Quantcast

Post-meter Water Line Replacement into House, Quick Replacement. Brilliant or Terrible Idea?

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

krizz90

New Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Atlanta, GA
Hi Folks,

First time poster here but I have a special project that requires some input from the experts here.

Background on me: Intermediate DIY enthusiast. I say enthusiast because I am not afraid to screw things up and end up spending more time and money as part of the learning process, whereas I know some DIY folks just want to save money. I've got some plumbing experience inside, but haven't dealt much with the outer pipes yet aside from one fix noted below.

Background on the issue: The water 1" PVC line into my house (built 2003) after the meter keeps popping holes. I first noticed the issue about a year ago, paid a plumber to come out, they did some digging, and patched 3 different holes. They recommended I replace the whole line, which I did not have the resources to do at that time. 6 months ago, another big leak developed out there. I dug it up and fixed myself and replaced a 10' section including the area with the leak with PEX pipe with sharkbite connections to the PVC. Now it is leaking again from a different spot, obviously it just needs to be totally replaced at this point.

The weird mystery: My neighbor pointed out my leak yesterday, and noted he just developed his own leak AT THE SAME TIME. That seems too coincidental, no? We definitely have separate leaks because the butterflies on both our meters are spinning and they are coming from different places in the yard. He noted he has also had a recurring issue with leaks in his pipe coming in. My guess is we have defective PVC pipes, but since they break at the same time, I'm guessing water pressure may also be to blame? Neither he nor I have a pressure regulator installed. That's the only explanation I can think of that our pipes develop leaks at the exact same time.

My either crazy or brilliant DIY fix ideas:
Aside from install a pressure regular right after the meter, to take care of the pressure issue whether or not that turns out to be part of the problem. These are my thoughts on fixing.

Least crazy idea: Dig up and replace entire water line into house with PEX. Existing pipe it about 3-4 feet under ground and goes close to 100ft, so it would likely take me all weekend.

More crazy idea: WHAT IF... rather than spend all that time digging up the existing pipe, I just dig up the connection at the meter and the connection at the house, install the fresh pipe while it is still above ground (allowing me to get the water flowing for the family asap), then dig a small trench next to the pipe to push it down into (which I think 1-2 ft should suffice, I don't see why 4' deep is necessary). I estimate this would take me less than 1 day. Yes, I do know where the underground utilities are. They were flagged previously.

MOST crazy idea: WHAT IF... I dig up the connection to the water meter and connection to the house only, then temporarily attach the new pipe to the existing pipe at the water meter, then pull the new water pipe through the ground by pulling out the existing water line at the house? I don't know if this is physically possible if the pressure holding the existing pipe in the ground is too strong to pull it out, but if this actually worked, it would be very quick, very limited digging, and make me the most brilliant person ever, ever.

I would appreciate any thoughts you have positive or negative on this.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
There is a known method of replacing underground pipes by dragging a cable through the old pipes and bursting them open, while pulling new pipe along.

It is used for sewer pipe, maybe it also works for water pipe, I don’t know.

In the link I posted, it looks like you only have to go about two feet down to bury new pipe.
Maybe your city or county has more strict codes than elsewhere, they may require deeper for another reason besides freezing.
 

Jeff Handy

Pro Handyman, NOT A Pro Plumber
Joined
Jul 5, 2019
Messages
2,526
Reaction score
544
Location
Chicago suburbs
Be sure and bury a tracer wire along with your pipe.

Or use pex with one built in.

The link I posted recommends pvc over pex, so maybe consult with a pro about that.
 

krizz90

New Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for that. I hadn't thought about the frost line. If I do end up digging a new trench, I will be sure to go down at least 2'. Thanks also for the note on the tracer line, I didn't know those existed!

Interesting the link is recommending pvc. I recall my research on this in the past led me to believe pex is like the gold standard, copper of course being stronger, but less flexible and more prone to breaking or corrosion, with PVC coming in as the worst option, being less flexible and more fragile than pex or copper. I will have to do some more research.

I had one more crazy idea after posting this. Since my line is 1", could I get a new 3/4" pipe and thread it through the existing pipe? The downside of course being that I'd be moving down to 3/4". But I think that is probably enough for my home. Not sure if the O.D. of 3/4" pipe would fit the I.D. of the 1" pipe, since this idea just popped in my head 5 minutes ago. May look into this too.
 

Stout Mechanical

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
37
Reaction score
12
Location
Mtairy
Polyethylene HDPE has become the most common service line. It’s the same pipe used in wells. It comes rated in different PSI ratings. I would spend a few dollars more for the 225psi. It comes in rolls up to 1000’ feet. You should be able to find a plumbing supply with a 150 or 250’ roll. Only use brass or SS fitting in the ground not plastic.
there is a tool that will cost you about 2k unless you can find some one to rent one from. You would also need a winch or a backhoe. You feed a cable thru the existing line attach a cutter head and then pull.
I would be recommend pulling in your case. The only way to make sure the pipe is buried correctly and not in a way that causes leaks is by digging it up and placing a new line with sand or what ever may be needed. I don’t know where you live to comment on depth. Where I’m at pipes are 4’ - 5’for code and freeze protection in FL I have dug services 14 inches deep. I would buy a 250’roll and run it above ground well out of your way to restore water. Add a 20 dollar valve at the start if the shut off at the curb is not quickly and easily accessible. Most places rent mini excavators for 500dollars or so. Makes the digging quick and easy. Please please call your local miss utility if you go that route.
 

krizz90

New Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Atlanta, GA
Polyethylene HDPE has become the most common service line.
I think you are right. I thought the existing line was PVC, but it probably is HDPE. All I know is it is black and a little flexible, but not nearly as much as PEX. Would you recommend sticking with HDPE over PEX? I'm hesitant to replace with the same material since what I have now keeps springing leaks. It's not from root intrusion or stress from anything else that I can tell. Just little pinhole leaks, like you would see form in old copper pipes. But this is plastic from 2003. I didn't think plastic developed pinhole leaks like this until I saw it for myself. With copper it makes sense. Impurities in the metal get eaten way first and that is where the water comes out. But with plastic I would have thought when it failed you would see a rip or a break, and definitely not when it is only 17 years old.
 

krizz90

New Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Atlanta, GA
I'm starting to doubt my stretch idea of using the existing pipe to pull the new pipe through the ground is not actually feasible without some kind of special tools due to the pressure on it from the ground. But I ran my idea of threading 3/4" pipe through the existing 1" pipe in the ground by a plumber and he couldn't say if it would or would not work. So there is a chance. I'm going to swing by home depot later and do some experimenting in the pipe section. Seriously if I can make that work, I would have the new pipe installed with very little digging. My idea is dig up where the current 1" pipe connects to the meter and where it connects to the house. Push the new 3/4 pipe through the 1" pipe starting at the meter until it pops out at the house. Then connect with new 3/4" adapters. I will be amazed if this idea works, but if it does it will save me so much time and no need to dig a trench through the yard. Fingers crossed.
 

WyrTwister

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Messages
164
Reaction score
14
Location
,
Polyethylene HDPE has become the most common service line. It’s the same pipe used in wells. It comes rated in different PSI ratings. I would spend a few dollars more for the 225psi. It comes in rolls up to 1000’ feet. You should be able to find a plumbing supply with a 150 or 250’ roll. Only use brass or SS fitting in the ground not plastic.
there is a tool that will cost you about 2k unless you can find some one to rent one from. You would also need a winch or a backhoe. You feed a cable thru the existing line attach a cutter head and then pull.
I would be recommend pulling in your case. The only way to make sure the pipe is buried correctly and not in a way that causes leaks is by digging it up and placing a new line with sand or what ever may be needed. I don’t know where you live to comment on depth. Where I’m at pipes are 4’ - 5’for code and freeze protection in FL I have dug services 14 inches deep. I would buy a 250’roll and run it above ground well out of your way to restore water. Add a 20 dollar valve at the start if the shut off at the curb is not quickly and easily accessible. Most places rent mini excavators for 500dollars or so. Makes the digging quick and easy. Please please call your local miss utility if you go that route.
A few years ago we DIY replaced our 3/4" copper water line / main with 1" PEX , using brass fittings & the copper crimp rings . Rented a mini ex at Home Depot for around $ 300 for a day ( to dig the ditch ) . Next weekend , rented it for 1/2 day to cover the ditch up .

The mini ex cost more than the other material . Never told the city water utility BOO .

Where we live in Texas , 24" deep is sufficient . If it had been a straight shot , I would probably used 3/4" PVC .

God bless
Wyr
 

packardv8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
46
Reaction score
12
Location
,
FWIW, I just had a 200' sewer line replaced by the "burst" method and it works wonderfully well; fast, easy and only digging is at either end. Not the cheapest, but no idiot stick work required other than writing the check.

It's a one-day job. The crew will pull a cable through your existing line, attach the bursting bullet to the cable and the new line will be pulled through behind it. They'll do the attachment, pressure test and you're good to go.

Check with Roddie roddieunderground.com to find out which companies in your area use their equipment. Since their equipment is the best, the users are also likely to be the best.
jack vines
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top