Your home's water main is, as its name would suggest, the main pathway through which water enters your home. This makes it arguably the most important piece of plumbing in your house, except perhaps for the sewer line, which performs the reverse function. However, just like all other types of plumbing, age and wear can begin to take a toll on your water main, causing it to structurally degrade and causing all sorts of problems for the rest of your home's plumbing system as a result. Understanding some of the warning signs associated with a water main that needs to be replaced can help you identify when you should contact a professional plumber about replacement before the issues grow too serious.
Leaks and Puddles
Any sort of water damage within your home is a serious concern, as it can cause structural damage and promote mold and mildew growth. However, leaks in the water main are a little more serious, since the main itself is so large and carries so much water. Most often, you will be able to tell when there is a leak in the water main because you will see large amounts of standing water and puddles in your yard. This can cause serious landscaping damage if not addressed quickly, but can also be hard to notice if you've experienced heavy periods of rainfall.
Reduced Water Pressure
Another clear indication that your water main may be damaged and leaking is if you notice that the water pressure in your home is extremely low or has suddenly fallen with no warning. This can be caused by a clog in your water main, such as tree roots that have grown into the pipe or leaks because the pipe has otherwise begun to structurally degrade. Keep in mind that all of your appliances, water fixtures, and taps will be affected; if an individual tap has low water pressure, the issue likely lies with a leak in your home's plumbing, not the water main.
Finally, your water main may be in need of urgent repairs if you notice that there is dirt and other debris dissolved in the water that is coming out of your taps and shower heads. A small leak in the water main can allow the minerals and dirt around the pipe to begin to flow through the pipe itself, rendering it unusable and dangerous to expose yourself to. Avoid using any of your water fixtures until your plumbing company has had the chance to inspect your system and determine a course of action.