Warranties are there to help give consumers peace of mind and confidence in a purchase. When something comes with a good warranty it usually indicates that whoever made the product or delivered the service has confidence in its reliability. But what’s a pipe repair warranty really worth? Here are ten things to ask your pipe repairer before you sign on the dotted line.
Relining broken pipes
When it comes to broken, leaking or ageing underground pipes consumers often find it difficult to decide which repair strategy’s right for them. Should they dig up their yard, driveway or bathroom floor and replace the broken pipes, often laying the same type of pipe which is likely to fail again in ten years’ time? Or do they use one of the new ‘trenchless’ technologies that can fix a damaged pipe by relining it from the inside with an advanced composite resin liner, making it stronger and better than before, without the need to dig a thing?
Choosing a pipe repair company
Even once this decision is made, there’s the choice over which relining company to use.
Checking review websites, asking for referrals and reading about jobs a company has done in the past is a great place to start. But when you’re paying a good chunk of cold, hard cash or maxing out the credit card for pipe repairs you might never see, you need a few more safe-guards to get genuine peace of mind.
Ten questions to ask your pipe repairer about your warranty
You’ve had the guy out to look at the leaking pipes and they’ve promised a fix within budget to solve all your problems, but don’t let the family’s desperate pleas to get the toilet flushing again stop you from asking the hard questions.
Having an excellent warranty you know you can rely on is really the only way to have confidence you’ve made a good choice. But not every warranty’s the same.
Does the warranty cover the materials being installed or the installation? What special conditions are hidden in the fine print? And just how hard is it going to be for you to see a claim through from beginning to end?
We’ve done our research and come up with the ten most important things to ask about your pipe repair warranty before you go ahead with any work.
How long are the pipe repair products warrantied for?
If you’ve chosen to have the damaged pipes replaced with new piping (either via excavation, pipe bursting or slip lining) you’ll need to check how long that new pipe will be warrantied for. If tree roots or earth movements are what’s caused the issues for you now, will you be back in the same position in five or ten years’ time if you replace the damaged pipe with more of the same?
Alternately, if you’ve chosen to repair the broken or leaking pipe with a CIPP reline (where an extremely strong composite resin lining is created inside the pipe to repair the damage), then as long as the company has the right scientific and engineering expertise behind them there should be no problems getting a 50-year product warranty. This essentially guarantees that if the product fails to do what it was meant to for the next 50 years, whoever made that product must make the repair good for free.
If the pipes that need to be relined carry trade waste, extremely high temperature liquids or gasses, high impact materials or acids, or have custom specifications the length of the warranty will be shorter and should be discussed at the time of contract.
How long is the pipe repairer’s installation process warrantied for?
Remember with any pipe repair there are two things that could go wrong; the product itself or the way the product was used (installed). That means it’s important to be clear about what your warranty is for, and what sort of installation issues are covered.
If an installer uses off-the-shelf resins or liners there is less flexibility in how they can be modified to suit environmental conditions (like extreme heat on the day of installation).
Leading companies at the cutting edge of the field will change formulations from time to time in response to scientific and technological advances. Advances and improvements in methods of installation are also constantly occurring.
Installers who are not receiving ongoing, regular training on these advances can find it difficult to stay abreast of the best way to use the products, particularly if they are using pre-packaged products made overseas.
Who actually made the products that are going to be used?
Just be careful you’re not getting a warranty for the installation with no mention of what products will be used, or where to go if those products are found to be faulty further down the track.
If an installer can claim they installed the product correctly, and that it was actually the product that was at fault, you want to know from the start who you will have to be lodging your claim with, and if they’ve used off-the-shelf products made overseas, you could find it very difficult to lodge a successful claim.
If there’s a problem, how do you determine whether it’s the product or the installation that’s at fault?
The next thing to check off your list is to find out exactly what would happen in the event of something going wrong. Will the installer come out and have a look at the pipes for free? Will they give you a look at their CCTV footage? And if the repair does seem to be failing, how will they determine what went wrong.
Basically, you want to know that these investigations will be carried out straight away, by qualified experts and that you will be able to see the evidence. You also want to know that you won’t be left paying for those investigations if it turns out the problem was a failing of the repair they did.
What if the two of you (the company that made the product and the installer) can’t agree about who’s fault the problem was?
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a blame game, where the buck just keeps being passed from the product manufacturer to the installer. Try to determine exactly how the two of them will decide on where fault lies, and what will they do to make things right if they can’t agree.
Do I get CCTV footage of the repair before and after?
You want to see evidence of what the original damage was, how it was caused (if possible) and just how much there is. Then, once you’re talked about what can be done and agreed on a price, you want to be certain the job gets done the way you’ve been told it will be.
The only way you can do this is if you get CCTV footage of the repair, and not only do you want to see it on their cameras, you want a copy for yourself, in case things go wrong in the future.
How long has the company been around?
It’s all very well to have an impressive warranty that promises you the world, but at the end of the day if your pipe repair breaks down in 20 years’ time you want to know the company you dealt with will still have a shingle hanging above their door.
Obviously there are no guarantees in life, but knowing things like the company’s track record, their work ethics, their partnerships and their relationships with government and other reputable organisations can help guide you toward companies more likely to still be there if you come knocking.
How long have they been repairing pipes using this method?
Sadly, there are some pipe repair companies that have only recently recognised the benefits of using composite resin relining and are now ditching their previous practices in favour of this new technology.
They may have been repairing pipes for 50 years, but if they’ve been doing those repairs by digging everything up and laying new ones, then their knowledge and expertise in relining with composite resin materials is going to be very limited.
Always ask your repairer how long they’ve actually been using the method they’re proposing for your job, before you jump on in. Every method really does have its own unique characteristics and a warranty is much more likely to be reliable if the repairer issuing it is highly experienced in what they are doing.
Where and how are warranty claims handled?
Will you have to learn to speak German and buy a ticket to Dusseldorf to have any chance of negotiating a daunting warranty claim process or can you just ring your local installer who will take care of everything.
Some companies offer warranties that appear to be very generous and attractive at first glance, but upon closer inspection expect the consumer to jump through numerous ‘hoops’ in order to lodge a claim, or to have submitted warranty registrations or evidence of a repair that can’t be provided retrospectively.
Make sure you know just what you will have to do if you do need to lodge a claim before going ahead with any deal.
What exclusions are there?
Like all legal documents, warranties have been prepared to set the terms and boundaries of will and won’t be done or covered in the event of a failure of the pipe repair.
We know it’s boring and time-consuming, but going through the exclusions one by one will help you get really clear about what you’re covered for, and doing it BEFORE your repairer sets to work will mean there are no nasty surprises later on.
Good warranties for standard pipe relining products should offer up to 50-year terms, but consumers should be wary of basing their repair strategy on the length of the warranty alone Then I thought we could link to the other article here with a hyperlink or something…. Perhaps saying something like (for more information on choosing reliable pipe repair warranties click here).
Checking things like how much effort has been invested into ensuring a product is of high quality in the first place, where and how it’s made, and how it’s performed in the past are essential when deciding on a pipe repair solution that will work for you.
To find out what the terms and conditions of Nuflow’s product warranty are, visit our warranty page.