Advice on underground PVC repair couplers and moving earth

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Seattle_Scott, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Seattle_Scott

    Seattle_Scott New Member

    Jul 2, 2007
    I have a place with a house on a 45 degree slope. The soil is sand on the top and clay underneath. We broke the local rain record last year (South Puget Sound). After the rains the ground dried out and the main power line to the house snapped, the water line busted and separated in a couple of places and I was the lucky guy in the neighborhood because all the doors and windows work fine, septic tank-drain field are fine, no cracked drywall, etc.

    I used dresser couplers to fix the busted water pipe. I initially had two beaks but over the next five months had several other breaks at random time intervals. Haven't had a break in a long time but expect some day it will happen. Last time I was at the store I saw some "expanding" couplers where one end telescopes in and out several inches and wonder if those might be preferable (a couple of O-rings and some lubricant? on the sliding part).

    The house fresh water comes from a well "up on the flat part" of the property.There is 400 feet of buried PVC water pipe (1 inch Schedule 40?) between the well and the house. I expect over the years the earth will move more and the water line will probably break again. Would I be smart to use the expanding type of coupler or just stick with the dresser coupler? When the lines breaks I have seen mostly "simple separation" (the joint breaks and the ends are inches apart) but there can be elevation shifting (a few inches) too. I try to set install the dresser couplers so there is as much pie as possible inside the coupler hoping some pipe can "slip out" as needed.

    I have a feeling hose isn't a great option and once it is packed 30 inches or so into the sand wonder how much it could really stretch out as things shift. The power company guys didn't leave any slack in their underground power line when it was repaired...they said slack doesn't help.

    Expanding coupler? Hose? Dresser coupler? What do you think is best?


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    Last edited: Jul 2, 2007
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Nov 23, 2006
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    Whew! You have a tough situation.

    I would guess there would be little effective difference between the two couplers, and that the hose would/could stretch into a restricted state even if it did not break altogether.

    Is there no way to get the well closer to the house?
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Yes, move the house. I would use the Slip-Fix couplings. They would be your best chance for absorbing movement.
  5. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    Just from the general description

    Your troubles are far from over with this water service. Either one of those connections normally fail over time mainly because they don't resist expansion/contraction.

    It sounds like it was installed incorrectly. I would use ford pack joint connections to secure the breaks.....but that doesn't mean it won't happen anywhere else. :confused:
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Is there any way you could add a loop that would allow for some stretching motion? tension on the connections and/or pipe is not a good thing.
  7. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Jun 15, 2007

    Swing joints???
  8. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Jun 28, 2007
    What about re-trenching in 125 lb Poly pipe? The surface would be slicker, and with the lack of unions, might be better suited to your troubled location. If it is only 30" deep, you could actually plow it in. 400 ft of 1" would be 150 bucks (cost) + about 1.20 a foot for trenching.
    This is what we use for the well head to home connections all the time here in the midwest.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  9. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    my experience comes from rural water installation and water well completions.

    i have been very happy with a certanteed fluid tite repair couplings. they can be purchased in 18" lengths. they are gasketed on either side and would require lube on the rubber and tapering of the end of the pipe with a file. they would give you a lot of room to expand and contract. however, the smallest available size if 1.5" so these would not do you much good.

    a company called Specified Fittings makes a 48" coupler that is designed to couple sdr poly to ips pvc. these are designed to allow for the massive changes in length found with poly pipe. i know that they makes these in two inch sizes, but i an not sure if they make a one inch size.

    i guess i might not be that much help.
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