Your plumbing includes all of the pipes and fixtures on your property, from the meter or valve near the street to the faucets inside your home. Here are a few important components to be familiar with:
Main Shut-off Valve - This valve is normally located where the water line enters your home through the foundation. It can be used to shut the water off in an emergency or when plumbing improvements are being made. It can also be turned off while the property is vacant to prevent water damage that unforeseen leaks might cause. To make sure this valve works properly, turn it off and verify that the water flow to your fixtures has stopped completely. When the valve is turned back on, it should be opened fully to allow unrestricted water flow.
Pressure Reducing Valve - Most houses built after 1972 are equipped with a pressure reducing valve (PRV), which is normally located near the main water valve. PRVs are usually bell-shaped devices, approximately 4" in length that are designed to keep the water pressure inside your home from exceeding a set limit. This helps prevents "knocking" in pipes and other stresses caused by high pressure.
Service Line – Moving water from the water main in the street to your kitchen sink is the job of your service line. The Water Service Connection Drawing shows the components of the water service. The water main is buried 3 to 4 feet deep in the street to prevent the water from freezing in winter. A corporation (corp.) stop is connected directly to the water main. The corp. stop is actually a modified valve that allows the Authority to turn the water off at the water main in the event of a leak in the service line. The service line, usually ¾ inch copper, is attached to the corp. stop, and the service line runs to the property line where it is attached to a curb stop. The curb stop is another modified valve that can be used to shut off the service without having to dig up the pavement in the street over the water main. The homeowner is responsible for repairing or replacing a leaking service line if the leak is between the curb box and the house.
Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention - A cross connection is a plumbing connection between a drinking water supply and water that is not for human consumption. An example of a cross connection would be any situation where these two sources of water, such as water from a sprinkler system, have the potential to flow together. Backflow occurs when a sudden drop in pressure causes water to reverse from its normal forward flow and back up into a building or without backflow prevention, into the Authority’s water supply lines and its main distribution system. A homeowner’s garden hose is a common offender, especially when used to apply fertilizer or pesticide. All it takes is a drop in water pressure to allow pesticide-laced water to backflow into your home, and then into your or your neighbor’s water supply when you turn on the faucet. Water pressure drops can and do occur. Two examples of this are when water is used to fight a fire or when a water main breaks, both of which can cause the water pressure to suddenly drop. To prevent this, backflow prevention devices are installed to protect the Authority’s water supply and ultimately its customers, ensuring that the high quality water the Authority is providing continues to reach its customers without dilution from any outside source. Customers can help to prevent backflow into their own homes by never submerging hoses in buckets, pools, or sinks. They may contain harmful cleansers or dangerous bacteria. Do not use any spray or cleaning attachments on your hose without a backflow prevention device on the hose. This includes pesticide applicators, portable pressure washers, drain openers and radiator flush kits. All of these devices utilize chemicals, detergents and waste water which are toxic and can be fatal if ingested. For more information on backflow prevention, please click here.