How much do you know about your water main line? Do you know where it’s located on your property, what its job is, and how to tell if there’s a leak? If not, then keep reading. These are things that all homeowners should know about their water supply line and how to find quality water main repair in Sacramento.
What Is a Water Main?
Your water main or water supply line is the pipe that connects your home to the city’s water supply. The main water distribution line from the city will typically run under the street, and each home’s water main connects the property to that distribution line. This line directs the water to your home while running your water usage through a metering device for billing purposes. Once it reaches your home, the water supply branches off into all of the water-using appliances and plumbing fixtures in your home, including toilets, faucets, showers, washing machines, water heaters, and more.
Without your water main, you would not have easily accessible water in your home, so it’s incredibly important to understand how this pipe works and how to tell if it’s in need of service, repairs, or replacement.
Where Is It Located?
Your water main line primarily runs underground, so finding its exact location is a bit difficult. However, one good starting place is your emergency shutoff valve. This valve shuts off the flow from your water main line, thereby disconnecting your home from the city water supply. So, if you know where your emergency shutoff valve is—and you really should know this in case of an emergency—you’ve located at least part of your water main line. From there, you should be able to get an idea of where the main line runs under your property.
It’s also worth noting that your water main line will typically run right up to your water heater. However, it splits off into separate hot and cold service lines once it reaches this point. Your water main line only supplies cold water, so any hot water you use must first be directed through and heated by your water heater. Of course, at this point, it’s no longer considered your water main line since it’s been divided into smaller service lines. But it’s still worth knowing that your main line typically ends close to the water heater. This point, in combination with the location of the emergency shutoff valve, can help you visualize the location of your main line and how it connects to the public distribution line in the street.
What Materials Are Used?
Many materials can be used for water supply lines, just as many different materials can be used for the pipes within your home. The approved materials for water mains in Sacramento are ductile iron and polyvinyl chloride. However, because these pipes connect to the city’s distribution pipe, there are more regulations regarding the permitted materials for water main lines. Of course, you typically don’t have to worry about this when buying a home, as the pipe is already installed beneath your home. However, it’s a good thing to keep in mind if you ever need to replace your water main line.
How Do You Know If It’s Leaking?
As we already mentioned, your water main line runs underneath your property, so how can you tell if there’s a leak? Here are a few key signs to watch out for:
- Puddles on your property – Though you won’t get obvious water marks in your home, you might notice puddles on your property without a clear source. Look for soggy patches of grass or persistent wet marks on your concrete.
- Low water pressure – If your main water source leaks, you’re not going to get much water pressure to any of the fixtures in your home. So if you have low water pressure throughout your household, the likely culprit is the water main.
- Hissing or bubbling pipes – Your pipes should not sound like a witch’s cauldron. You likely have a leak if you hear hissing or bubbling coming from your pipes. A leak in the water main can allow air into your home’s pipes, which accounts for those bubbling sounds.
- Discolored water – One big problem with water main leaks is that the leak allows dirt to get into your water supply because the pipe is underground. Sudden discoloration of your water usually indicates a supply line leak—and a sign you should not drink that water.
If you notice the signs of a water main leak, it’s important that you not turn to your average household plumber. Only the best plumbers in Sacramento have the knowledge, tools, and experience to handle repairing or replacing a water main line. Contact Bullseye Leak Detection today, and we’ll have your water main repaired as soon as possible.