Signs It’s Time to Replace the Main Water Line

Water Line to House with Valve

If you have lots of water bubbling up across your front lawn, you may have a main water line break. This is an emergency. You need to get the water shut off fast or risk flooding your house and perhaps your neighbors’ houses. If you can shut the water off yourself on the street, do this right away. If you can’t find the shut-off valve on the main water line, your first call should be to a 24/7 emergency plumber in Gainesville, GA, to get the water shut off ASAP!

Main Water Line

The main water line runs from the street to the inside of your house. It brings all the water that runs through your household plumbing. Under continuous pressure and with lots of water flowing through the main water line, it’s susceptible to damages from clogs, leaks, and breaks. Main water lines are generally buried three feet deep. They’re buried this deep to protect the main water line from routine digging if you decide to install a sprinkler system or so that it isn’t disturbed by tree roots. Here are a few of the signs that it’s time to update the main water line coming into your house.

Trouble Signs

Low Water Pressure – One way to know if you have a break in the main water line is if you notice a drop in overall water pressure. This means there is a small break, and some of the water is escaping through the break. But because the main water line is encased in dirt three feet down, it is being held together by the compacted soil. If you suspect lower than normal water pressure, call a plumbing company to test the water pressure in the house. That small break in the main water line will increase in size, allowing more and more water to escape. If not dealt with, the main water line will break in a major way leading to flooding.

Contaminated Water – Along with lower than normal water pressure, you may notice that the water is yellow in color. This could be from dirt and debris entering into the main water line from cracks. If you notice discoloration, a strange smell, or a gritty texture, you could have a small break in your main water line.

Flooded Front Yard – And a definite sign of a broken main water line is water pooling in the front yard. At first, you may notice the grass is soggy when it has not rained. This is a sure sign to call in a plumber and that it’s time to replace your main water line. 

Tree Root Damage

A lot can go wrong with the plumbing, especially plumbing buried underground. If you live in an older home with the original main water line, aging pipes are more likely to break under water pressure. If you happen to have large trees with deep root systems, it takes just one tree root to grow around a section of the main water line slowly. As the root grows, it slowly applies more and more pressure weakening the main water line. Then all of a sudden, the pipe bursts and water rises through the dirt and onto the grass of your front lawn. To fix this, it involves digging up the front line to find the break.

Digging for Main Water Line

Locating the Main Water Line

If you have a water meter in front of the house and you know where the main water line enters your house, the main water line is between these two points. In warm climates, as the main water line approaches the house, it rises so the main water line can enter the house at ground level for easy access. At this point, there should be a shut-off valve for emergency breaks. The shut-off valve will be in a box. But in cold weather areas, the main water supply line often enters the house three feet below ground level and comes into the basement. The shut-off valve is usually mounted to a wall. (If you live on a property with a well, the main water line will run in a straight line from the well into a pressure tank and then into the house.)

To learn more about the top signs that it’s time to replace your main water line, call Gainesville Mechanical at 770.532.9130.

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