Could you have an issue with your main water line?
our main water line connects your individual property to a primary source of water. The most common option is for the water line to connect to a public utility company that provides city water to residential and commercial properties. As the connector from your property to the water source, it’s important that your main water line is functioning properly. If not, you could completely lose access to your water supply. This is often caused by a rupture in the line and is easy to notice, since your water suddenly stops working. But what about if there’s a more subtle issue? What if it’s damaged instead of destroyed? As the method of delivery for water, even a minor issue can cause significant issues in your property, and knowing some signs of main water line damage can help you or a plumbing contractor catch it early.
Galvanized main lines are often inefficient
Main water lines are built with durability in mind. This means that they were built with sturdier materials; at least what was thought to be sturdy at the time. One of these materials is galvanized steel. Galvanizing is the process of adding a zinc coating to a material as a guard against rust. Since these pipes have a decent lifespan–sometimes 50 years or more–at the time, no one knew that there would be any problems with this method. However, these have been shown to corrode from the inside over time, restricting water flow and adding minerals to the water. Many older homes in the Vancouver WA area use this kind of pipe, and an odd-tasting or discolored water is often a sign that they have galvanized piping that should be replaced.
What are some other signs of a malfunctioning main water line?
While a common problem is galvanized piping, it is possible for any kind of piping to break or stop working properly, though it’s less likely. This is more common in older properties, and some signs to look for include:
- Oversaturated or sinking sections of lawn
- A drop in water pressure, especially a significant one
- An unexpected sharp increase in your water bill
- Discolored or a metallic taste to the water
- Contaminants such as dirt in tap water
- Sounds of water in the walls or elsewhere
- Cracks appearing in paved regions of your property
- Moldy areas that continue to come back
What do I do if I discover a problem in my water line?
Water line problems shouldn’t be put off. And ignoring them for financial reasons could end up costing you much more. Main water line ruptures need to be replaced immediately, and in most cities, homeowners have no option to put this off. But for damaged lines that are still functioning, ignoring the issue can cause it to fail completely or burst, damaging your property in the process. Instead, it’s a wise decision to address the problem quickly, and if it does burst, make sure know how to shut off your main water line, especially if you’re on a private system.