Need Help!! Broken water pipe into house

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by t-rev, May 28, 2008.

  1. t-rev

    t-rev New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I was doing some landscaping last night and broke through the 3/4" copper piping running into our house from the main water line. I shut all the water off at the switch near the street so now I have no water. I dug down further to see exactly how bad it was, I pierced a good size hole in it. I went to Home Depot to get the stuff to fix (new pipe, 2 fittings, 4 in 1 cleaner, torch, solder etc). I thought the $70 for supplies would be better than the $350 for a plumber to come out.

    Is there a better option? I have read about flexible piping or maybe something other than using the straight pipe and try to get it to fit correctly, I don't have much give at all and trying to get it to fit properly is turning out to be a real pain. Any advice on alternatives would be greatly appreciated!!!!
  2. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    you can't solder copper underground it has to be brazed, and it has to be type k soft copper not the cheap stuff you bought at home depot
  3. t-rev

    t-rev New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Why can't I solder copper underground? I am curious. Also is the Type K Soft copper easily available?
  4. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    not sure where you live, but anywhere i know of soldering is not allowed undeground because it not as strong. Usually type k is only available in 50 ft rolls and up, at around 500 bucks for a coil.

    You are best to call a plumber who will have a 2 or 3 ft section laying around. How deep is your water main
  5. t-rev

    t-rev New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Live in Atlanta. The water main (where the pipe broke is only about 12 inches below the surface. Not very deep at all.
  6. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    i call and get a rough quote on having a plumber do the job
  7. t-rev

    t-rev New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I did, they want $200, the pipe is already cut, I just need an 8 inch piece replaced.
  8. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    You should be able to solder K-type copper; I would prefer to use MAPP gas. (Q - Are there some areas that require brazing for direct burial that's not under a concrete slab?)

    You're having difficulty lining things up because, most likely, the service line to your house is soft type K copper, not rigid. Soft K is readily available, dunno if the box stores keep it or if you can buy it in small quantities.

    For the fittings, you'll want to use slip couplings rather than the ones with the stop. That will allow you to slip the fittings over either end of the existing pipe, insert the new pipe, place the fittings in their final posisiton, and solder away.

    Are you up to speed with your soldering skills? If you so, you should be able to pull this off.

    Good luck,

    -Sam
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  9. t-rev

    t-rev New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I do have the slip couplings, I will see if I can find Soft K tonight. If not then I will call a plumber. It's been a while since I have soldered, but I have done it in the past. Thanks for all the help!!
  10. RioHyde

    RioHyde Plumber

    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    take the torch back to the box store. Go to a plumbing supply house and get two 3/4" pack joint couplings. These are acceptable for underground work. You wont need a torch...just wrenches. Just be sure they are pack joint couplings and not the run of the mill compression couplings. The guys at the supply house know the difference and can hook you up. Not sure what part of Atlanta you're in, but I know there's a couple of supply houses I use in Marietta whenever I'm down there visiting my mom and she has a project for me.

    There are many areas where brazing is required whether underslab or not. Not sure about Atlanta
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    Read the spec on a Sharkbite slip coupling. If it can be used underground, it would be the easiest of all...no wrenches, no solder. It's about 4" long, so if you cut out a bigger section than that, it wouldn't work. One end doesn't move, but the other end will seal anywhere along about a 2.5-3" length of overlap. SO, you slip in on one end, align the other end, then slip it back to make mate up with the other end.
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Well this is an interesting thread for me. About 15 years ago, my old 3/4" galvanized supply line gave out. I had it replaced by a professional plumbing company. They used 1" type K ridged copper out of my 1" meter. About 3 years ago, I had a broken PVC pipe on my irrigation branch, and I had to dig down to the copper main. I replaced the PVC from there up to the PVC main irrigation line following my backflow preventer with 1" ridged copper. I soldered the pipe with propane. It was a bit of a problem standing more or less on my head in a 5 foot deep pit, my torch kept flaming out due to lack of air I assumed, but never-the-less, I got it done and it is working fine. I'd be interested to know what is or was wrong with what I did. I darned sure I'm not going to redo the job, but inquiring minds want to know!:D
  13. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    do not use shark bites. as riohyde mentioned you can use corporation coulpings under ground. I don't think any big box store will have k, a local plumbing supply may have a small peice but don't count on it.


    i would take back what you bough and spend the extra 130 to have it done right
  14. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Thanks; I wasn't aware of that. A couple of pack joints will set him back about, what, $50?

    -Sam
  15. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    ya 50 sounds right but my worry would be finding type k
  16. sjsmithjr

    sjsmithjr Geologist

    Messages:
    295
    Location:
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Yep. You can buy it here by foot at the HVAC supply house, but they don't sell to the public. Plumbing supply house sells 60 ft minimum. Don't know about Atlanta. With the right attitude, the counterman might ask one of the "real" plumbers to sell him a couple of feet off the truck. I have to admit, it's a lot of running around and a lot of time without water to save a $100 or so. But sometimes, time is no object.

    Sounds like the plumber quoted him parts, minimal markup, a service call, and one hour minimum. Fair enough.

    -Sam
    Last edited: May 28, 2008
  17. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    i would of charged more than 200 and i'm sure alot off guys hear would too.

    If the plumbing supply sells by the foot to plumber if your real nice ( bring a few coffees ) they may sell to you
  18. newhomebuyer

    newhomebuyer New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Main water line leak

    Please help me..... I just purchased a foreclosure in northern virginia. Home was winterized when I viewed it. When I moved in and had the water company turn on the water, it started leaking through the fire place. I was told (by the facilities manager at my job who felt sorry for me and did a favor) that it was a leak in the outside bib??? He cut the wall and saw the crack. Also, I hear water constantly running in the utility closet. Turn main valve off and it still runs. I have had 4 companies out to give estimates. All except one said that I needed to replace the main water line and that it would require lots of demolition to my house since the basement ( where the exposed pipes are located) is leveled with the first floor - walk into the front door and 8 feet away is the "basement", to the right is a half bath and inside the basement is the utility closet with the hot water heater, furnace, etc. Townhome was built in 1995. The one guy who said "repair" said that if I have copper pipes, no need to replace only repair. He felt sorry for me to and told me to be weary of anybody who said to replace the line - he didn't know that others had told me to do this. But I don't know what kind of pipes are underground. Every quote except his was 4,000 or more. His quote was 1200-1800 to repair and $300 to pay a "line locator" to tell him where the leak is. I don't want to be taken advantage of. I am a single female. This is my first home. I've been here for 3 weeks. It was a pre-existing problem that I was unaware of. The water company said that last year around this time the prior owners had a high bill. It's an "as is" house. My water bill for 24 days was 350 some odd dollars. Sorry this posting is so long, but I'm really in a touch spot. Any advice on how to approach this. Repair or Replace?
  19. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    New home buyer, I sent you a private message.
  20. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In this area, they put Type L underground all the time. And frankly, if a homeownwer wanted to soft solder a joint, the world will not come to an end.
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