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I just bought a house that was abandoned for about a year and I can't get water into the house. The house is on city water. When we bought it, the water was turned off at the street and the shutoff valve under the house was open. When we open the city's 1/4-turn valve, no water gets to the house.

Water goes to the city's valve, then into a meter, then into 1" black plastic pipe that runs for about 200' into the crawl space of the house. To clear all obstructions, I cut off the shutoff valve (it was very old & rusty and in need of replacement anyway) so now that 1" pipe is open under the house. A city water guy removed the meter and verified water comes through the valve (lots of it). He exchanged the meter and we still have no water. I called the previous owner (who inherited the property after a death) who said there is no other shutoff valve apart from the one under the house. He said he just turned the water off at the street.

When the city's valve is left open for hours, the meter doesn't register any water going through and no wet spots appear on the ground - it doesn't seem like the pipe is broken.

The only thing I can figure is that the water line is clogged, but I can't figure how that could have happened. How common/likely is it to have a clogged water line to a house (not just within a house)? I can call a plumber, but would like to exhaust all opportunities to fix this myself first. Any suggestions?

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I would look for an additional shutoff valve as the pipe comes in the house possibly a pressure regulator or both , water supply pipes made of plastic don’t plug up like old galvanized pipe did so a 2nd shutoff usually in the garage or close to the water heater is probably turned off.

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  • We looked for another valve. In the crawl space, one can see where the pipe enters the house and follow it to where I cut it. (It's a small house & see the whole pipe at once.) I walked the property multiple times looking for another valve but so far haven't been able to see anything. – GregH Jun 24 '20 at 11:17
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    There may be an in-ground valve box that got buried. They are often near the foundation where the water line enters the home. FreeMan's suggestion to scope it is a good idea. – George Anderson Jun 24 '20 at 13:52
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It is possible that, if faucets were left open inside the house, that insects crawled into the water line between the house and the meter and set up residence there.

I would think that there would be enough pressure from the city pumps to blow most things like that out of the pipe and into the basement, but it's possible that didn't happen.

You might consider renting (or hiring someone) to run a boroscope through the line from the meter to the house just to be sure the line is clear. This will also show if there's another valve somewhere along the way that the previous owner wasn't aware of.

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