can freeze and break. Outside your home, that’s a problem. Inside your home, a small one-eighth inch crack can leak 250 gallons of water every day, destroying every floorboard, couch, and ceiling in its path.
So what’s the remedy for these plumbing nightmares?
A sewer video inspection is the best place to start. In a past blog post, we published a FAQ for homeowners to know when it’s wise to book a sewer inspection. In short, whenever you’re moving into a new home, if your home or sewer lines are more than 40 years old, and if you’re experiencing plumbing problems.
Since it’s likely too late to worry about the first two reasons, let’s focus on the latter. Plumbing repair is one thing you can’t afford to procrastinate on, especially during the holidays and winter months when your pipes are their most vulnerable.
So if you’re having water back up in your basement, bath tubs, or toilets, you could have a sewer line clog. If you have a leak or frequent clogs, put a sewer inspection on your To Do list ASAP. Common leaks and plumbing problems can usually be fixed, but serious damage could require a total sewer line replacement, which will cost far more.
Finally, review your homeowners insurance to make sure you know what you’re covered for. In virtually all cases, homeowners insurance does not cover sewer line replacement. It may not even cover the water damage that comes from a burst pipe or broken sewer line.
We know that “Book a sewer inspection” isn’t as fun of a New Year’s resolution as going to the gym or improving your online dating profile, but that doesn’t make it any less important.