Can City Water Cause Plumbing Leaks?

Whether you live in a large metropolis or a small suburb, if you have a municipal water/sewage supply to your home, you can bet there are distinct advantages and disadvantages that come with the supply. As water is exhumed from ground sources, springs or reserves, it must be properly cleaned to ensure that it is safe to consume. That often means an entire slew of chemicals must be added to the water to make it potable. While the majority of these chemicals are inert to the human body, they can wreak havoc on your plumbing lines.

Older Plumbing

If your plumbing pipes are older and are made from galvanized metals, your aging home is most vulnerable to the damages that can be caused by the high concentration of chemicals in your water supply. A condition similar to electrolysis can be caused when aging galvanized plumbing pipes are in contact with newer copper lines. Where these two materials meet together in curves, kinks and bends under your home, they can cause corrosion in the fittings and inside the pipes that can block lines-eventually causing them to leak.

Newer Plumbing

Just because you have new plumbing pipes doesn’t mean you are invulnerable to the chaos that can be caused by heavy municipal water. Simple chemicals like fluorides help keep water clean and fresh, but can ensure improperly installed plumbing lines will leak. Copper lines are typically continuous from connection to connection. Where these materials make sharp turns, bends or angles, fluoride deposits accumulate inside the pipes. This forces the water through a tighter and tighter hole to reach its destination. The resulting viscosity of the water can easily wear down the thin walls of copper pipes and cause pinhole leaks to form under your slab.

Testing for Leaks

You don’t need to be a professional plumber to test for water leaks in your city water line. Just take a look at your bill. If the water usage rate is steadily rising, you’ve more than likely got a plumbing pipe leak. To test for leaks from the meter to the home, simply shut the water supply off to your home. This is typically on the outside of the home where the water supply line joins the house from the road. Next, view the water meter by the road. If the meter is still moving, then your leak lies between the home and the water meter. A quick, inexpensive and painless repair can be made if this is the case. If the meter has stopped moving, your leak is likely in or under your home and should be inspected by a professional plumber immediately.

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