PLUMBING SYSTEMS: This is a brief description of the path water takes from the city to your tap and how you can control it.
Note: In the event of a broken pipe, or leaking pipe especially after a disaster like an earthquake, it’s good to know how and where to turn off your water. You could prevent your house from being flooded and contamination.
There are three places you can stop this flow:
1 – At the street which turns the water completely off to the whole house.
2 – At the entrance into the house.
3 – At each fixture (excluding the shower)
Here in the Los Angeles area water is provided by LADWP the largest municipal utility in the United States. The water is provided through piping buried under the streets. The water from the street to the house flows through a meter which measures the consumption of water in gallons. There is also a main shut off valve located at the meter. This water meter and the main shut off valve are normally located at the front yard near the property line. If the shut off valve at the house does not shut off due to being old and faulty you can turn the water off at the meter shut off valve which will turn off all the water to the building. It takes a steel curb key to do it. You can get these at a Home Depot for about $10.00
Traditional Distribution Systems
Once the water pipe enters the house, a system of pipes branch off this central cold water supply pipe and are run to the water heater, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry and other areas providing them with cold water
The water heater heat is fed cold water from one of these branch pipes. The water heater heats the cold water and distributes the hot water through a system of hot water branch pipes that feed the Bathrooms, kitchen, laundry and other areas requiring hot water.
Shut off valves for both hot and cold water are located just before the fixture (faucet, dishwasher, toilet, and washing machine, etc) so the water can be turned off for maintenance or replacement of the fixture. These shut off valves at the fixtures allow water to be turned off so work can be done at the fixture with out having to turn off the entire water supply system.
Most water supply pipes used in this area are copper pipes.
A somewhat new product called PEX plastic piping can be use.
Dave Silva, GC