The main line that brings water into your home is called your service line.
For most new homes this will be a 1 inch line made of ABS or similar flexible plastic pipe that resists cracking and is considered safe for drinking water. Older homes may have various types of metal lines: Galvanized Steel, Brass, Copper and sometimes lead.
Important if you find that the line that feeds your home is made of lead or if there are any pipes inside your home made of lead you will want them replaced as soon as possible. Lead even in small amounts can cause brain damage in children and adults.
When the Service is installed for a new home your streets department will require the use of an approved contractor. This contractor will attach a line from the street main to a cutoff valve located somewhere in your yard between the street and the house. This valve will allow water to your house to be turned off for reasons of non-payment or emergency. From the shutoff valve another piece of pipe will be run to your home. Where a home has a crawlspace or basement the service will enter through your concrete wall and be run to a water meter.
Up to this point (the meter) all of the lines are considered property of the water company.
Just before the meter if the line is ABS plastic it will transition to PVC or Copper.
At the Point of the meter Copper lines will be used to support the meter.
It is important to use a non flexible metallic line because the meter will need to be permanently attached to a concrete wall. Before and after the meter cutoff valves are used to allow the repair or replacement of the meter.
Once the water exits the Meter and passes the cutoff valve the rest of the homes plumbing is considered the home owners and may be altered as needed to meet the needs of the house.
Water meters now have remote reporting and some new water meters have RF announcement. This means that the water company no longer needs to enter your home unless there is a problem. The meter itself uses a mechanical recorder to show how many gallons of water have passed into your home. For remote viewing wires are attached to your inside meter and run to a small electronic meter is attached to the outside of the home. Water company employees will go to that device on the outside of your house to view your current status. The next step up in remote water reporting is a Radio Frequency device that broadcasts your meter status to a truck or van as it passes down your street. The employee no longer has to exit their vehicle in bad weather to check your meter.
It is possible for your meters to fail or for the computer systems at your water company to charge you for the wrong volume of water usage. If you have problems with your bill always contact the company as soon as you realize the mistake.
Service Lines are the property of the Water Company so you should not be charges after you pay for the initial hookup. In rural areas and new construction hookup fees are similar to electric service hookup fees. You can expect to pay about $1,000 more or less depending on your distance to the main lines in the street.
It is very important that in all homes the pressure of the water service be both adequate and constant. Because high pressure surges can harm things like your hot water heater or your furnace if it handles your hot water needs it is important to install a water pressure bladder tank. These tanks will act like an electric surge protector for your water service. The tank should be installed immediately after the water meter and before any water is served to your home.
Please see our other HowTos about installing a pressure tank.