An unavoidable expense of $8500

rusty pipeWhen I was leaving for work last Thursday I noticed a big pile of dirt on my neighbor’s front yard. A group of men were gathered around a hole in the ground. I approached to find out what was going on and the men pointed at a stretch of wrecked copper pipe. It looked like someone had bitten a chunk out of it. The pipe connects my neighbor’s house to the water main and had to be replaced.

I later spoke to my neighbor and he said his family noticed a pressure drop, spotted water coming out of the ground in the front yard, and called the service. $8500 is the repairs bill that they are now facing.

Our homes were built 5 years ago at the same time and have exactly the same design. My neighbor said I should start saving money. The service people suspect that the cause is either defective pipe material or poor job the builders have done with the piping, but in either case the owner is the one to take the hit since neither manufacturer nor the builder can be held liable.

I called my Allstate agent and she explained that the home insurance will not cover the cost since no damage is done to the house. This is really bad news for us, and all I can think of right now. My friend told me of a family he knew who had a similar problem with their house and within 2-3 years all homeowners on their side of the street had to eventually replace piping.

A desperate idea to move has visited me tonight; especially since we were planning to do so when kids grow a bit (public schools in this area are not very good), but then I thought that I would need to disclose any problems with the house to the buyer, and while this problem at this point is only hypothetical, it can easily scary away a potential buyer.

So it looks like a deadlock at this point and I can’t think of any way to avoid the upcoming financial disaster. What would you do in my case?

Photo courtesy of atlef at flickr

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