Cold water mains: What’s yours and what belongs to your water company
Cold water mains are one of the key areas of any household’s plumbing. It pays to know a bit about them, including what you’re responsible for and what’s down to your water company. As ever, I’m here to help!
Cold waters mains materials
Cold water mains pipes can be made from copper, plastic/MDPE (that’s medium density polyethylene to you) or even lead.
Lead may have been banned in the UK for more than 25 years as it can leech into drinking water, but it can still be found in older homes. It’s down to you to replace lead pipes, and if you find you have them in your home or on your property you may well want to do just that. There are loads of fittings to help you convert to a pipe system that’s more modern.
Random trivia: plumbing is named after the Latin word for lead – plumbum – I kid you not!
Fortunately, nowadays MDPE pipe – usually in 20mm or 25mm – is the material of choice for cold water mains being installed of replaced. If you have existing copper pipes and want to use MDPE as well, no problem: there are fabulous fittings and reducers that join different materials and diameters.
Who’s responsible for the water pipes?
Pipes leading to your property boundary are the responsibility of the relevant water company. Within your boundary they’re all yours! If you don’t know who supplies your water, find our by entering your postcode here.
In some circumstances the water main might be the responsibility if the supplier up to your meter. But this is rare.
Valves, meters and all that good stuff
There’s nothing worse than having a plumbing emergency and not being able to shut off the mains water! Make sure you know where your shut-off valve (aka stop valve or stopcock) is; and turn it on and off a couple of times a year to stop it seizing up.
As for the water meter, it could well be in an Atplas chamber. “What’s one of those?” I hear you cry! Well, it’s like a tall plastic box buried in the ground within your property boundary that’s designed to allow easy access and maintenance of your meter. Simples!
Watch my video for more about the MDPE mains water pipe and the Atplas chamber below. Includes some digger action!