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I am troubleshooting some spontaneous and inexplicable water pressure issues. Overnight, without anything jumping out as obvious, our water pressure has dropped from "good/steady" to "barely existent".

First, I need to figure out whether the water pressure coming into the house is good or bad; that will rule a lot of things out. I was told that I need to:

...figure out if any water is available before [my] main shut-off valve. If so check the water pressure there.

However I'm not all that familiar with what tools/methods are available to me to make this assessment. I know where water leaves my house (it's a 4- or 5-inch thick pipe down in my basement). But I'm not sure where water is entering my house, and even then, how to check the pressure before the water gets to this "shut off" valve.

Any ideas as to how I can:

  • Identify where water is entering my house; and
  • How to test the pressure prior to this shut-off valve? Tools? Methods? Caveats/gotchyas?
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can you see your water meter somewhere, either indoors or out? depending on where you are located, this may be found somewhere in your basement or upper level. your main water shutoff should be near this meter. –  alt Jun 11 at 20:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Work with the water company on this. Unless you live in a rural area, they should be able to turn the water off to the property at the street. They'll then be able to pull the meter (something you can't do), and check the pressure there.

If the pressure at the meter is good, it's a problem in the building. If the pressure at the meter is bad, it's a problem in their plumbing.

Have you asked if they are doing; or have recently done, any work in the area? Or are fire hydrants in the area being flushed?

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Thanks @Tester101 (+1) - I got home tonight and checked the houses; they're running perfectly strong. So this is definitely a plumbing issue in my house that lies somewhere after the hoses branch off from the trunk. Thanks again! –  bfodder Jun 12 at 0:50

Figure out where the water tap is in your yard. You should see a cover/lid on something that is not your sewage. You should see a small pipe traveling through it plus a shut-off that you can turn.

Where that is walk straight to your house. The line coming in should be very very close to the perpendicular point of your house. It is probably coming in your basement if you have one.

From there locate a copper pipe (thin - maybe 1") that is coming into your house from the outside.

There should be some sort of shut-off valve on it. It might be a turn wheel or a lever. That is your main shut off. Every home owner needs to know where this is in case of a major plumbing issue.

A lot of times if a house was planned out correctly there is one tap before this shut-off valve. Most times it is outside. Sometimes it is a laundry room tap or something like that. Basically find your shut-off and figure out if there is anything that lets out water between that and your tap in your yard.

What tools do you need as a homeowner? None. You should be able to guesstimate that you are getting good pressure from various places.

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Thanks @DMoore (+1) - however I've been living in my home for 5 years and have never noticed a "tap" outside in my yard somewhere. Could it be near my electric meter (perhaps the water meter and the electric meter on the outside of the house are stored on the same unit)? Thanks again! –  bfodder Jun 11 at 18:51
    
It can be very small and really close to ground. Look by the street. –  DMoore Jun 11 at 18:53
    
Thanks again, but we must have a different setup in our neighborhood. I'll check the service meter against the side of the house when I get home tonight, but there's no way I would have been doing all the lawncare for 5 years and never noticed a cover/lid/tap by the street. Thanks again, I'll report back with what I find... –  bfodder Jun 11 at 19:01
    
@bfodder DMoore is basing his answer on he things are in his area. The fact is, setups can vary wildly from place to place. It's very common for the main shutoff to be immediate after the water meter. Find the meter, and see if there is a valve near it. –  Tester101 Jun 11 at 20:46
    
That is true. I am just giving you the typical US home version but this can be all over the place especially in urban areas or really old houses. –  DMoore Jun 11 at 21:21

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