Many customers are unsure about where Fairfax Water’s system ends and their home plumbing begins. Water meters and their settings are owned and maintained by Fairfax Water. Your plumbing includes all of the pipes and fixtures on your property, from the meter or valve near the street to the faucets inside your home. The following information is important to know about your home’s plumbing:
Main Water Valve
This valve controls water flowing into your home. It is normally located where the water line enters your home through the foundation. It is a good idea to locate and mark your main water valve because you can use it to shut off the water in an emergency or when you are making plumbing improvements. It can also be turned off while the property is vacant to prevent water damage that unforeseen leaks might cause. A plumber or HVAC expert should be consulted for long-term water shut off of appliances like water heaters, etc.
You can minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in an emergency. To make it easier, we’ve provided a main water valve tag you can print and attach to the valve.
|Main Water Valve Tag
|Click here to download
Note: If you are having trouble printing the valve tag, you might need to update your Adobe Reader. If you are still having trouble, call 703.289.6019, TTY 711.
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. It is typically made of copper, plastic, or sections of both.
Unlike the components above, water meters and their settings are owned and maintained by the Fairfax Water. Most houses built between 1971 and 1980 are equipped with an inside water meter, which is connected to a remote register on the exterior of the house. In the case of an inside meter setting Fairfax Water only maintains the water meter and remote reader. Other meters are located near the edge of the property in a small pit 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
- It is a good idea to locate and mark your main-line valve and check it for proper operation. This valve controls water flowing into your home. Marking the valve will allow you to quickly turn off the water if a pipe should burst or you have other water problems. You can minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in an emergency. To make it easier, we’ve provided a main water valve tag you can print and attach to the valve.
- Make sure you know where the valves are for your outside spigots. That way, when freezing weather is forecast, you can easily turn off the water to the outside spigots.
- Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets. Using the valves located inside your home, make sure no water is left to freeze, expand, and cause a leak in these lines.
- Never try to thaw frozen pipes with an open flame or torch. If you cannot maintain heat inside your home, take further precautions to prevent damage. Turn off the main water supply and drain the plumbing.
- If you’ll be away from home for an extended period, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature to protect pipes from freezing.
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces. Hardware or building supply stores carry insulation designed to keep pipes in these areas from freezing.
Protect Your Pipes
The improper disposal of “flushable” wipes, fats, oils, and grease (FOG), and other foreign items in the sink and toilet causes expensive residential and commercial plumbing problems. Flushing unwanted or expired medication can also affect municipal sewer systems and harm the environment. The clean-up of sewer backups and the additional maintenance required to reverse the damage caused by the improper disposal of these items leads to higher utility bills, costly home plumber visits, and expensive pipe replacement.