While they are often neglected, residential main water lines are a critical component of a home plumbing system. The main water line is continuously in use as it carries water into your home, so if any problems develop, it can disrupt service and could even pose a health hazard or cause property damage. Since your main water line is often buried under your yard, it is difficult to assess the condition of the pipe. Depending on what your water line is made of, it could last anywhere between 20 and 100 years. This means that you can’t rely on an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. So, here we’ll assess whether you need a replacement.
Signs to Look For
Fortunately, if your main water line has gone wrong, there are some signs that it is experiencing problems. These indications include:
The Next Step
- Drop in Your Water Pressure; As your water line delivers water into your home, any clogs or breaks will usually cause less water to travel through to your faucets or fixtures. If there is an isolated drop in pressure that affects only one sink or shower head, it may indicate a problem in the lines inside your home. If there is a uniform drop in water pressure affecting your entire home, it is most likely to be a problem with your supply line.
- Increased Water Bills; While a minor leak may not significantly affect water pressure, but this can lead to substantial waste. If your water bills have unexpectedly increased and you’ve eliminated the usual culprits such as damaged sprinklers or leaky faucets, it could be time to have your main water line inspected.
- Water Pooling in your Yard; Whether there is a wet patch of very vibrant grass in your yard or a muddy fountain that has appeared from nowhere, it can be one of the most severe and apparent signs of a break in your water line. You may also notice a bad smell as water is seeping into the soil around your pipe to create a swampy mess in your yard. In addition to dramatically increasing your water bills, these muddy patches are ideal breeding grounds for insects.
- Dirty Water; A crack or break in your water line can allow debris and dirt to enter the water coming into your house. Unfortunately, these foreign materials may contain toxic chemicals and could create a bacteria breeding ground that poses a serious health risk. If you notice your water has a strange smell, a cloudy appearance or a grainy texture, it is possible that your water line has been compromised.
If you suspect that your main water line has been damaged, you will need to call in a specialist to perform an inspection. In many cases, the main water line cannot be repaired, so it will need to be replaced, but modern trenchless techniques have made this process less invasive. An experienced plumber
will be able to locate the leak and determine the best approach to resolve the issue.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.