Prior to a Loss
Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their service lines for both water and sewer—that is, the pipelines between the District’s water and sanitary sewer mains (which are usually located in the street) and the building.
Many water line breaks, and sewer backups can be prevented with proper maintenance to the system. However, one of the most important tips we can provide is to have proper insurance to cover water and sewer back up.
- Many backups cause damage for which the District is not responsible.
- Homeowners policies typically pay replacement cost.
- Check with your agent or insurance company, as most policies do not automatically come with water line or sewer line damage coverage.
- Sewer line Maintenance Tips:
- Properly dispose of grease. Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly after it cools off, not in the drain. Washing grease down the drain with hot water is unsatisfactory. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.
- Properly dispose of paper products. Paper towels, disposable (and cloth) diapers, hygienic wipes and feminine products do not deteriorate quickly and can cause a great deal of trouble in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main. Even those “flushable wipes” are not in fact flushable and can cause considerable damage to your system.
- Periodically cut tree roots. Tree roots will always seek sources of water. The nature of your sewer main is a perfect source and roots will move towards them, even pushing through the clay pipe to reach the water. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral, you may have to regularly have the roots cut by a professional.
- Correct illegal plumbing connections. Do not connect French drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal to do so, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections.
- Install a backwater prevention valve, which is a fixture installed into a sewer line (and sometimes into a drain line) in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in. Be sure to use a qualified plumber.
- Water Line Maintenance Tips:
- Make sure you know where your water shut off valve is for your home and test it to make sure it works. Usually, the valve will be located close to the water meter, water heater, or where the water comes into a home. If you are having trouble finding the valve, or find that it isn’t working, call a plumber to assist you in locating/fixing the issue.
- Install Heat Tape - There is a product called heat tape that can be installed and will warm pipes as needed during cold weather. While you could do this yourself, you may want to consult with a plumber to learn some best practices.
- Seal Leaks That Allow Cold Air Into Your Home - Seal leaks that allow cold air into your home where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
- Disconnect Your Hose From The Outside Faucet - Be sure to disconnect your hose from the outside faucet. If you leave your hose connected, water is not able to drain out of your hose bib and will freeze and break the device.
- Freezing Temperature Tips:
- Keep Water Faucets Running - If it is extremely cold outside, always keep one or two faucets running slowly. Water moving through the system should prevent the line from freezing.
- Direct Warm Air To Cold Areas Of Your Home - Often, the pipes that freeze are located near an outside wall or a window, so be sure to direct warm air to any colder areas of your home. (Start in your basement and look for any pipes near the exterior of the home).
- Leave Your Cabinet Doors Open - If your kitchen sink is on an outside wall (as it usually is), be sure to leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air into the cabinet. Your kitchen faucet is usually to leave on during extremely cold weather.
- Check Your Home's Temperature - Prevent temperatures from dropping below 32 degrees in any area of your home where water lines are located.
- Call An Expert Plumber - An expert licensed plumber will be able to locate potential pipe bursts and prevent them from happening.
In the Event of a Loss:
If your water line bursts, find your shut off valve and turn off the water to your home immediately.
If your sewer line backs up into your home or your water lines burst call Evergreen Metro District at 303-674-4112, option 5, to report the incident.
After hours, call our office at 303-674-4112, option 9.
After a Loss:
What else should I do? What else do I need to know?
Call and report the incident to your homeowner’s insurance carrier, even if you do not believe the backup or release into your residence is your responsibility.
The District notifies its claims adjusting service, Sedgwick, and reports the claim. Sedgwick may contact you to request an inspection of your property. They may not be able to make a final decision regarding coverage until they complete an investigation. Remember to keep copies of receipts and invoices for out-of-pocket expenses. Your insurance carrier and/or Sedgwick may request those from you as a part of the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, you will be notified of the cause of the incident and determination of liability. Under the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act, Section 24-10-101 et seq., Colorado Revised Statutes the District is immune from liability unless negligence is proven.
It is unlawful to knowingly provide false, incomplete, or misleading facts or information to an insurance company for the purpose of defrauding or attempting to defraud the company. Penalties may include imprisonment, fines, denial of insurance, and civil damages. Any insurance company or agent of an insurance company who knowingly provides false, incomplete, or misleading facts or information to a policyholder or claimant for the purpose of defrauding or attempting to defraud the policyholder or claimant regarding a settlement or award payable from insurance proceeds shall be reported to the Colorado Division of Insurance within the department of regulatory agencies.