Home Repair

How do I find the Main Water LIne?

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Hi again Guru,

Recently my city introduced seperate payment for water (whereas previously it was included in my yearly taxes). On top of my house taxes the water bill is quite hefty - 600 dollars per residental home.

As it wasn't fair to those that may only have a few occupants compared to others which have large households and thereby larger consumption. The city has allowed for only 2 months to have a meter placed if the home owner chooses. It's been recommended to me by many that this will drop my yearly water bill to perhaps only 200 - 225 dollars. Quite a substantial savings.

The problem is I don't know where the main water line is! I thought it was located under this round circular stone piece in my front garden which they called a pit or pithe? I don't have a basement or crawl space just a garage. The water people told me since it's located outside it would take up to two months to install whereas if it was in my home (they said I should have one there too) it would only be a matter of days to install it.

I do have a storage area under my stairs (my house is two stories) which I suspect may be the place it's located. Yikes this space is stacked top to bottom with boxes and not easily accessible and if the water shut off valve is there it's waaay in the back! Lots of work for me to see if it's even there.

Apologies for the long ramble! Is there a way I can find out? Would it be located in my original house documents you get from city hall? Would they know the location? I feel stupid as I should know it. I remember making sure I knew where the gas shut off valve was located, but never thought to ask about the water.

Thanks in advance oh mighty Guru!

YES you need to know where that is! If you had a leak say by your toilet before the shutoff there would be no way other than that main shut-off. Time for the big search. Look in that storage area. Look where the hot water tank is and follow the cold water line to see if it goes to a big valve. My main cold water incoming line is a copper 1" pipe. Sone houses have slightly smaller 5/8" or up to 2" for a big house. If you can't find it call a plumber, act all embarrased, and he'll show you where it is.
The papers at the town hall may show you where it is but prob not. The plumbers here need permits but they do not need a "plan" where the plumbing goes, just to make sure it is up to code.

Good Luck!
Hi Guru,

Thanks for that info. Sigh I've resigned myself to having to clean that space under the stairs...another list of my many things to do. The only problem there's only one of me...and a gazillion things on that "to do list".

The hot water heater is located in a closet in one of the downstairs rooms and then it's solid wall so I have no idea where the pipe leads.

I'm glad I asked regarding the water line as it's one of those things I didn't know and would have put off. I may need it asap someday!

Thanks again!
Check with the utility companies to see if there is a number to call for utility location. Many municipalities have this service to prevent contractors from inadvertently digging into utility services. If you have such a service call them they will usually come out quickly to locate your utilities. Tell them you planning to install a water meter and need to know where to dig so you won't damage any other lines.
Good idea George,
Around here they call that service "Dig Safe". It's free and they come within 2 days... www.digsafe.com

Thanks for that bit of info. Ironically it's the utilities people that are installing it (only offered free for the next two months) after that there is a charge.

Will try to find out that way...arg!! You know I'm putting off having to look in that storage closet! Ha Ha!
I can see it from HERE!! Must be waaaaay in the back. Sometimes, you can hear the water rushing through the valve when the water is running. Try to run the water in the house pref. on the other side of the house and then go as far into that storage area as you can and listen carefully! Maybe you'll hear it!
Hurry! Very Happy


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