Your home’s main water line is the single pipe that runs from the city water main to your home. And without that pipe, you have no water in your home to bathe, drink, or flush toilets. So it is rather vital to know when that essential water line is reaching the end of its life expectancy. But homeowners in Richmond also need to understand that there are other factors to consider when determining how many years of reliable service your home’s main water line has left in the tank.
A General Estimate
Just like people, all water lines age at their own pace. And while a general estimate of 40 to 80 years is a fair estimate, many factors will impact which end of this broad-scale your water line reaches. The first consideration is the type of pipe. Older homes are likely to have a metal waterline, while newer homes usually have a plastic or poly mainline. The older metal pipes tend to wear out sooner than their plastic counterparts due to rust or corrosion. Hard water or mineral-rich soil can begin to erode metal lines but have little or no impact on poly or plastic water pipes. Your plumber is the best reference you will have if you are unsure what type of piping you have.
A few other factors should be considered when estimating the life of a main water line. The amount of soil shifting or seismic activity in your area can significantly shorten the life of your water line. When the soil moves, either from shifting, settling, or something like an earthquake, the water line can become damaged. The soil around the pipe provides support and stability. But when that soil moves, it can place an immense amount of stress on the pipe. And that stress can lead to cracks or even a shattered water line.
Tree roots are another familiar nemesis of water lines. You might not think that a tree root could exert much force as slowly as it grows. But over time, those roots grow as large and long as the branches of the tree they are supporting. And should there be a water line in the path of a tree root, it will often wrap around the pipe. The bigger the root gets, the more pressure is applied to the pipe until it eventually crushes it. As the pressure on the pipe increases, the first issue could be small cracks in the pipe. But if that small leak is not detected and repaired, the root will eventually destroy the entire pipe.
Signs Of A Main Water Line Leak
Most mainline water leaks start very small from a crack in the pipe. But the constant water pressure begins to erode the pipe, and the leak grows larger each day. With a minimal leak, you might overlook a moist area in your yard. And the drop in water pressure will be very negligible. But as the leak increases, you will see standing water in your yard and a decrease in the water pressure throughout your home. It is also possible to notice some particulates in your water. These are particles of dirt or flecks of the pipe that are floating inside your water line.
When You Think You Have Leak
At the first indication of a water leak, call (540) 507-2904. The licensed plumbers from Assure Plumbing & Septic will arrive quickly to repair any leaks in your main water line. And if you are unsure about the age of your main water line, our pros can provide you with an evaluation.