Water main leaking in front yard

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Titan7, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Titan7

    Titan7 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    2nd problem of the day. I noticed in the front of my house where the water line comes in the house and the hose bid is that the river rocks I have for ground cover are now under water and I can see the damp dirt around the surrounding areas. I am assuming I have a leak on the main suppy to the house. The last couple of months my water bill has been sky high, I could not figure out why. The street meter is about 30 feet away strait line from where I am seeing the water. I am hoping it's broken near the house so they do not have to break up the cement walkway:eek:

    I have a good plumber coming out on Wed, that's the soonest he can come out. Is this a job for a plumber or do I need some sort of specialist?

    thanks!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    leak

    It is a plumber's job and may be a connection between a PVC and copper line near the house or near the meter.
  3. Jay Mpls

    Jay Mpls Master plumber

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Water and sewer company may have to set you straight on this problem.
    How old is your house.What part of the country are you in.Newer line may just require a spot repair.Not uncommon to find lead coming in from the street here!
  4. Titan7

    Titan7 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    I live in Southern CA. The house is 30 yrs old. We had a pretty good earthquake about 2 months ago and since then the city has had to repair two underground waterleaks on my street.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Might be worthwhile to check your homeowners insurance. If the damage was earthquake caused, it might be covered.
  6. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Also call the water company once the leak is found and fixed. They may have a policy of leak forgiveness so you don't have to pay a huge water bill.
  7. Titan7

    Titan7 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Well the plumber came today, the Poly supply line cracked at the hose clamp where it met up with the copper going into the house. Estimates were as follows:
    $800.00 to repair it.
    $2200 to replace the supply line to meter with PVC
    $2800 to replace supply line to meter with copper.

    I almost fell over, not sure if these are out of line in So. CA or not. I went with the repair, since I have had no issues in 30 years. I did not want to spend 2-3k for a total replacement. My plumber said the repair could last a week or forever.

    So did I get hosed?
  8. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Always ask for an itemized bill with man hours and rates. A typical billing rate of $75/hour means that he should have worked over ten hours. I think you got the shaft.
  9. Titan7

    Titan7 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Thanks, they were here 4 hours @ $200.00 per hour, hell I am in the wrong business. Thanks for the tip but I no plumber around here works on a hourly rate for this job. I called 3 places.
  10. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    So two guys at $100 each? That's crazy. And they won't guarantee their work.
  11. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Water main leaking

    Hate to say this but for $2800.00 and a 30' run to the street i could have just about installed a new 1" gold plated copper line and warranted it
    till your grand children died of old age ! !

    P. S. E-MAIL WITH INFORMATION AND I WILL TELL YOU HOW TO POSSIBLY ? ? GET SOME MONEY BACK ?
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,770
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Plumbing rates are variable depending on "where" you are, and who "they" are.
    Most people want a quote for the job, not an opened ended hours plus material.

    Without seeing the job, it's hard to second guess.
    The last water service leak I looked at was near an electrical vault, has cable, electrical and gas running in the area.
    Before digging was started, those items were marked.
    Some of the time on these jobs is in the phone calls, and transportation.
    It's like doing a water heater,
    Go to a supplier to get the heater and parts,
    drive over to the job,
    Do the job,
    Then drive to the metal recycle and drop off the tank,
    Then drive back to the shop.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  13. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Water main leaking

    Yes "terry" i know all that;
    and i agree with you but calif. Has open contract laws
    if you can get the homeowner to sign a contract,
    and the sky is the limit,
    just going by what they posted which i know you can't do ! !
  14. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,770
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    MACPLUMB 777,
    Well, I know what you mean, some of these outfits are doubling my pricing.

    But if they signed before the work was started, there isn't much you can do later.
  15. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yeah, like that.;)
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,770
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    At least you now notice how much time is spent for a job that is off site and invisible to the homeowner.

    Like today, I went out and found that the lav problem was the drain, it had completely rotted out.
    It was the forth place we went to before we found a replacement in stock, Darn, should have been charging by the hour.
  17. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    There are typically more unknowns on the engineering side of a job because it involves planning. Typically an owner doesn't know the scope himself at that point in the project. So what I typically do is give people a proposal with an educated guess of a defined scope, my hourly rates and expenses and a NTE budget. If the scope changes then I stop and renegotiate. If the job takes less time then he gets a bargain. If I get stuck on something within the original scope then I charge only up the the NTE price.
  18. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Everything I've done in the last 3 years has been firm fixed price for A&E services; competitive bid. Scope change? Our clients don't go for that so easy any more. Sometimes you make money; sometimes you lose. Overall the margins have been better than T&M or NTE.
  19. Titan7

    Titan7 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    I am not knocking the plumber, I have used them 4-5 times during bathroom remodels. I just thought it seemed high but not much you can do when water is flooding the front yard.

    It seemed pretty straight forward, they dug up the dirt, the leak was at the hose clamp. Now, they had to figure out a way to join the repair to the copper, etc, but there was nothing else.

    I guess I figured it was going to be $1000 to replace the entire service. Never had an issue like this before so I guess sticker shock kicked in.

    I know if it took 4 hours there must have been more to it but all they told me they were going to do is repair the connection.

    I think I will get more estimates before I replace the entire service. I am not paying $3000.00 for a straight 30 foot run that only has to go under the city sidewalk and one 5x3 foot slab. there is nothing else in the way.
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    leak

    It doesn't sound like a two man job in the first place, and unless they were completely incompetent it should not have taken four hours. But when you ask for a fixed estimate, they have to ASSUME it WILL take two men and four hours. If it takes less time they got a bonus, and if it takes longer they lose money. But the odds are that whatever they estimate will be on the hign side so they get more bonuses than losses.
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