Introduction to Water Service Lines
All thriving communities need a clean, reliable water supply. In some instances – such as in more rural areas – that comes from well water. But it’s more likely that your home’s or business’s water supply comes via water service lines underground.
From the inner workings and cost of water line repair and replacement to how to identify a lead pipe, we’re going to lead you through everything that you need to know about water service lines.
What is a Water Service Line?
Water service lines are the piping that carries water from the city’s public water supply in the underground water mains outside of your property directly to the plumbing fixtures inside of your property.
Who is Responsible for the Water Line From the Street to Your House?
Water service lines within the bounds of your property are considered your personal responsibility to maintain, while public water pipes outside of private property lines are the city’s responsibility. This means that the homeowner is responsible for all of the water lines running from their property to the street.
What is a Water Main?
The water main is a large underground pipe that serves as the main pipe for a city or town’s water distribution system. Smaller distribution lines are connected to the water main that carry water directly to people’s homes and businesses.
What Do Lead Pipes Look Like?
Lead pipes are the single biggest threat when it comes to public lead consumption. When water transfers through lead pipes, particles of lead seep into the water supply. Lead is entirely unsafe to drink, making this a serious hazard.
While lead pipes have been phased out in many places, there are still some locations that use older lead pipes, putting the people there at risk.
Lead pipes have a dark gray color. An easy way to find out if your water pipes are lead is to take a coin and scrape it against the surface of the pipe. If the surface underneath is a shiny silver color, your pipe is lead.
When Were Lead Pipes Banned?
The 1986 Safe Water Act Lead Ban made it against regulations to use lead piping in the construction of any residential or non-residential plumbing system in which the water was meant for public consumption. In 1998, it became illegal to sell plumbing fixtures that were not “lead-free” (defined as having less than 8% lead)
If your plumbing fixtures have not been replaced or repaired since 1986, there is a chance that you have lead pipes, which could pose a danger to you, your family, and/or your business.
What Does a Water Service Line Replacement Entail?
If you have water leaking from your pipes, you’re experiencing low water pressure, your water bill has gotten unexplainably more expensive, or if your pipes are made from lead, it’s time to get your water service lines replaced.
Here’s what you can expect during a water service line replacement:
NOTE: Since digging is involved in this process, we highly recommend you call a trained professional so you do not destroy your plumbing fixtures or your property in the process.
Locate & Mark
Since this process involves digging, it’s crucial that we’re able to locate where all of the important points are before we begin that process. This includes locating the water main and where it connects to your personal water lines (also known as the curb stop), as well as locating the existing water lines themselves.
We’ll also need to mark any other underground utilities such as fiber optic cable lines, as well as other underground masses we’ll need to account for.
Shut Off Water
The next thing we’ll do during a water line replacement is shut off the water supply. This is an obvious step taken before any plumbing repair or replacement service to reduce mess.
At this stage we’ll carve out a hole near the spot where the main connects to your personal water line. We’ll need to repeat this process for any piece of the water line that we’re attempting to replace.
We’ll remove your old pipes and replace them with new ones. During this process, we’ll also insulate your new piping to protect it against freezing in the future.
Once the old piping has been removed and the new pipes have been properly installed and connected, we’ll fill in the holes that we’ve dug on your property and turn the water supply back on so you can use your plumbing fixtures once again.
How Much Does Water Service Line Replacement Cost?
In the state of Virginia, the average water service line replacement runs around $3,000, assuming you’re replacing all of your pipes at once. If you’re just getting a repair to one section for a leak or otherwise, it will obviously be less than that. A number of factors can impact that average, making it cost more or less than what the statewide average is for service.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Service Line Repairs?
Some homeowners insurance policies cover leaks, bursts, and other types of water line issues. But most likely, your insurance policy will only cover those issues that occur suddenly or due to an accident – they rarely cover replacements that are needed due to general wear and tear or age.
Check your personal homeowners insurance policy to see what types of water line repairs and replacements you’re covered for.
Replacing a Water Service Pipe in Loudoun County, VA
In Loudoun County, the homeowner is responsible for all of the water lines and plumbing fixtures inside of their own property line. This includes fixtures inside of your home such as the main shutoff valve, hot water heaters, and drains as well as fixtures outside of your home like grinder pumps, meter crocks, and piping.
Remember to always call VA811 at least three days before you dig in your yard, if you plan to do any digging personally.
Line Repairs in Fairfax, VA
In Fairfax, the water meter and its settings are the responsibility of Fairfax Water. Everything from that point to the inside of your property is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain.
Remember to take proper care of your pipes for the good of yourself and your neighbors. This means being wary of what you’re flushing down the toilet and the drain as well as how you maintain the piping in your property.
Water Service Line Experts in Northern Virginia
Kiddco Plumbing is a full service plumbing repair and replacement company that helps homes and businesses all throughout Northern Virginia including Loudoun County, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax, VA. We offer 24/7 emergency services as well. Give us a call to schedule a service today.