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If you live in a house built prior to the mid-1950’s, your underground waterline might be made of lead or/and galvanized steel. Your underground waterline to your home consists of two parts: City and private. Your private portion can be replaced by any private plumbing contractor with a valid Toronto license. The City side can be replaced later after upgrading your private portion by the Toronto Water division. In all cases, the homeowner is responsible for the cost of replacing the private side, while the City usually replaces its portion at no cost in approximately 12 weeks.
Mister Plumber strongly encourages all homeowners who have lead water service to replace their private portion and therefore reduce the serious health risk directly associated with using water that contains high levels of lead. Lead was used for many years in plumbing - even the word "plumb" means "lead" in Latin. Now, copper or plastic pipes are used for water lines. Unlike some plumbing contractors in Toronto, Mister Plumber uses only copper pipes for replacing of all underground waterlines and pipes. Copper should be used in every home because the ground wire from the electrical panel is connected to the water line, so for proper grounding, this pipe should be of the metal/copper variety. Besides the obvious serious health risks, lead and galvanized pipes at your home’s point of entry are very vulnerable to leaks as a result of their old age; there have been many cases when the waterline starts to leak, neither the old rusty main valve nor the outside curb stop valve work - This causes huge flood damage to your home and property.
Currently, there is a program in Toronto that facilitates the replacement of old existing lead and galvanized pipes in conjunction with the installation of new water meters in those homes where homeowners used to pay a flat rate for water usage. When people from "Neptune" (the company contracted by the City of Toronto to install the new water meters) come to your home, they first check what kind of water service you have. If you have an old lead and/or galvanized main pipe, they give you notice to replace your underground waterline with a new one. Old lead/galvanized pipes can be so rusty that one tap from a wrench can burst it; all connections in lead/galvanized pipes are threaded, and it is in these weak points where problems always begin.
Please call Mister Plumber at 416-939-1530 and get a quote to replace your old waterline. By choosing Mister Plumber you will have some benefits:
- your underground water line will be replaced with copper and your electrical panel remains properly grounded
- you will remove all lead pipes from your property (your private side), which will greatly reduce major health risks
- with a new pipe installation, you will get a brand new and reliable main shut-off valve, that protects your property from major water damage
- we use torpedo and other specialized tools in order to lessen any potential disturbances to your landscaping ( in some cases we even take pictures of your landscape in order to replant your flowers or bushes the same way it was before)
- prices to replace your main water service are the most affordable to homeowners in Toronto
- Mister Plumber is a Toronto licensed contractor, with many years of experience in providing top quality work, always using top quality materials
- we are very flexible and are capable of completing waterpipe replacement within one week
- you will resolve your issue with low water pressure ( in some cases water pressure increases by 15-20 PSI )
- if necessary, we do water line location using precise equipment
Water Leak? There are a few things you can do prior to calling your water department and a Local plumber.
Make sure no one is using any water, and shut off the ice maker, then go out and look at your water meter. Does your meter have a little flywheel on it; is it or any part of it moving? This is a good indication that there may be a leak. If your meter has several dials on it, take note where the needle is at on each one. Leave the water off for 30 minutes and check back and note where each needle is pointing. If any needle has moved, this is an indication of a leak.
Next check your toilet, is it running? Look in the tank and verify the water is below the over flow value. Put a little food coloring in the tank and let it sit for at least an hour. After an hour check the toilet bowl, is the water colored, if so the tank is leaking into the bowl. That could be the leak.
If its not leaking, check all the faucets and verify they're not leaking. Check all visible water lines, look under the sinks, the hot water heater, the refrigerator and ice maker line, behind and under the washer, and verify they're not leaking. Check the outside hose bib faucets and verify they're not leaking. If you have a crawl space under your house, check and make sure it is dry and no pipes are leaking.
Walk around outside and look for any obvious puddles or pools of water that aren't usually there. Check for mushy areas.
Now call the water department and explain your water bill shows your consumption is up and a dial on the meter is moving when all the water in the house is turned off. They will then ask if you did all of the above. If they don't offer to put in a work order to check your meter, ask them to come out and confirm your meter is working correctly and that you really have a leak.
When the water company inspects the meter they will confirm whether it's working properly and if there is a water leak. They should be able to tell you if it's a slow leak and safe to wait until the ground is dry before finding and fixing it or if it needs to be repaired immediately.
If your ground is saturated with water or snow from the winter, it may be difficult to find the leak right away. This could cause more problems.
Ask the water company for suggestions on how to find a leak in the underground water pipe. One suggestion they provided is to poke a metal rod into the ground along the underground water line. If the rod is glistening when it comes out of the ground, you may have found the leak. If the rod is just damp its probably surface water.
If you don't know where you water line is, call a local plumber and they will find it and repair it. There are also leak detection companies that can find the leak. Ask the water company for referrals or recommendations. If they can only give the name of a company, check the company out with the Better Business Bureau. When you call the company, ask them for referrals. If they are a reputable business they should be able to provide references.
Results of Failing to Utilize Underground Water Leak Detection Services
Underground water leaks result in more problems than you might think. Water leak detection services exist to not only save you money, but to save one of our world's most valuable resources - fresh water. The following are results of not utilizing a professional for underground leak detection when you think you have a problem.
High Water Bill
It's an undeniable fact that allowing an underground water leak to go undetected will drive your water bill through the roof. If you have a leak and you fail to utilize underground leak detection services, you will cost yourself thousands of dollars over the course of a single year. If you want to give away your hard earned money, why not hand it over to a worthwhile charity? Don't give it to the bill collectors in exchange for wasted water.
An underground water leak may eventually lead to wet floors in your home. Allowing water to penetrate your home is like giving an entry ticket to mold and other allergens. Once mold spawns in your home, you're in for more trouble than you can imagine. Not only does mold invade spots around wet walls and floors, but it gives birth to spores which eventually take flight in the air your family breathes. At best, airborne mold spores cause annoying allergies. At worst, they spread like wild fire and could even turn deadly. Simply utilizing underground leak detections services will save your health and money.
An underground water leak spews water into the earth beneath your home. Eventually, the softening earth will shift, which could lead to a cracked foundation. Imagine the money you'll throw away on foundation repair! And don't think you are safe just because your home has a crawlspace or basement instead of a slab foundation. Failing to call a professional that provides underground leak detection can rot the joists in your crawlspace and crack the foundation walls in your basement, causing just as much damage as a cracked slab.
Destroy Your Yard / Home
Sometimes a homeowner will realize he has an underground leak, but won't want to spend the money to have a company come in and sniff it out for them. Instead, the homeowner embarks on a ghost hunt, digging trenches in the yard and cutting holes in the wall. After spending lots of time and money, they still can't find the leak. Make no mistake about it- underground leak detection is best left to the pros and it's well worth the money.
Saving water not only saves you money but it helps save our natural resources. Our world is in a fresh water crisis and if you let a water leak go undetected, you aren't doing your duty. By using a water leak detection service, you can save innumerable gallons of water, making our world a better place.
Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program
Replacement of the lead pipe that delivers water to your home is the best way to reduce exposure to lead from drinking water. This means you should replace both the privately-owned section of the pipe (the pipe that runs from the property line to the meter or into the home) and the City-owned portion (the pipe that runs from the watermain to the property line). You can do this through the City's Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program.
Starting in 2011, the City will target 1,500 priority lead water service replacements each year. Priority replacements are where the property owner replaces the privately-owned section of the lead service at the same time or before the City. In these cases, the City will replace its portion in up to 12 weeks, weather permitting and based on available funding. A letter will be issued to property owners to notify them of the timing for the replacement and name of the contractor performing the work on behalf of the City.
Benefits of the Lead Pipe Replacement Program
All lead (and otherwise sub-standard) water service connections replaced over a nine-year period.
Improved drinking water quality for Toronto residents.
Improved water pressure/flow for homes with smaller water service connections (as typically installed in older homes).
Home owner’s responsibilities When your home’s water service connection is being replaced, the City will replace its portion of the water service connection (which runs from the water supply system to your property line) at no expense to you.In order to ensure the improvement of water quality and/or pressure in your home, the City recommends that you replace the portion of the pipe running from your property line into your home. As the home owner, you are responsible for the cost of replacing the private portion of the water service connection.
Before the City begins any replacement project, the home owner will be notified in writing. The contractor hired by the City for this work can provide an estimate for replacing the private portion of the pipe if you wish to use their services. As the property owner, you are not obligated to use the City’s contractor for the replacement of your portion of the pipe. But having the work done at the same time is recommended. You can bring in your own contractor to do this work, or use the City’s contractor.
When replacing your portion of the pipe, you must agree to have a water meter installed (orreplaced if your current meter is an older model).
The water meter will be provided by the City at no charge to you, but the installation costs are your responsibility. (The City will pay for installation only if there was no meter on your property previously.) Also, once the installation work is complete, you must notify the City so the water meter can be inspected.
What is the Lead Pipe Replacement Program?
The City of Toronto’s water supply system (the distribution system that delivers clean, safe drinking water to all homes and businesses in Toronto) has no lead pipes. The system is consistently tested for lead (along with other impurities) and tests results show no lead contamination exists in the system.
If your home was built before 1955, it may have been connected to the City’s water supply system with lead pipes. As these pipes age, they can release small amounts of lead into the water. The City of Toronto is committed to removing all lead pipes and replacing them with standard 19 mm (3/4 inch) pipes made of approved materials such as copper.
Through its Lead Pipe Replacement Program, the City will replace its portion of any lead water service connection on City property (the pipe running from the water supply system to your property line) at no cost to the property owner. Replacement of the private portion of the water service connection (the portion of the pipe running from your property line to your home) is your responsibility as the property owner.
source: misterplumber.ca, toronto.ca