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Why a Water Supply Line Breaks and How to Handle It

    Water main break on public street

    Water main break on public street

    Your dreams have come true! You have a pool in your yard!

    The bad news is you never had one installed and it appeared overnight.

    What you likely have is a broken water line.

    The water supply line is connected to and allows water to your Chicagoland property from the public main water service line, usually found under the road that passes by your home. It’s usually very stable and we hardly think about it. However, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 240,000 water supply line breaks occur each year.

    A leak in one of these lines can spell big trouble for a property owner. The flooding it causes can severely damage your home or business, along with its landscaping. So getting it fixed ASAP is vital. The longer the problem exists, the more damage will be inflicted.

    Who’s Responsible for Broken Water Lines?

    Since the water main line is connected to the city line, isn’t the municipality responsible for repairs? Unfortunately, no. Chicago area homeowners own the water service lines that run through their property, so you’re responsible for them.

    Repairs to these lines are usually very expensive and disruptive. To get to the break, backhoes may need to dig up a large section of your yard or driveway. And since these repairs aren’t covered by a standard homeowners policy, you’ll likely have to pay for them out of your pocket. The average cost for repairing a water supply line is in the $500 to $4,000 range, contingent on the seriousness of the damage and the ease of access.

    Reasons Water Lines May Leak

    Most people believe that extremely cold weather is what makes water lines break and leak. But several causes are possible:

    • Excessive temperatures. Weather that’s very hot or very cold can cause the soil to shift, putting stress on the water line and may rupture it.
    • Aging pipes. Nothing lasts forever, including water lines. The older they get, the greater the chance they’ll deteriorate and develop cracks or corrode.
    • Soil erosion. Strong winds, hard rains, and flowing water over time can lead to soil erosion, causing sudden shifting of the ground. This can cause breaks in the water line.
    • Human error. Using excavating machines for any reason in places where you shouldn’t is a major cause of broken pipes. First, call 811 or go to Chicago’s 811 center website to find the approximate location of buried utilities.
    Common Warning Signs of Broken Water Lines

    By paying attention to the following signs, you can save money and decrease the damage that a broken water line can cause:

    1. Brown or rusty water. If your water was always clear before but suddenly becomes discolored, it could indicate that soil and/or rust are leaking through cracks in the water line.
    2. Pools of water on your property. If puddles are showing up and there hasn’t been any rain recently, you could have a problem. But before assuming the problem is a broken water supply line, first, make sure it’s not caused by another issue such as a malfunctioning irrigation system.
    3. Low water pressure. Water leaking from a broken water line can cause the water pressure to drop. The lower the pressure, the more severe the problem.
    4. A big increase in your water bill. Did your water bill recently go from reasonable to ridiculous? If you have a break in your water line, that means that water is constantly running and will continue until it gets fixed.
    5. Structural damage. This will only be noticeable if the leak is small and has been going on for a while. Water is a natural solvent and will over time rot the frame of a building. A concrete foundation can also be affected as it can absorb water in every little crack and eventually fracture it. If you notice issues like these, contact a trusted contractor to find their source.
    6. Strange noises. A leaking water line can make a “hiss” or “whoosh” sound. Also, when a water supply line breaks, air can enter the pipe and cause bubbling or gurgling noises when toilets are flushed and faucets are used. If you hear anything like that, call a plumber immediately to check it out.
    When a Broken Water Line Causes Damage


    If you need your water supply line repaired or replaced, call a licensed and reputable plumbing contractor. Once the break is repaired, call Chicago’s IICRC-trained and certified water damage specialists at ServiceMaster By Simons. We’ll extract all standing and excess water and moisture that may still be on your property and in your home following the break. Then we’ll dry and dehumidify all affected areas using our advanced drying equipment, followed by disinfection and deodorization.

    We hope you never have to experience a broken water supply line. But if you do, remember that help is nearby!

    Choose a Trustworthy Company

    ServiceMaster By Simons is a reputable disaster restoration company you can rely on. We’ve been in business for many years and take great pride in serving the expansive Chicago metropolitan area and its surrounding suburbs. Our company stands as the preferred choice in Chicagoland for both commercial and residential disaster restoration services. Our expertise includes Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Smoke Odor Removal. With a team of highly skilled professionals who are certified by the IICRC, we’re equipped to handle insurance claims of any size. Call 773-376-1110 or contact us online.


    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

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