When a car repair tech reports that your master cylinder has failed, it can be enough to send you into panic. You might have the same response upon learning that you have a broken water main.
This term refers to the main water line that supplies your home. Fortunately, main water line problems are rare but, when they go, they tend to go big. In many cases water main breaks can be successfully repaired by a qualified plumbing contractor. But, even if the line cannot be repaired, replacement isn’t an overwhelming endeavor if you have a professional like My Buddy the Plumber on the job.
All about Residential Water Mains
When talking about a home’s water main, we are referring to the supply line that connects your home to the city water line, typically located in the street or alley. Or, if you’re on a well, the main line connects to the well head,
You control the water supply to your home via a water main shut-off valve. If you have city water, you likely also have a city-controlled shut-off valve, known as a corporation stop (“corp stop”) This device is typically located near the property line, in an in-ground box that also houses your water meter.
Residential main lines can be made of various materials, usually with a diameter of 1-2 inches. Depending on the age of the pipe, your water main may be made of galvanized metal, copper, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene). As with any building materials, some are stronger, more durable, and last longer than others.
The Importance of Water Main Maintenance
The age of the line is the most common factor associated with residential water main problems. You can also have problems due to the material the line is made of as well as unstable soil conditions and damage from outside influences.
Cold weather, specifically freezing temperatures, often poses a problem in Ogden and throughout northern Utah.
Although your main water line should not require any type of periodic maintenance, you can help prevent problems by taking a few basic steps every few months. Turn the main shutoff valve to the “off” position and then try turning on a cold faucet inside the house. Once the residual water in the line drains, no more water should come from the cold tap.
Visually inspect all components of the main line that you can see. If you notice any pipes, couplings or other components that appear to be rusted or corroded, calling a licensed plumber can help prevent major problems later.
Don’t plant trees or any plants with aggressive root systems near your main line and never let anyone drive over the area, particularly in a truck or heavy vehicle. And, if you suddenly notice rust or unusual sediment in your water, contact a plumber to ensure you haven’t developed a problem in the water line.
Your Water Main Broke… Now What?
It may be obvious if your water main has burst, but it may not be noticeable if the leak is contained underground. Sometimes the only way to tell you have a problem is if your water usage spikes. Try turning your main water valve off, and check the meter to see if it’s still moving. If so, it’s a safe bet that you have a broken main line.
Water main breaks, leaks and related problems can lead to sky-high water bills but these issues can also cause flooding and serious soil settlement problems. In Ogden contact My Buddy the Plumber Heating & Air as soon as possible, if you suspect you have a break or leak in your water main line.