City Spotlight: City of Hamilton

Learn how Service Line Warranties of Canada has helped homeowners in the City of Hamilton with their water, sewer and in-home plumbing repairs. “Inside City of Hamilton” host Kinga Muszynski spoke with city officials and SLWC representatives about the program.

Hamilton has seen great interest over the last year with nearly 10,000 active accounts for external water lines, external sewer lines and in-home plumbing and has saved homeowners more than $130,000 in claim repairs.

Canada Water Supplies are Not Unlimited

MP900444789It’s no secret that many areas of Canada are overflowing with an abundance of water, but you shouldn’t take that overstock for granted. Canada is the second largest consumer of water in the world after the United States.

“Canadians mistakenly think we have an unlimited supply of water and rarely give water a second thought to running taps while brushing teeth or other water waste,” said international environmental journalist Stephen Leahy to the Daily Brew. “Canada’s reality is that most waterways flow north to the Arctic. Of our easily accessible water sources like the Great Lakes, many are contaminated – you can’t safely drink them without treatment. Many northern communities are under boil water advisories.”

The Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada 15 of 16 peer countries with a C grade in regards to water, citing that Canada’s water withdrawals are nearly double that of the 16-country average with excessive use blamed on the lack of widespread water conservation practices and cheap water prices. Additionally, water revenues don’t even cover the operational costs to supply water.

Every individual can take a stand to protect Canada’s water supply. Even simple water conservation efforts like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or taking a shorter shower can contribute greatly to the bottom line.

Ready to start conserving? Check out 25 ways to conserve water in your home or yard!

Why Would Homeowners Need a Service Line Warranty?

Plumbing supplies

Most homeowners don’t think about the condition of the external buried water and sewer lines that run from the public utility connection to the exterior of their homes – out of sight, out of mind. In fact, people don’t think about their service lines until confronted with a backed up sewer or leaking water line when challenged to find a reputable plumber and pay for the repair that can cost thousands of dollars. Protecting home and property, usually the single largest investment an individual will make in their lifetime according to Freddie Mac, is a top priority for many homeowners.

  1. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently gave a D (D = Poor) rating to America’s water and wastewater public infrastructure. Additionally, about 30% of Canadian municipal infrastructure is assessed between fair and poor. Homeowners’ water and sewer lines are subjected to the same conditions as the lines that make up the public infrastructure – age, root invasion, ground shifting, fluctuating temperatures and more. While government is addressing the public infrastructure, homeowners are responsible for the cost of repairs to the service lines located on their property. These repairs can cost from hundreds of dollars to upwards of $3,500 per repair, which can be hard on a family’s budget. With a warranty, the homeowner is covered for the repair costs due to normal wear and tear, with no service fees or deductibles.
  1. Several studies indicate that many people are not prepared for these kind of unexpected expenses, even though most have a budget. A recent study by the Federal Reserve suggested that more than 50% of individuals surveyed could not afford a hypothetical emergency expense of $400 without selling belongings or borrowing money. Homeowners work hard for their money and it’s no secret that the expense of owning a home adds up over time. Bankrate’s study revealed that while more than 80% of American’s have aprepared household budget, more than 3 in 5 would have to look elsewhere, such as borrowing from family or using a credit card,in order to cover a small emergencyexpense, not having enough savings to cover the cost. With depleted savings and many of those eligible for retirement unprepared, expensive repairs are just not in the budget.When evaluating monthly expenses, such as a water or sewer line warranty program, homeowners are encouraged to consider what they have in savings and what they can honestly spend each month for protection. For homeowners with limited resources, a few dollars a month to provide peace of mind could outweigh the risk of “if” a failure would ever occur, considering only 38% said they had sufficient savings to cover an emergency expense.
  1. It can be difficult to find a contractor you can trust to do the job right the first time.
    com suggests, “You can’t cut corners here – there are plenty ofbadhandymen out there willing to do shoddy work and charge you a ton of money, and they give the good ones who are eager for your business a bad name.” With a service line warranty, thevettinghas been done, so you know that the contractor sent to make the repair has proper licenses and insuranceandis located within the area.The Western Pennsylvania chapter of the BBB comments on the challenge of locating the right contractor. “Hiring a home improvement contractor toperform work or repairs can certainly be an overwhelming process during anunexpected emergency. It’s also the type of situation that likely has an impact on people’s budgets, which is why it’s important for consumersto be educated on their rights and responsibilities when choosing a contractor.”Our program only uses contractors that have successfully passed a rigorous background check, maintain proper licensing and insurance, and as the program’s representative, are committed to providing exceptional customer service.
  1. Homeowners with a service line warranty are more likely to report a problem and have it fixed quickly, which helps with water conservation efforts and prevents ground pollution. We know the impacts that water main breaks have on water waste: a campaign launched by the National Association of Water Companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that there are 650 water main breaks per day in the U.S., resulting in a daily loss of 7 billion gallons of water. The same failing pipes wreaking havoc with municipal water systems are carrying water to your resident’s homes, and are subject to the same breaks and leaks.


Flood Safety Tips

Many areas of the world are seeing record-breaking amounts of rainfall this summer. With these high concentrations of water come dangers of flooding. Be prepared for flooding with these tips from the The National Weather Service and Get Prepared.

Before a Flood

  • Know flood-prone areas and avoid them when high concentrations of rain are possible.
  • Know the best websites, radio stations and television stations to get local information if a flood is likely. Sign up for alerts on your smart phone to receive notifications of severe weather.
  • Understand the difference between a flood watch (flooding is possible) and warning (flooding is occurring or will occur soon).
  • Know what you will need in the event of an emergency and pack a bag of clothing, essentials and medication in case you need to evacuate.
  • Have an emergency supply of food and water in your home in the event of an extended power outage, unsafe drinking water or impassable roadways that could strand you in your home for a day or two.

During a Flood

  • Listen to news reports on whether the community’s water is safe to drink. During heavy flooding, water sources can become contaminated. Always have an emergency supply of water on hand.
  • If you are encouraged to evacuate to higher ground, do so immediately. Do not “wait it out.”
  • Turn off utilities at the main switch and disconnect appliances in areas of your home that could flood, like basements or the first floor.
  • Do not attempt to walk or drive through moving water if at all possible. It only takes a few inches of water to make you fall or to move a car. If floodwaters surround your car, exit the car immediately and move to higher ground.
  • If you must walk through moving water, use a stick to check the ground in front of you and keep your balance. Even roads and walkways where the water has receded could be weak and collapse under the weight of a car, person or even a pet.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water. Water may also be electrically charged due to fallen power lines, so pay close attention to your surrounding areas.

After a Flood

  • Survey your property for water damage, weak areas of land and downed power lines or trees.
  • Be sure to clean anything that came in contact with floodwaters thoroughly. Floodwaters can contain high levels of bacteria and potentially raw sewage.