Should I Replace My Water Mains On My Own?

Should I Replace My Water Mains On My Own?

The most important part of your plumbing is your water main. This is the water supply that makes the various plumbing appliances work. Without a water supply, your drains won’t work, and you won’t have running water to meet everyday needs. 

A water main can be repaired relatively quickly with the right equipment. To do so on your own is possible but will likely require a lot of time and labor. You may be able to purchase specialty tools for the task, but the price of using these can be higher than hiring a plumbing company to use their equipment for the fix.

For repairing your main line, it may be better to go with a professional to help you make the replacement you need.

What Does the Water Main Do? 

Your water main line brings water from your local source — usually provided by your city — and pumps it into your house. If you live in a residential area, your city lines likely run parallel to your street. Your main water line taps into the city line, providing your home with water.

Tapping into the city line would require the city’s permission; additional modifications to your mainline, such as periodic repairs, won’t likely require any permits or negotiations with the city.

A properly operating main water supply maintains your water pressure, ensuring you can accomplish your tasks without much delay. 

How to Fix Your Water Main Yourself 

The most straightforward way to replace your water main is to dig it up, cut it out, and install a new line. It sounds simple because, in essence, it is. When you begin the project, you may quickly discover how difficult some steps can be.

1.Mark Your Utility Lines

The first thing you should do is to mark where all your major lines are. The easiest way to do this without manually ripping up your yard is to pay the city to come and mark them for you. Even if you hired a professional, this is a required step in the process. You don’t want to cause a gas leak or power outage accidentally!

2.Locate Your Water Supply Main

If you have a leak in your water supply line, finding it shouldn’t be too hard; just follow the water.

If you are replacing your water supply line as part of routine maintenance, finding it can be a tricky ordeal. An easy way to locate the line you’re trying to change is by tracing it back from the connection point with the city line. There is usually some sort of cover located near the street where you can find the connection point and water meter. 

Using a prod, you can search for and mark the location of your pipe. This will keep your yard intact longer while you gather resources and wait for the best time to start digging.

3.Excavate the Supply Line

Now it’s time to start digging.

Using your preferred digging tool, remove the dirt around the water main. Be very careful not to puncture the water line. Doing so can make the problems you already have worse.

It is best to dig down to your pipe carefully and, once you know where the line is, dig more aggressively where you know it isn’t. 

4.Shut Off Main Water Supply

Before you cut into your water line, you need to make sure that the water line isn’t actively pushing water through. You can find your water shut-off valve where it connects to the city line. 

5.Swap Out the Pipe With a New Line

When you expose the pipe and confirm there is no water running through it, you can swap out the pipe to make the change. 

There are a few different variables that would determine how you fix the line. 

  • What condition is the pipe in?
  • Can your line be repaired more affordably?
  • Do you need unique materials to fix the line?

Why Would a Water Main Need To Be Replaced?

If you are having problems with your water main, you will know about it.

The most immediate sign of a water main problem is the loss of water pressure in your home. Since water is generally fed from the street, there must be water pressure to drive it through your pipes and into the taps and appliances above street level. 

The oldest way known to create water pressure was used by the Romans to supply their cities with water. That method used aqueducts to run water from a water source high above the city’s elevation into the city. 

We use similar methods today! 

Most suppliers use gravity to provide water pressure. It’s likely your home’s water comes from a tank in a location higher in elevation. Your city will feed your home using a supply line from that tank to your home. 

When the water gets to your home, some is redirected into a smaller pipe — your water main. This smaller line is under a lot of stress because of the water pressure running through it. Over time, old materials can corrode, plug up, or break completely. 

Your house operates on a closed system. A break in the main line is like literally opening a flood gate. Your home will lose water pressure, and your yard will begin to get swamped with the water leaking from the break in your water main.

You can patch some smaller breaks, but the easiest way to fix a water main break is to replace the broken pipe section. 

When the break in a supply line is traced back to having dated or unstable pipes, you will need to replace the water line currently supplying your home with water. This can either be a partial or full replacement, depending on how old your pipes are and what condition you find them in. 

Do you have a Water Main Problem? Quick Quality Plumbing Has a Mainstream Solution!

Life gets messy quickly when your water main breaks and you find yourself without running water! We have trained professionals ready daily to assist you with your water supply line. 
Contact us now to have us quickly fix your water problems and get back to normal!

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