Recently I was interviewed by CTV, and I have fielded a lot of questions from homeowners like you, who want to get a better idea about the SLWC Sewer Line Warranty program Ottawa.
Hopefully, this informative article will answer your questions so you can make the best decision for your home and your family.
Is the letter from SLWC the real deal?
First of all, yes, the letter from SLWC In Ottawa is 100% legit, and the city of Ottawa has allowed SLWC ‘Service Line Warranties of Canada’ to use their logo. And no (to the best of my knowledge) the City isn’t planning on digging up your sewer and water service lines anytime soon.
Also, the City has nothing to do with the program except that they receive 5% of the subscription fees.
Although the company has offices in Canada, its roots are in the US, and the head office is located in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
Is the SLWC Warranty Program mandatory for Ottawa homeowners?
The Sewer and Water service line program is voluntary. It’s a warranty program, not insurance, and it only covers repairs outside of your home. Your insurance company may already have this covered, so be sure to reach out to them to confirm.
What is covered under the program?
The repair coverage area is from the city property line to the outside of your home’s foundation wall. This could be a small distance, as the property line is marked by the location of the ‘CurbStop’, or the point where the city turns the water on or off to your home outside. This may be seen as a 3 inch (10cm) metal disc in your yard or driveway. In suburbs, the distance is usually about 15 feet (4.5m) in from the street curb. Conversely, inner city properties can have a much shorter distance to the CurbStop, as some home fronts face the street or the sidewalk.
What happens typically when a sewer and water service line needs repair?
From our many years of plumbing service experience, we can tell you that in most cases you will need to work with a plumber to diagnose a problem before getting the SLWC or an insurance company involved. Problems can show up in the form of sewage back up on your basement floor or a water shut off in your home. In some instances, your home insurance company may need to be contacted to claim property damage.
Reaching out to a plumber first is the best way to determine what the issue is, then you can find out if the warranty membership can be applied toward necessary repairs.
Is the plan actually worth it?
This is the primary question I’ve received from my plumbing customers. If you’re in an older neighbourhood (50+ years) with an unlandscaped front yard with no trees, and your services running under the yard haven’t been upgraded in all that time, then the program might be a good fit for you. It could save you a lot of money in sewer and water service repairs.
Other options are to see if a rider, or an add-on to your homeowners insurance policy, is available to cover any wear and tear to the pipes sustained over time. Homeowners could also use a company that offers financing; making small payments over time for the repairs can be much easier if an issue does arise while you live in that home.
According to Todd Rozon from Rozon Insurance, “Many insurance companies are now providing $10,000 of coverage for water and sewer lines. These lines are located underground between the house foundation and the municipal water and sewer lines. These service lines are often damaged by tree roots, shifting ground and age”.
At the end of the day, a problem with the sewer and water service piping is no different than any other part of homeownership — as a homeowner, you are ultimately responsible for maintenance and repairs. All parts of a house age, decay and will fail at some point, which is why it’s important to be prepared when they do.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion for you.
Out of this World Plumbing