Connect Water Meter Pigtail To New Poly (PE) Water Line

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by AlexS, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm a DIY person (not a plumber). My next project: replacing the water line to my rental house. It is 300' to the meter and I'm not looking forward to getting beat-up by the trencher. Going with 1" PE pipe (not PEX), 200 PSI, IPS which is replacing 63-year old 3/4" galvanized . I've read good things about PEX and Poly and decided poly will work as well as PEX (keeping my fingers crossed I made the right choice) I'm told I don't need to bed the poly with sand, but my soil is rocky and strongly considering it. The local utility company told me I have a 5/8 inch meter, 5/8" (in & out) spuds, and 3/4" copper pigtail coming under the sidewalk to the union. After locating the union, it appears the pigtail is 5/8" rather than 3/4".

    Questions:

    I'm researching fittings. I'm connecting 5/8" copper or brass (not sure what the pigtal metal is) to 1" PE pipe. I do not want to do barbed with 2 stainless clamps. I'm willing to spend the extra $ to buy good quality fittings which will last as long as the pipe. Someone recommended a "pack fitting" and I've heard of a couple of different brands. (1) Can anyone made a good recommendation regarding fitting type and brand please? (2) Do I need a separate adaptor to increase from 5/8" to 1"?

    Also, customer service at my water company (Seattle Public Utilities) told me according to their computer system, my meter has never been "renewed". (3) I'm not sure what that means, and (4) whether renewing the meter would make a difference in water pressure and volume? According the the water department's computer, the meter produces 52 PSI. I'm a little concerned regarding pressure and volume due to the 300' distance. There there is also increase in elevation of about 10' from the meter to the house. My fixture count is low (1 full bathroom, 1,300 sf home). Kitchen has dishwasher, icemaker/water dispensor in fridge, 2 outside spigots, utility sink in basement, washer of course, and no outdoor irrigation (no plans for it either). Perhaps a 2nd bathroom one day. My gut tells me that because I have a 5/8" water meter, having a 3/4" pigtail under the sidewalk (rather than 5/8") would result in marginal benefits.

    Attached are pictures of my pigtail joing my existing severely rusty galvanized water supply line.

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    943
    Location:
    ct
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a brass male x insert adapter and 2 stainless clamps to connect your poly pipe. When done correctly, the pipe will stretch and pull apart before the connection fails.
  3. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    Your probably right; done right a barbed fitting will do find. I heard to install the clamps in opposite directions. I'm still like to get some feedback on pack fittings.
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Go with a waterworks compression fitting, like a Ford Pack-Joint, along with the stainless steel inner liner that reinforces the poly from the inside. Besides being stronger than any alternative, they save you the grief over the problem of worm-gear clamps not being strong enough to apply the force needed to absolutely guarantee the poly pipe will stay on the insert barbs. As poly pipe gets thicker and denser, the needed clamping force goes up accordingly.

    This isn't saying it can't be accomplished with insert fittings and clamps, given the right clamps and fittings, and maybe a brief shot of heat on the poly, but you are only doing this once, so you might as well make it easy on yourself. Besides Ford, there is McDonald and Mueller, as alternative brands of waterworks fittings.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    In the first place there are NO 5/8" fittings. There are 5/8" meters but it is an internal dimension and has nothing to do with the pipe connecton size. Yours appear to be 3/4" copper. There are many ways to connect it to the copper female adapter, i.e., pack, compression, barb, etc.
  6. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    I know what a compression fitting is. What does "waterworks" mean? Is that a generic term for outside fittings? I've seen that term used here and there and I'm not sure what it means.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It means one of the fittings usually used by the water company, or companies which install the water mains.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,004
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It will be a 3/4" thread coming off the pigtail for the water meter.
    With 300 feet, you would be better off using 1-1/4" Poly
    There is a whole lot of friction loss with 1". And I realize that you only had 3/4" before, but even with a short run, that would have only been good for a one bath home in Seattle.
    Most plumbing supplies have the 3/4" MIP x barbed fittings in brass. I don't think the box stores carry those. Too many pennies for them. HD Fowler also carries Ford fittings for water lines.
    I use the barbed fittings and double hoseclamps on both ends. So a coupling would take four hose clamps.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  9. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    Terry, thanks for the tip on he 3/4" thread coming off the pigtail.

    I have been going back and forth between 1 1/4" and 1" pipe size. To be honest, I originally decided on 1 1/4" and then read online that pressure drops with each incremental increase in pipe size. I even bought a 300' roll of 1 1/4" that I haven't returned yet. I decided to go with 1" due to (a) smaller 5/8 meter (rather than 3/4), (b) roughly 10-foot increase in elevation from the meter to the house, and (c) supposed 52 PSI produced by the meter (according to Seattle Public Utilities) which I don't think 52 PSi is very strong. Based upon reading various threads on Terry Love's DIY Forum, I understand the following conceptually. There is a difference between Static Pressure and Dynamic Pressure. (keeping in mind I'm a DIYer) Static pressure will be the same no matter what the pipe size. I'm concerned about what happens to Dynamic Pressure with 1 1/4" pipe once the water starts flowing. I'm afraid there will be a pressure drop once someone starts using water resulting in the same experience that occurs now; water shoots-out for 2 seconds due to the build-up of static pressure then pressure tapers-off significantly to a trickle. The volume certainly isn't there. Right now I think I have too small of a pipe due to rust and scale. I afraid 1 1/4" could be too large. I've spent more time figuring pipe size than any other aspect in preparation and I'm still not 100% certain. I think one other reason why I decided on 1" is to play it safe.
  10. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    Thanks HJ. By the way, I think you are right regarding the size of the copper being 3/4". Good eye.
  11. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    Terry,

    Checking to see if replying to your last post goes directly to you or if it is added to the thread. I need advice on 1/1/4" or 1" pipe. You can see my concerns on the thread.

    Alex
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,250
    Location:
    IL
    Smaller pipe will cause more pressure drop than larger pipe.
  13. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    Because if the friction issue? If the pipe is too big, will a drop in pressure occur?
  14. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    Yes. It is friction related. Other than cost, there is no real downside going larger on a cold water line. As the pipe gets bigger, that means that the water doesn't have to move as fast for a fix volume of water. The friction is related to how fast the water is flowing, so, less speed means less pressure drop.

    For a hot water line, a line that is too big has a downside other than cost. The water in that line cools off (when you are at work or during the night). When you turn on the shower the next morning, all of that cool water needs to be flushed out before you will get any hot water. If the line is large (and/or long), you will be waiting a long time for the hot water to come (and waste a lot of water in the process).
  15. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    As long as there is enough pressure to push the larger quantity of water in the larger line to keep up with demand? In other words, if the PSI from the meter was strong, say at least 70 PSI, then I probably wouldn't be concerned. I have 52 PSI, going up a slight grade of roughly 10' in elevation. Is the low PSI and change in elevation an issue?

    I never thought about the quantity of hot water sitting in the pipe needed to be flushed before you mentioned it. Makes sense.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,250
    Location:
    IL
    10 feet elevation causes a 4.33 PSI drop. Add to that any frictional losses due to the water flowing. If you are measuring 52 PSI at the house while you are not using significant water, the pressure at the meter is a lost less than 70 PSI, or the elevation change is a lot more than 10 ft.

    Once the supply pipe is filled, as much water comes out of it at the house as goes into it at the meter for all practical purposes.
  17. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'll be measuring the PSI with a gauge tomorrow. I called the local water utility company and they looked in their computer system and told me my meter produces 52 PSI. I know I shouldn't take their word for it, but they are probably close to actual PSI. My point was: If pressure is strong at the meter, say 70 PSI, than I'm thinking the meter will be able to replace water in a 1 1/4" line much easier when water comes out of the line at the house as opposed to a meter producing 52 PSI. Does that make sense? I'm concerned my pressure might be too low at the meter for a 1 1/4" line with a 10' gain in elevation. Maybe I'm making this too complicated in my own mind.
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,250
    Location:
    IL
    Yes. If the meter pressure was lower, that would be a reason to use bigger pipe.

    I presume at this point, an doubts would be about whether you need something larger than 1-1/4. Terry said "With 300 feet, you would be better off using 1-1/4" Poly ". That's a good indication that 1-1/4 would be up to the job.

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/pe-pipe-pressure-loss-d_619.html may be of use to you.
    Now how much pressure drop would be too much? Remember you are going to lose 4.33 PSI due to the rise. Losing another 10 PSI during max water use would seem to me to be not so bad. You would be using about 22 GPM at that point if I read that right.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  19. AlexS

    AlexS New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    I do recall Terry said 1 1/4". I'm taking all the risk and I want to be sure.

    In summary, a 1 1/4" pipe would mitigate the pressure drop due to a 10' elevation gain and 300' of friction better than a 1" pipe considering 52 PSI from the meter? I looked at the engineeringtoolbox link, but I don't know how to use the charts. Thanks for sending it.

    Also, I'm not considering 1 1/2".
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,250
    Location:
    IL
    Yes. I am shocked that you are asking that question.
    Please do not think that 1 inch would be a performance improvement over 1-1/4 in any way.
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