Of all the various parts of your plumbing system, the most important is the water line. All water that flows into your home, whether from a well or from a city water main, flows through this pipe first. So, if you want your plumbing system to continue operating as smoothly as possible, it’s a good idea to make sure that your water line stays healthy. Part of doing that is familiarizing yourself with the signs that your water line is in trouble, and knowing when to call for repairs. Below are some of the more typical issues that your water line may run into, and what you should do about them.
Tree Root Growth
Tree roots are the bane of many water lines throughout the country. If you have trees anywhere near your front or back yard, you may have to deal with this at some point. As a tree root structure grows and spread outwards in search of new water sources, it may penetrate the water line. The root will grow and spread throughout the line, restricting the flow of water through it until there’s barely a trickle moving into your plumbing system. You may notice this as a steady decrease in water pressure in your plumbing system over time.
Tree roots can be cut out of the water line with special equipment, but sooner is much better han later for this kind of thing. If the roots have damaged the pipes themselves too significantly, then the only recourse to restore the pipe to proper function will be to replace it. The best way to prevent things from getting that far is to schedule an inspection for your water line every couple of years.
Lime scale is the result of hard water exposure, which is water with high amounts of magnesium and calcium in it. Lime scale mineral deposits can build up on the pipe walls of your water line over years, restricting the flow of water and essentially causing the same kinds of problems that tree roots would. Lime scale won’t damage the pipe itself, but it will eventually harden if it isn’t removed in a timely fashion. This will make it impossible to get rid of without damaging the pipe. Most water lines with advanced lime scale end up getting replaced. Again, regular inspections are the best way to prevent things from going that far.
Most of the plumbing pipes in your home are not surrounded by soil, and so don’t have to deal with this particular issue. Not so for water lines, though. As the soil around the water line shifts and moves over time, it can bend the line out of shape in such a way that it impedes the flow of water. Kind of like putting a kink in a garden hose. This is called bellying. If the bellying is severe enough, it can even rupture the line. There is little you can do about this, other than replacing the pipe if it gets that bad. However, your plumber should be able to repair the damaged section of the line if it’s caught early enough.