Help identifying water main components?


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Old 11-24-17, 11:40 AM
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Help identifying water main components?

Can someone help me identify parts of the water main leading to my house (or direct me to a thread with the information)?

I recently bought a house in Tucson on city water and I'm having problems identifying parts of the water main. Please see the attached picture.

Where the water leads to the house, there are three different pipes. The one on the right has a valve with a missing handle (near the ground), which I assume is the water main shut off. This pipe leads to a black, horizontal cylinder above the valve (presumably the meter) and then to a whole house water filter (then it goes to a water softener). The one in the middle has a handle similar to what is in the house's irrigation system in the front and back yards, and which is connected to the lefthand pipe and goes back into the ground. My best guess is that the middle and lefthand pipe are for the irrigation system and the righthand pipe is the water main.

I'm looking for the information so I can (1) understand the plumbing better, especially in case of a water leak, (2) replace the missing valve handle, (3) fix the small leak from the whole house filter which is causing the patina on the pipes.

Thanks for the advice and help.
 
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Old 11-24-17, 03:29 PM
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I think that your assessment of the pipes & valves is correct.
 
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Old 11-24-17, 05:03 PM
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I'm curious where your irrigation system gets its water. It looks to me from your pic that the main does not feed the irrigation pipes...right?
 
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Old 11-24-17, 08:53 PM
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I'd like to see a picture from further away.
I'm curious what that thing is at the top of what you calling the main.
 
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Old 11-25-17, 08:46 AM
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Thanks to everyone for the input.

aces-n-eights: correct, the left and middle pipes are connected only to each other above ground. There must be a connection below ground (but why wouldn't it pass through the meter above the water main shut off valve?).

PJmax: attached is a picture of the full set up.

I purchased some valve handles at Lowes to hopefully replace the missing water main valve handle, so long as the splines aren't too corroded and I can match the size. If that doesn't work, I was looking at this product: https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Plu.../dp/B00M16DANU or a pair of vice grips. If none of those work, I think I have no choice but to call a plumber to replace that valve.
 
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Old 11-25-17, 09:59 AM
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It seems odd to me that the feed to your irrigation system is before the meter. I'd be surprised if the City of Tucson would allow unmetered water to be used for irrigation. Could there be another meter somewhere along the line... maybe at the street?

A dumb question on my part... is that cylinder thingie between the ground and the filter truly a meter? It doesn't look like a meter to me. But what do i know, we don't have meters here in Alaska.
 
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Old 11-25-17, 10:12 AM
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Something is not making sense here. You are showing New Hampshire as your place of residence. That means all water supply pipes, especially the main, must be below the frost line.

That device is not the water meter. It looks more like a regulator.

I would be extremely careful forcing and possibly breaking a valve unless you are prepared to have the main water service shut off at the street.

Are you sure this is your water main ?
Have you confirmed the plumbing inside the house ?
 
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Old 11-27-17, 06:19 PM
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aces-n-eights:
Could there be another meter somewhere along the line... maybe at the street?

A dumb question on my part... is that cylinder thingie between the ground and the filter truly a meter? It doesn't look like a meter to me.
It's absolutely possible that it's not the meter and there's a meter elsewhere. Admittedly, I don't know what a water meter looks like. And I agree there is no way the water company would allow free irrigation.

PJmax:
Something is not making sense here. You are showing New Hampshire as your place of residence. That means all water supply pipes, especially the main, must be below the frost line.

That device is not the water meter. It looks more like a regulator.

I would be extremely careful forcing and possibly breaking a valve unless you are prepared to have the main water service shut off at the street.

Are you sure this is your water main ?
Have you confirmed the plumbing inside the house ?
You're correct--I used to live in NH and moved to Tucson a year ago (I'll update my profile here shortly). Thanks for ID'ing the black cylinder as a regulator. It looks like it to me too, based on images from Google. I'm sure that the plumbing shown in the pictures is the water main to the house. There are no other pipes to the house and the home inspector for the house purchase said it was the water main (that's how we found out about the missing handle).

Thanks for the warning of the risks of forcing the water main valve. My plan was first to see if I could even get a handle to fit on the valve shaft, and if so, to gently try and turn the valve. If I meet any resistance, I'll stop and call a plumber.

I know price varies by location, but any very rough estimates on the costs for having a plumber replace that valve?

Many thanks again for everyone's help.
 
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Old 11-27-17, 06:22 PM
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In your new location it is very possible the water meter is in a pit or a little vault by the street.

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Old 11-27-17, 06:26 PM
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Thanks -- I'll check that out shortly.
 
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Old 11-27-17, 08:18 PM
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I'd ask your the city water company dept where the meter is. My meter is next to the sidewalk and is obviously a meter (just below a concrete lid and has the numbers on it!). It also has a quarter turn shutoff before and after the meter which I can shut off if I need to work on the system before the house shutoff next to the house. I've only had to use it once when I needed to repair the house shutoff (like you need to).

Before I'd call a plumber I'd excavate the dirt down a bit and see what you have. You might get lucky with a union and be able to change the valve yourself. Save some money. At the very least the plumber would get a better idea of what needs to be done for a more accurate estimate.
 
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Old 11-28-17, 07:41 AM
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tdl -

https://www.irrigationtutorials.com/...-water-source/

Scroll down a little and you will see a setup for a mild climate and a pressure regulator described as “an unusual model” and it looks just like yours. I bet that small square plug is in a tapping that can be used to connect a pressure gauge. Not sure about that but I bet it’s a good guess.

Just had a thought. Isn’t a pressure regulator sometimes bypassed for irrigation systems? Thought I heard that. Maybe that’s why your connection to the pipes for outside water is before the pressure regulator. Not sure about that.
 

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Old 11-28-17, 10:06 AM
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Some locales meter sprinkler systems separately from household water. Household water will be charged at a higher rate to include sewer treatment. Sprinkler water is cheaper since it's not using the sewer systems.

The valve on the left is a backflow preventer for the sprinkler system. I think others have identified the rest of the system.
 
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Old 11-28-17, 03:25 PM
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The number of meters is irrelevant.

...I think others have identified the rest of the system.

I donít think so. There was a good guess above but no certainty expressed that the item pictured is in fact a regulator, since it is an unusual model. I think the linked article nails it.
 
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Old 11-29-17, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for everyone's help here. I'm going to dig deeper down to see the piping, find the meter by the road, and see if there are any shut offs there so I can possibly replace the valve myself. Appreciate the help.
 
 

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