Your Home's Plumbing
Many customers are unsure about where the Spotsylvania County Utilities Water system ends and their home plumbing begins. Water meters and their settings are owned and maintained by the Spotsylvania County Utilities (SCU) department. Your home's plumbing includes all of the pipes and fixtures on your property, from the meter or valve near the street to the pipes and faucets inside your home.
Main Water Valve
This valve controls water flowing into your home. Depending on the age of your house, the main water valve can be inside a garage, basement, laundry room, near your water heater or in your crawl space. In newer homes, it is generally located where the water line enters your home through the foundation.
It is recommended that you locate the main water valve because you can use it to shut off the water in an emergency or when you are making plumbing improvements or repairs. It can also be turned off while the property is vacant to prevent water damage that unforeseen leaks might cause. A plumber or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) expert should be consulted for long-term water shut-off of appliances like water heaters, etc. Some older homes do not have main water valves. If your home does not have a main water valve, you may want to consult a plumbing professional for installation procedures and costs.
Water Service Lateral
This is the pipe that runs underground from the meter or valve near the street to the main water valve inside the house. Typically, it is made of copper, plastic or sections of both. Unlike those components, water meters and their settings are owned and maintained by Spotsylvania County Utilities Department. Usually, meters are located near the edge of the property in a small barrel that is placed in the ground and covered by a cast iron lid. It is helpful to keep plants, shrubs, and trees trimmed away from our meters and registers to allow us to read and maintain them.
Tips for Winterizing Your Plumbing
- Know where your main water valve is before problems arise. Marking the valve will allow you to quickly turn off the water if a pipe should burst or you have other water problems. Should you have to turn the main water valve off, turn on faucets to allow the water to drain and release the pressure in your pipes. It is recommended that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in an emergency to help minimize damage.
- Pipe insulation provides your first line of defense against cold temperatures and frozen pipes. Pay particular attention to pipes located in unheated spaces. Hardware or building supply stores carry insulation designed to keep pipes in these areas from freezing. One type of insulation, and what many homeowners prefer, is insulation tubes specifically designed for pipes. Be sure to measure the outside diameter of your pipes to make sure you purchase the correct size of tube and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Disconnect and store garden hoses. If your home has a separate shut-off for external faucets, turn it off and drain the water from those faucets.
- Turn off and drain sprinkler systems. You may want to call in a professional company to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. A broken sprinkler pipe can do damage to the delicate components that make up the entire system, increasing the cost of repair.
- If you will be away from your home for an extended period, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to protect pipes from freezing.
- It is always recommended that you contact a plumbing professional and follow all manufacturer's instructions when winterizing or making any type of repairs to your plumbing.