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chances of galvanized water line failing

ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,258
I'd like everyones OPINION on this as I have no clue what the chances are.

My city water line coming in from the road is considered my problem is if breaks.  I currently have insurance on this through the water company for something like $10 a month.  I think the insurance also covers the sewer line in case of a problem, though the pipe has been there since 1910 when the sewers were put in and it seems pretty solid to me.

I don't know how old the line is but I do know the galvanized pipe I removed last year which is probably about the same age was in good shape.  The insurance ONLY coverage the pipe if it breaks or leaks.  The house was built in 1901 or sooner but I doubt this specific pipe goes back that far as there was a previous pipe laying next to it that I just scrapped. 

If you were me, would you drop the insurance or keep it?
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment


  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,766
    keep the insurance

    The what was a local water co and  now united water in my area did have this program i am unsure if they have contiuned it but for 10 bucks a month it is extra cheap.Around my area it's not cheap to have either water or sewer line replaced so the insurance is a good deal .Only promblem is alot of plumbers who got into working with the water co on these jobs say it does not pay to do it at the rate the water co offers to pay so it can be hard to find a contractor who is willing to do it at there price . It is funny because the areas where they offer this program has all either lead or galv water water services and clay sewers services sounds like a real lose for the water co .In my area home owner is totally responable for water service after the street service shut off and sewer from curb to house .If you have no rusty water or extreme lose in water pressure and volume then that galv service is still good they will not pay for replacement unless there is no water or the service is leaking  as for the sewer usually it has to be videoed before they ok the replacement and that i believe is not covered by the insurance .All in all it does pay for alot of the cost which isfar  better then handing out 8 to 10 k depending on lenght and depth of the service anfd that is a miniun peace and good luck clammy 
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,637
    In California...

    ... where I am, the homeowner is responsible for everything downstream of the water meter and sewer right up to the to the main line. Steel pipe is supposed to have a service life of fifty years, but I see it lasting 80-100 years and still delivering water in places that have good water like San Francisco. If you have not so good water, or difficult soil, it can fail in ten years.

    In your case I'd take a walk up and down the road and look for clues of excavation in the street to see how many have been done recently.  If everyone on the street has had the water main replaced but you, I'd keep the insurance!  :~)

    Yours,  Larry
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,900

    $10 a month is cheap insurance on 100 year old lines.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,881
    what size ?

    Galvanized eventually plugs. I'd find out how much a contractor wants to replace the line. Five years equals six hundred smackers.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,258
    edited July 2012

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Size is 3/4". Goes under our front porch, a sidewalk and probably about 20 feet under the road.

    Flow seems pretty good, and when I ripped out the last of the galvanized pipe after the meter all of it was pretty clean to be honest. I have to assume our water is really good here.

    To give an idea of the age here is a picture of the piping and valves I replaced last year that were almost spotless inside. Sorry for the quality of the picture, but I used my old phone for some reason.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Water Services:

    Some of those galvanized water services are actually wrought iron pipe and not steel pipe. The ones I have ripped up look like they just came out of the mill where a steel one looks like it has a serious case of atherosclerosis

    You may find out that it is wrought iron galvanized pipe. Remember, steel pipe spends its entire existence trying to return to its original form, powdered iron in the earth. AKA, rust. When steel is melted down, it is my understanding that it reverts back to iron. Malable iron and steel pipe are different animals.

    As I understand it.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,637
    Looking at the photo...

    ... I see the back of the "T" had a spot where it was weeping a touch.  You did the right thing replacing it.  It would have been interesting to see the condition of the pipe at the brass valve connections.  If you really are responsible for pipe on the utility side of the meter, insurance sounds like a good idea!

    Yours,  Larry
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    That is cheap insurance

    However...have u thought about the Damage that pipe could do if it lets go>  think about the worst case:  It lets go on a February weekend (your away)it fills your who basement...pouring out the basemnet windows....knocks out the boiler...no heat, all the pipes freeze and ruin your whole house.  Is a $2000-$3000 new line NOT worth doing it BEFORE a disaster occurs?  Old Galvanized gets brittle - especially at it thinnest point...THE THREADS   Mad Dog
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,258
    Of course it is and that would be great/

    However not everyone has $2-3K to spend, i know I sure don't.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Will your homeowner's insurance cover it?

    The typical water company insurance (usually subcontracted to a small insurance company) may cover most of the cost of replacing a broken water pipe coming into your house. But it sure will not cover anything else (consequential damage), so if you know your pipe is near the end of its useful life, and are not prepared to self-insure against the perils Mad Dog suggested, then you cannot afford not to fix it before the inevitable happens. And if you read your homeowner's policy, you will probably find that serious water damage from defective pipes is not covered because the pipe broke because of normal wear and tear.
  • PaulTS
    PaulTS Member Posts: 1
    been there...

    you need to ask very specific questions of your homeowner's insurance company. My 100 year old 1" galvanized pipe ruptured somewhere under our front yard several years ago, and flooded our finished basement when the yard turned into a lake! It turns out that the insurance covered: the cost to excavate down to the bad pipe; the cost to rebury AND landscape when done; AND the flood remediation. So out of a $3500 dollar job, only about $400 was allocated to the "new pipe" and the rest was covered. If your insurance is the same, I would say that $120/year is not worth it... Of course, I pay through the teeth for a premium homeowner's policy...
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