All pipes are not created equal

pvc pipe on siteDo you know what kind of pipe delivers fresh water to your home and removes wastewater? Depending on the age of your home and whether you’ve had any problems, your utility lines could be made of a variety of different materials such as PVC, cast iron, ductile iron, galvanized steel, copper, concrete, steel and asbestos cement. Lead pipes were also used for a period of time, but they have been phased out due to health issues and poisoning.

The substance of which your pipes are made plays a major role in potential failure because each reacts differently to factors such as age, normal wear and tear, temperature changes, ground shifting and more. While nothing lasts forever, research shows that PVC pipes have the lowest overall failure rate when compared to other popular materials. Additionally, the number one reason for failure is corrosion.

“Nearly 75 percent of all utilities have corrosive soil conditions and combined with a high portion of old cast iron and ductile iron pipes, corrosion is ranked the second-highest reason for water main pipe failure in the United States,” said Steven Folkman, a USU mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, who completed the pipe studies using data from 188 utilities. This data represents approximately 10% of the nation’s installed water mains. “When comparing older cast iron and newer ductile iron, thinner-walled ductile iron is experiencing failures more rapidly.”

While pipes won’t last forever, it’s common belief that they will last for 40 to 60 years or more; however, that’s not always the case. A pipe installed just days ago could rupture for any number of reasons. For example, extreme weather like drought or excessive rainfall may reduce the life expectancy of the line according to the SLWA Contractor Services team.

If you’re curious as to the age or type of pipes that are buried underground outside your home, check your bill of sale or blueprints or a plumber can do an inspection of your lines and provide this information. Inspections are not part of the SLWA warranty coverage.

What is Earth Day really about?

iStock_000001472480Medium Green Solutions SlideApril 22 marks the 45th Earth Day celebration. The holiday is devoted to building an awareness for environmental needs and understanding of how our actions impact the Earth.

Earth Day Founder U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson created the movement to fight water and air pollution and encourage people to recognize the need to protect the environment on a global scale. Earth Day has had the unique ability to bring people of all ages, income and ethnicity together in an effort to protect and save the environment – we simply cannot survive without it. It provides us with a stable climate, clean air, food and water.

In many parts of the country, local governments are focused on reducing their carbon footprint through the use of renewable energy resources and in an effort to become a Green City. Because nearly 50% of all carbon dioxide emissions come from commercial and residential buildings, new construction is focused on using renewable energy – making the buildings both efficient and sustainable. Efforts such as improving building codes and installing solar panels can help reduce energy use drastically. Many leaders dream of the “city of the future,” where solar-powered public transportation, electric cars and energy-efficient homes will be the status quo.

These ideas may seem crazy now, but could soon be a reality and the norm.

How to Celebrate Earth Day

  • Attend an educational event. You can find one here:
  • Grow something! Plant a tree, flowers or bushes.
  • Make nature crafts.
  • Learn more about the environment at your local library.
  • Host an educational session for your friends or children, or at a local school (with permission).
  • Recycle and repurpose.
  • Hold a garage sale or donate unused items.
  • Clean up litter.
  • Buy earth-friendly materials.
  • Save energy by upgrading outdated appliances and turning off lights and electronics when they are not in use.
  • Ride a bike or take a walk instead of driving.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Take shorter showers.

Learn more about Earth Day initiatives at

Will my water or sewer line actually break?

iStock_000001999339SmallYes – they can! It’s a common misconception that water and sewer lines will last forever. Buried many feet beneath the ground’s surface, the lines are out of sight and out of mind for most people – until there’s a problem. Every day, more than 850 water lines break in North America alone – with higher numbers in the winter months when temperatures drop quickly and freeze the lines.

Many homeowners are unaware that they – and not the city or water utility – are actually responsible  for the portion of the line that generally runs from the public connection to the point of entry into the home.*

Communities are starting to address aging public infrastructure concerns through government assistance and programs, but homeowners are faced with the same issues and left with few options. Through the Service Line Warranty Program, your community leaders are giving homeowners an option to protect their aging private infrastructure when in need of repair from a variety of causes such as:

Root Intrusion

Trees can be dangerous for water and sewer lines as the roots permeate small cracks in the lines in their search for moisture or heat. Roots invading a sewer line can cause clogs, resulting in sewage seeping into the yard.

Ground Shifting

As the ground composition changes from rain, snow and periods of drought, the ground can shift, prompting cracks, misalignment or even a collapse. Areas prone to earthquakes are especially vulnerable to ground shifting.


Extreme fluctuations in temperature, drought and heavy rain or snow can drastically affect the life expectancy of your water and sewer lines causing corrosion, accelerated soil erosion and cracks. A slight change of only 10 degrees in air or water temperature can stress the line so when an area experiences drastic drops into the single or negative digits, the likelihood of a problem increases.

The reality is that water and sewer lines can and will break. When they do, it causes a lot of problems for homeowners, who will need to find a reputable plumber, obtain quotes, shut off water or sewer service until the problem is repaired and can disrupt daily activities.  With Service Line Warranties of America’s Water and Sewer Line Warranty Program, one call will do it all.

* Homeowner responsibility varies from city to city.


Who is Service Line Warranties of America and why are they sending me letters?

MP900390083Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business with an A+ rating. Partnering with communities across the United States, SLWA works in conjunction with city officials to bring the National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program to communities to help address external water and sewer line and in-home plumbing failures for homeowners.

If you have recently received an SLWA mailing, it’s because your city officials care about the burden of the high cost and hassle of utility line failures for residents. Repairs to a broken or leaking water or sewer line could cost a homeowner hundreds to upwards of $3,500 and the average in-home plumbing repair can cost $350 or more.

SLWA is not like other warranty providers – we are the only company that does not mail to consumers without the city’s permission, but operates through a partnership with the city. There is no fee for the city to introduce the program to the community and homeowner participation is completely optional and voluntary.

SLWA has maintained a 95+% service satisfaction rating and approves more than 97% of all submitted claims. Our company is proud of our reputation to deliver peace of mind to homeowners across the United States. Additionally, the company was selected as the 2013 Winner of the Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics.

If you still have questions about SLWA, our terms and conditions or the partnership with your city, please contact us at the toll-free number on your letter or 1-866-922-9006 or email For more information, visit