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My Home Water Supply

Reviewed By:
R. Dodge Woodson

Your home’s water supply system and plumbing seems like a complete mystery to most of us. Fortunately, we can simply open a faucet and water magically appears. Unfortunately, there are times when you need to know about the mysteries of your water supply system. Here are some of the key factors you should know.

Home Water Supply System

The water supplied to your home might originate from a lake, a river, or from the ocean through a desalinization program. Water is taken from its original location cleaned with the addition of chlorine and then stored for later use. Many communities add fluoride to their water to reduce tooth decay.

Water supplied to your home is under tremendous pressure, sometimes over 100 pounds per square inch. When you open or turn on a faucet, water pressure forces this cold water supply up through your pipes and out of the faucet.

Water and contaminants leaving through the pipes of your home are sent to treatment centers. There waste water is treated to remove solids, odors, and scum. Ultimately, all the bacteria are destroyed and clean water is then returned to a local body of water.

Hot Water Supply

Your hot water heater is actually an in-house water reservoir. Water is held in your hot water heater heated to a temperature pre-determined by the water heater’s thermostat.

Pipes lead from your hot water heater to your kitchen sink, your bathroom sink, your shower, or any other place where you require hot water. When you open a hot water faucet, hot water is released from the hot water heater, runs through the pipes to the faucet you’ve opened. Cold water supply flows into your hot water tank to replace the water that has left.

Many homeowners have installed tankless hot water heaters. Tankless hot water heaters do not store water. Instead, tankless hot water heaters heat the flow of water as it flows through the heater. Unlike standard hot water heaters which have a limited supply of hot water, tankless hot water heaters supply an endless flow of hot water.

Water Meter

Your water meter is probably located in front of your house close to the curb. It is placed in a concrete box that is flush with the ground and is lined up with your main outside faucet. Your water meter reads the amount of water that you use, usually in gallons or cubic feet.

Shut Off Valve

It’s important to know where your main shut off valve is and where the shut off valves are inside your house. Depending on your climate, the main shut off valve might be located in your basement, on the exterior of your home, or near your water meter.

For localized flooding, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the shutoff valves near your toilets and sinks. This will allow water to flow to the rest of your house, while stopping the flow elsewhere. Your home may also have a shut off valve next to your dishwasher and hot water heater.

Roof Vent

Your pipe draining system needs to breathe to equalize pressure when water is draining from your home. A roof vent helps do the job. In addition, a plumber may snake a roof vent to get to a pipe blockage that is not easily accessible by other means.

Knowing your home’s plumbing is essential for any homeowner. Take a few minutes to educate yourself and, when possible, bend your plumber’s ear. They’ll be happy to help.