Water Service Line Identification

Identification of Your Water Service Line

If you are unsure of the material of your home’s water service line, please follow the below instructions that can help you identify if your service line is one of the primary water service line types: galvanized, lead, or copper. There are also some water service line types such as cast iron, or poly vinyl chloride (PVC) that may be used in rare instances.

Once you have identified your water service line type, please fill out the Village’s water service type survey.

To help identify the water service line material, there are three different tests to utilize, and you can use the following household items for each of these tests. You can also take and submit a photo of your water service line and the Village will help identify your service line material.

Test #1 – The Scratch Test – For this you will need a flathead screwdriver

Test #2 – The Magnet Test – For this you will need a refrigerator magnet

Test #3 – The Tapping Test – For this you will need a penny

 

Locate the Water Service Line into your Home

Water service lines are typically found in the lowest level of the structure. The incoming water service line may either come up from the basement floor or out the side wall of the basement. If you do not have a basement, the incoming service line should come up through the floor on the main level.

A valve and the water meter are installed on the service line after the point of entry. The test area will be on the pipe between the point of entry and the shut-off valve. If your pipe is covered or wrapped, you will need to expose a small area of metal.

Below are several examples of what the water service may look like coming into your home, if you are unsure of your water service line type, please take a photo (similar to examples below) and the Village will help identify the service line material

Testing the Water Service Line into your Home

Scratch Test

Use the flat edge of your screwdriver to scratch through any corrosion buildup on the outside of the pipe. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument to prevent puncturing the pipe. Each service line type will produce a different type of scratch

Magnet Test

Use the refrigerator magnet to try and attached to the service line. Each service line type will react to the magnet differently.

Tapping Test

Use the penny to tap the service line. Each service line type will produce a unique sound. You can also use the penny to compare the color of the scratch test

Compare your Results

Lead Pipe

Scratch Test

If the area is shiny and silver, the line is likely lead

Magnet Test

A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe

Tapping Test

Tapping a lead pipe will produce a dull noise

Copper Pipe

Scratch Test

If the area is copper (like a penny), the line is likely copper

Magnet Test

A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe

Tapping Test

Tapping a copper pipe will produce a metallic ringing

Galvanized Pipe

Scratch Test

If the area is a dull gray, the line is likely galvanized

Magnet Test

A magnet will stick to a galvanized pipe

Tapping Test

Tapping a galvanized pipe will produce a metallic ringing

Wilmette