Thaw Frozen Water Laterals Quickly with an SLWC Warranty

Posted: September 27, 2017
Tagged As: LAS Programming, Sewer & Water Line Warranty

Typical Sewer & Water Line Infrastructure leading to homeI know, I know.  We are still a few months away from the official start of winter, and here I am writing about frozen water lines when it’s warm and sunny outside.  Nevertheless, we live in Canada, and winter is always right around the corner.  Winters in Canada can be cold and harsh, especially the further north you go.  And the colder the temperature, the higher the likelihood the laterals leading from municipal infrastructure into your home will freeze.  Oh, and by the way, if it’s on your property, it’s your responsibly (not your municipality’s).

There are plenty of articles and blogs in cyberspace with suggestions on how to prevent your pipes from freezing (both interior and exterior), but finding a quick solution to thawing frozen laterals after the fact isn’t as simple as entering search terms into Google, particularly when doing so in the dead of winter.  And if you’re experiencing frozen laterals, you’re probably not the only one in your area facing the same challenge.  So when you and your fellow neighbours are at the mercy of Mother Nature, how exactly do you get your pipes thawed quickly when there’s a lineup for plumbers?  Letting your municipal officials know that you’re interested in the LAS Sewer and Water Line Warranty Program is a good start.  Residents are only eligible for the service if their municipality first endorses it.

Why an SLWC Warranty Gets You Faster Service

The premise of a Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) warranty is simple.  For a small monthly fee for each, residents can have their sewer and/or water laterals warrantied against leaking, rusting, rotting, root intrusion, etc.  Ahead of winter, today we focus on coverage against freezing.  In addition to providing coverage up to $5,000 for water lines and $8,000 for sewer lines, SLWC also makes use of local plumbers to complete the work.  And in most cases, plumbers responding to SLWC claims complete the job faster than if the resident handled the issue on their own.  That begs the question, “if it’s the same plumber doing the work, why do SLWC subscribers receive preferential treatment?”  The simple answer is the plumber gets paid faster from SLWC, and there isn’t much haggling over the price tag because SLWC pays the bill, not the resident.
 
Here’s a simple scenario to demonstrate the plumber’s perspective.  A plumber is presented with two frozen lateral jobs that are exactly the same (for demonstration purposes, let’s assume the bill is $1,000).  One of the jobs is for an SLWC subscriber, the other is not.  Most businesses operate on one of either 30, 60 or 90 day net payables, meaning that the non-subscribing resident doesn’t have to pay the bill in full for 30, 60, or 90 days respectively.  That means if the plumber does the $1,000 job for the non-subscribing resident, s/he may not receive the money for a full 3-months (i.e. in the case of a 90-day net payable).  However, plumbers who complete work for SLWC subscribers are paid almost as soon as the work is completed, usually within a few days.  So as a plumber, why would you choose to do a job that you might wait as long as 3-months to get paid that $1,000 for when you can do the same job and get paid almost immediately?

Moreover, there isn’t much for the SLWC subscriber to do in order to get the process started other than make a phone call.  Subscribers only need call the claim line and SLWC take care of the rest, including finding a plumber ASAP.  And provided the cost of the repair does not exceed the cap level, all you need do is pay your low monthly fee (~$6/month for the water lateral).  Compare that to the non-subscribing resident who is tasked with finding a plumber on his or her own, the cost of which may be more than s/he is willing to pay out of pocket, and another question quickly comes to mind.  “If your municipality has endorsed the SLWC service and your municipality regularly endures harsh Canadian winters, why would you not take advantage of the service?”

If the hassle of finding a plumber on your own and the potential price tag associated with thawing frozen water lines isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps the turnaround time for a service call will.  In an especially cold winter in 2015, the City of Hamilton experienced a high number of frozen laterals.  As the first municipality in Ontario to make use of the SLWC service, Hamilton had a mixture of residents that were both SLWC subscribers and non-subscribers.  For those that subscribed to the SLWC service and made a frozen lateral claim, water service was generally restored within 48 hours.  In the case of the non-subscriber, the wait to restore running water was substantially longer, with some residents waiting more than 2 weeks. 

I wouldn’t ever want to be without running water for an extended period of time, but in saying so, waiting 2 days to have it restored seems preferable to 2 weeks.  So if your exterior water laterals freeze on a regular basis or your municipality is in a part of the province that experiences the worst kind of weather this country has to offer, perhaps it’s time your municipality explored the service for its residents.

For more information on the LAS Sewer and Water Line Warranty Service, you can contact Graham Proudley of LAS at gproudley@amo.on.ca or SLWC’s General Manager Jeff Olson at jolson@slwofc.ca.

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