The best place to look is in the water meter box at the house-side of the water meter in the yard. You might have to dig down through a layer of dirt in the box to find it.
"At an older house, if you find galvanized on the house side of the meter then you can know for sure that it has not been replaced,” according to master plumber James Freeman, of J.W. Freeman Plumbing, our go-to guy for these questions. "If you find PVC, it could have been replaced or it may be that the meter was changed, an irrigation system was added right there, or a repair was made. It could go back to galvanized a few feet further down the line. It's hard to know for sure without exposing a lot of the line."
Another place to check is in the ground near the front of the house and below a hose faucet, because often the water service pipe runs from directly below the hose faucet to the water meter box. You may see a shutoff valve barely above ground or buried a couple of inches down, like in the photo below. Dig down further to find the supply pipe.
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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING PIPES:
• How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?
• Can galvanized steel pipe still be used for new water lines in a house?
• How can I tell if I have cast iron pipes in my house?
• What is the difference between green and white sewer drain pipes?
• Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?
• What are the abandoned pipes sticking out of the wall in my house?
• What are the code requirements for plumbing vent terminations?
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under sinks?
• What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains?
• What is a "combination waste and vent" in a plumbing system?
• What is a building trap?
• What is a galvanized nipple?
• What are the pipes sticking out near my water valves?
• How do you accurately find a broken water pipe leak under the floor slab?
• What is the difference between water pipe and sewage (waste) pipe?
• Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water?
• Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left?
• What is a dielectric union?
• What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater?
• If all the plumbing drains have water in them and you can still smell sewer gas, what's causing the problem?
• How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?
• Why is there a flexible accordion pipe under the sink?
• What is the difference between PVC and ABS plumbing pipe?
• What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?
• What are the pipes on my roof?
• What is a P-trap?
• Why is old galvanized steel water pipe a problem for homebuyers?
• What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?
• Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?
• Can you connect CPVC pipe directly to a gas water heater?
Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.