kidseieioJune 29, 2012

Our house currently runs on a well system with pump etc. We have found out that over 12 years ago a meter for city water was installed out front and the water company says that the pipes were run from the meter to the house at that time and to access city water all we have to do is go pay a fee and they will turn it on. My question is that something is missing here... Am I going to have to have a plumber come out?? if I am running the whole house off a pump and well then how or where is there a shut off or how do i use the well for yard and animals and city for house?? something seems a little odd here and i cant be so lucky that they just turn it on and it works and the well works for outside?? any help??

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Let me begin by saying that from my experience being a female has nothing to do with ones ability to get the job done. Over the years I have had numerous female apprentices and with the exception of one, they all turned out to be fine plumbers, but then the average dropout rate for apprentices is over 80% within the first year so I think the girls did a fine job....LOL

In order to solve your problem let us first consider the facts that we do know.

We know that you currently have water pressure for both the house and your yard & outbuildings but we are not sure of the source.

You might begin by checking your main electrical service panel and see if you have a two-pole breaker that is marked for a "water pump" or "well pump". If you do have a breaker and if that breaker is turned on try switching it off, then go to your bathtub and run a tub of water. If your water comes from a well the water flow would probably stop before the tub is full, if it doesn't stop, or if the pressure does not dramatically fall off there is the possiblity that the house is connected to the municipal source.

Now repeat the test,only this time after you turn the breaker for the pump off and turn the water on at the tub, see if you have water pressure to the yard & outbuildings?
If you have full water pressure at the tub, but reduced or no water pressure outdoors, then it is quite possible that the house is supplied from the street while the outside is still on the pump.

If we have not found your answers by now using the easy method we shall have to start doing it the hard way...but we can rely upon the plumbing code to give us a place to start.

Per code, the buried line from the municipal main or well pump to the house is defined as the "Supply Line" and all the water pipes inside your house are defined as the "Distribution lines". The code requires that all structures must have a "Main Water shutoff valve" located at the point where the Supply line enters the structure and connects to the distribution line. The valve is the official point of demarcation between the supply and distribution lines. Now this demarcation is important because we are permitted to use some types of material as supply lines that may not be used as distribution lines,by example we may use PVC or Polyehtelene line for supply but that type of pipe is prohibited inside the structure..Code mandates that the "Main Water Shutoff valve" must be within 6ft of the point where the water enters the structure (some codes limit it to 3'). If the house has a basement generally the water line will enter into the basement through the footer wall and the main water shutoff will be immediately inside the wall. If the house is built on a slab supply line may come up through the floor in a utility space or it may be outside within 3 ft of the footer wall. Code requires the main water shutoff valve to be immediately accessible so if it is outside it will be within 3' of the footer wall and either stubbed up above grade or they may have a small vault which may look like an inverted plastic bucket.

You mentioned that your not oppossed to crawling under the house so I am assuming you have a raised foundation.

There are two things that we know. 1. the water lines from the street & from the well are buried below grade and 2. Your house is above grade, so you should be able to look under the house and see where the pipe comes out of the ground and goes into the house.

You will probably find three lines stubbed up from below the ground. One is the line from your well and the second line is the line to your outbuildings. You may also find another line that is just stubbed up with a cap on top. That would no doubt be the line from the street main, which was never connected.

Now there is another possibility that might save you some effort. Check the lines at the meter box at the street. If the line from the meter to your house is a copper line you could have your water service company attach a signal generator to the copper line, then they have a device that looks like a metal detector that can trace that line to the house for you, but that won't work if you have a plastic line.

Personally, I doubt very seriously if your line from the street main to the house is connected because the water company says the line was installed and a meter set 12 yrs ago. You can be sure that if a meter was set even though the line was not connected the water company would check that meter periodically to make sure that no one secretly made the final connection allowing you free water.

Once you do discover the location of the municipal line it is a very easy job to make the final connection, but when they do, keep in mind that your line has been in place for 12 yrs so make sure they flush that line well, then sanitize it before making the final connection. (to sanitize the line they just flush it with water with a fairly high concentration of laundry bleach or pool chlorine and yes, chlorine laundry bleach is totally safe, in fact, they dump a gallon in a well to sanitize a well).

Now here is a very important consideration. When they make the final connection to attach your house to the municipal water supply they are also required to totally disconnect your well from the house water supply. You cannot have a crossover valve, it must be totally disconnected, but you can continue to use the well to supply water to the outbuildings for livestock only, and the lawn & irrigation system, but once the well pump and outside piping is separated all the exposed pipes and faucetts connected to the well MUST BE painted Yellow, and all faucetts must haver a sign posted stating "NON-POTABLE WATER".

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:37PM
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