Idaho Homeowner Faced Prohibitively Expensive Waterline Repair

Boise resident was losing thousands of gallons of water every day

Christine H. of Boise, Idaho, got a call that most homeowners don't expect – her water utility called to tell her that they read her meter and her usage had spiked. In fact, 200 gallons of water were passing through her meter every hour, 24 hours a day. That was enough water to nearly fill a tanker truck every day.

"At first we hoped it could be something fairly benign inside the house," she said. "But 200 gallons every hour for 24 straight hours indicated it was the water main."

In addition to facing a repair bill for her water service line, thousands of gallons of fresh water were soaking into the ground around her home. Christine was forced to go to the meter and turn the water on and off every time she needed to use water in her home – to do laundry, to bathe, to wash dishes and flush toilets – in the middle of winter.

"The last time I looked at the water bill, it was already $250," Christine said. "But the water was on for a while after that, and I don't know what it is up to now."

Christine knew that her home, built in the 1980s, was older and potentially at-risk for a water line failure. She had even seen literature through her water company, SUEZ Water, that advised her of her responsibility to maintain the water service lines on her property. Her mother had purchased an optional repair coverage for her water lines through the SUEZ's partnership with HomeServe, and Christine, too, meant to do the same.

"I knew I really needed to get the coverage – it came in with the water and sewer bill – but I just hadn't done it yet," she said.

Christine had a plumber come to assess the damage, including the water in her crawl space, and received bad news: It was, indeed, a leak in her 85-foot-long water service line. Not only had her service line failed, but because of the pipe material and the rocky soil, the recommendation was that the entire line should be replaced, instead of simply repairing the spot where it had failed. It would cost thousands of dollars, and Christine and her family didn't know where they would get the money.

"Honestly, I don't know how we would have afforded to get this done," she said. "I can't even put my mind to how we would have been able to do that."

That was when SUEZ Water advised Christine about the HomeServe Cares Foundation, HomeServe North America's charitable foundation, and its Caring for People program, which provides free emergency home repairs for qualifying homeowners facing repairs impacting health, safety and sanitation. Christine applied for assistance and was surprised by the quick turnaround and impressed with the customer service offered by Tammy Gross, one of HomeServe's specialists who ensure that people like Christine get the help they need.

"She helped us so much," Christine said. "She was very kind, very helpful and worked very hard on our behalf. I'm pretty sure she's an angel in disguise."

Tammy dispatched a Boise based HomeServe contractor, A+ Drain Cleaning and Plumbing to replace the soft-rolled copper line, and the Foundation covered the entire $6,500 cost for Christine and her family.

"I can't tell you what a godsend the Foundation is for us," Christine said. "I don't know how we would have afforded this. I just don't know how we would have done that. I would give the Foundation six stars if five were the limit. I hate to sound dramatic, but it was a lifesaver for us. We are so grateful."

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