Premise Plumbing: Where Your Responsibility Begins

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Are you finding home ownership to be as terrifying as it is amazing, especially when it comes to dealing with your plumbing and tap water? If so, take a breath, because we got you covered!  To empower you as a homeowner, we explain which plumbing tasks you’re responsible for and where to start.  Be sure to read all the way to the end because certain responsibilities may come as a surprise and they aren’t the kind of surprise your family can afford to neglect. But, we’ll help you through those too, so let’s get started!

Premise Plumbing vs. Municipal Plumbing

Like most homeowners, you’ll want to know what part of the plumbing system you’re responsible for and what you can defer to the city. Premise plumbing refers to the system of pipes you own and maintain. It runs from the property line to your house.  Municipal plumbing, the plumbing taken care of by the city, includes the section of pipe running from the water main to the property line. Your property line is the cutoff point that marks where your responsibilities begin and the city’s end.

Responsibilities of the Property Owner

As a homeowner, you have three primary plumbing responsibilities. They are:

·       Fixing broken or cracked pipes & patching leaks

·       Monitoring water quality

·       Replacing old lead pipes

Fixing Pipes and Patching Leaks

Of course if a pipe cracks, leaks, or breaks on your “side” of the plumbing system, or you accidentally back your lawnmower into your water meter (oops!), you’ll need to rectify the situation.

Monitoring Water Quality

Monitoring the quality of your drinking water is your most important responsibility. Here’s why:

·       Premise plumbing experiences the same water safety issues as municipal plumbing but usually to a greater extent.

·       A higher surface area of drinking water is exposed to pipe materials like lead in premise plumbing, increasing your risk for contamination.

·       Drinking water in premise plumbing sits stagnant for a long time leading to more potential for contamination.

·       A decreased chlorine residual means it’s easier for water to become contaminated in premise plumbing.

·       Higher temperatures in premise plumbing make it easier for bacteria to grow in your water.

Though the city has a responsibility to deliver safe drinking water, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean safe water is a guarantee. Just look at what happened in places like Flint, Michigan. Also, many problems with water quality arise on the homeowner’s “side” of the plumbing, and are thus your responsibility, not the city’s.

Replacing Old Lead Pipes That Contaminate Your Drinking Water

You’re also responsible for detecting and replacing old lead pipes on your “side” of the cutoff line. Most water pipes were laid in the mid-1900s and they were made of lead. The shelf life for these pipes is about 75 years. This means, it’s possible that lead will soon begin to leach into your water supply and contaminate it. Yet, another reason why it’s so important to monitor the quality of your water and replace those pipes!


Where to Start?

With a handful of responsibilities, it’s common for homeowners to want to know where they should start.

Let’s take a look.

Because contaminated water poses the greatest threat to your family, you should start with monitoring your water quality.

To do this, you’ll need a water sensor. We recommend the Water Shield. The Water Shield is the ideal device to monitor your water because it lets you know if your water is safe. And, with automated testing and reporting, it provides peace of mind all year round.

So, click here to take care of your most important plumbing responsibility—monitoring your water quality.

And congrats on taking your first steps toward becoming a more empowered homeowner!

The Truth about Heavy Metals in Drinking Water & How to Protect Your Family from harmful health effects


Usually colorless, odorless, and tasteless, heavy metals in your drinking water are silent killers. Even if the health effects of exposure aren’t readily apparent, they are real, and devastating. To protect your family, learn the signs and symptoms of heavy metal exposure and test your water. To give you a hand, we list the health effects of exposure. In the meantime, stay tuned until the end of the post, because we reveal a terrific way to protect you and your family from water contaminated with heavy metals.

Health Effects of Heavy Metal Exposure

The effects of exposure to heavy metals range from mild to severe depending upon the amount you’ve ingested, and how long you’ve been exposed. So, it’s important to stay vigilant. 

Here’s that list of health effects we promised (and some extra info too!).


Lead disproportionately affects small children. Children exposed to lead may develop behavioral problems, have trouble paying attention, and suffer from impulsivity. They may also experience a drop in IQ, and may test poorly on academic assessments. In addition, both adults and children exposed to lead may experience several physical symptoms:

Effects of Short-Term Exposure:

  • Coma & death
  • Seizures, numbness, & dizziness
  • Tiredness & headaches
  • Stomach cramps & loss of appetite
  • Anxiety &  irritability

 Effects of Long-Term Exposure:

  • Infertility, miscarriage & stillbirth
  • Brain & kidney damage
  • Anemia


Ingested cadmium is stored in the liver and kidneys, and it wreaks havoc on several of the body’s systems. Ingestion may cause death as well as several other symptoms, including:

Effects of Short-Term Exposure:

  • Fever, muscle pain, & chills
  • Vomiting & diarrhea

Effects of Long-Term Exposure:

  • Cancer
  • Kidney, lung, & bone disease


After arsenic-contaminated water is consumed, arsenic stores itself in hair, nails, skin, bones, and teeth, and it can be fatal.

Effects of Short-Term Exposure:

  • Numbness & tingling in extremities
  • Muscle cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting, & diarrhea

Effects of Long-Term Exposure:

  • Skin, bladder, & lung cancer
  • Gangrene
  • Changes in skin pigmentation


Pregnant and nursing women need to be extra cautious about their drinking water because mercury-contaminated water can lead to neural tube defects in utero. It can also seep into breastmilk. Other effects include:

Effects of Short-Term Exposure:

  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive &  motor dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Headaches & insomnia

Effects of Long-Term Exposure:

  • Kidney damage or failure & liver damage

Risk for Heavy Metal Contamination is Greater in Certain Areas

Unfortunately, not all water systems are created equal. While countries like Canada and the United States enjoy relatively safe drinking water, water contamination emergencies like those experienced in Flint, Michigan, remind us that no one’s safety is guaranteed.

Rural areas are at a higher risk for contaminated water because they lack the resources to maintain a pristine water system. Case in point, water systems serving fewer than 500 people are major violators of the Lead and Copper Rule.

However, even if you reside in a supposedly “safe” area, most water pipes were laid in the mid-1900s. With a lifespan of about 75-100 years, they will need to be replaced soon because old pipes increase risk for heavy metal contamination.

Unfortunately, no one is completely safe.

There’s No Safe Level

There is no safe level of heavy metal exposure. Even the tiniest amount can lead to fatal consequences, especially for little kids.  Further, because symptoms are easily mistaken for common ailments, it’s easy to drink contaminated water for a long time and not realize there’s a serious problem until it’s too late.

That’s why knowledge is so powerful.

Bet you’re ready to learn how you can protect your family from heavy metals right about now, riiighht?!


Protect Your Family, Starting NOW!

Here’s how. All it takes is one simple step—signing up for the Water Shield.

(And let us stress: we’re not telling you this because we have a product to sell. Ugh no. That’s so unbecoming. We’re telling you because you have to protect your family, and we genuinely believe this one step will make it easier for you to do so). Here’s why:

The Water Shield lets you know if your water is safe.  And, as home water testers go, it’s among the easiest and most affordable. Simply pair it with your cell phone after an incredibly simple installation process and it will alert you to the presence of heavy metals in your water.  If your water is safe, you’re in the clear, and you can consume it without worry. If it’s not, you know you need to take steps to decontaminate it, and you can protect your family in the meantime.

Knowledge is power.