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!