This is why plumbers get paid the big buck!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by nursedoe, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    So, the galvanized pipe from the 1950's broke under the patio. Scores of plumbers gave estimates for more than I make in month, but when we settled on one, he took the deposit and disappeared. So, enter good guy plumbers with good skills and common sense but still more money that I have. So my nephews, nieces and friend came to dig the 300 foot 2 foot trench with strict orders to avoid the line with the current main supply line because the weird black poly is in a size that NO plumbing supply place in the world has fittings for. The boys are pretty strong and it didn't take long before they hit and broke the pipe meaning we could not even turn the water on for 30 minutes in the morning! They didn't want to tell me while I was at work, so they went to every plumbing supply place in the high desert before finally remembering that the ONLY folks that have fittings for that are the water company and it is on our side of the meter. UH! So, I came home from work with NO water at all now, 5 very dirty and sweaty 20 somethings with no hope of a shower.
    At this point it is hilariously funny. Broken shovels, more broken pipe, trench not finished and a house full of folks who REALLY need a shower! Still have to cut the cement patio to get to all of the pipe to replace and I can't wait to see what happens next. You guys earn every penny you make! It is not as easy as you make it look and if I actually have 5 grand I would so gladly pay you to do this.
    So, thanks for the help and guidance so far. We will do all the manual labor and call in the plumber to do all the connections and explaining about how to run the irrigation/landscape stuff. They mostly have the trench completed. Another day's work and we will be in search of 1 1/4 inch pipe of some sort..that is what the black stuff is.. Thank you, thank you , thank you for all the guidance so far.
    NURSE-not plumber:rolleyes:
    Doe
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    You should post a picture of the cut cross-section of pipe with a tape measure held up on it. Someone here can probably tell you what it is and how you can connect to it.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    What color is the pipe? You may be looking for the wrong thing. It is is black, it is PE. If it is blue, it is PB, and the fittings are different.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; If it is blue, it is PB

    They called it "weird black poly" in the original posting. If they hadn't hit the poly you should have been able to keep it and just replace the leaking galvanized. Are you making a mountain out of a mole hill? We make "big bucks" because of what we know, more than for what we do. And we do NOT replace an entire 200' line if there is only a short section of bad pipe. There are also very few, especially modern, pipes which "no one has fittings for". IF the water company has the fittings, then we can also get them from the same place they do.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  5. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    They were attempting to find the galvanized end point. No one knew where the rusty galvanized ended. When the PE came out of the meter, it was in an arc and they were trying to trace it and broke it. ( Maybe because it was uncovered and it is FREEZING). So, all the galvanized is rusty with little wet spots here and there. It is more than 60 years old, so as long as the patio had to come up, we were going to replace the length of it. I called the water company manager this morning and they will come out and try to fix the two places the kids hit while we finish trenching for new pipe. At least from the house to the cross fence is rusty pipe of some sort. I thought galvanized didn't rust..like galvanized nails. :-(. ....Looks like 1.5 or 1.25 black pipe- I will take a picture in a bit. The outside measurement of the pipe with a cloth tape is 5 inches. I don't know why there are no darn fittings. My nephew went to the big box stores, two plumbing stores AND an irrigation place trying to fix it before I got home. I will ask the city WHY no one has the supplies for that pipe.
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,248
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Any piping beyond the meter belongs to you, and the utility is not responsible for it. If they come out and fix it, they are doing you an awfully nice favor.
  7. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Yes, we know it is a favor. The manager, Scott, was a life-saver years ago when someone hit the main and no one had the pieces to fix it! I will bake them cookies for life! I swear I will never, ever, ever complain about the prices plumbers charge ( for not making your yard look like a mine field!. First picture is of Nephew fill tamale pans with water from the broken main to use for flushing toilets. The other two are of the trench they are digging. I forgot to get a picture of some contraption my nieces made that made me laugh. They thought that it would be easier to take a hunk of cement and a piece of horse corral and drag it through the sand with a truck to dig a trench. Cute idea in theory, I suppose. I have go to work again, and can't even imagine what will go on while I am gone! One of my nieces is a bit of a celebrity and put a facebook message out for help. I hear there are minions on the way. 2013-01-23_09-22-36_789.jpg 2013-01-23_09-20-31_178.jpg 2013-01-23_09-19-35_140.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  8. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,867
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I have enjoyed following this project since you started the other thread. Thanks for the photos! Keep keeping us up to date with your progress! Nice to have caring family and friends. You are blessed.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I thought galvanized didn't rust..like galvanized

    It doesn't, until you bury it where it is assaulted by continual dampness and chemical reactions. If the pipe was imported then it started rusting as soon as the dirt covered it.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,351
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The galvanizing process simply coats the steel pipe with a protective covering that slows the rusting process, but it does not prevent it. Your galvanized nails and bolts eventually rust as well. Soil conditions, moisture presence, and water minerals affect the life of a galvanized pipe, but a life of 40 years is sort of an approximation of what you might expect. Galvanized pipe also corrodes on the inside which over time can reduce the inside diameter of the pipe greatly. This is why galvanized pipe is rarely used for water supply anymore.
  11. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    Oh, this story would make a great screenplay! So, the amazing water company came out this morning. One niece, Jennifer, called in favors and two very nice plumbers showed up about 10 am. Niece Stephanie and the 3 nephews and Albert all met over pipes to discuss options. The broken poly out by the main was a blessing! This brought the water company with their "magic" fittings and an offer to repair them without charge. Again they want to know why their pipe in on my property. They say, don't replace it all, they will fix it at the main and have their guy come out and trace the galvanized back to the house so we can just replace the galvanized where is joins the poly. So now we have 11 folks working on the problem. Pipe tracer guy starts marking blue paint here and there, comes back and forth to the main at which point I had to leave to word and when I got there, I got a text that the galvanized pipe is NOT connected to anything at all! All previous plumbers who dug up and examined were mistaken. It seems their poly runs all the way under the patio. BUT no one can figure this out because there are few straight lines. There are holes in the yard everywhere because much like the bathroom project years ago, the pipe run is like nothing anyone has ever seen ever! There are mysterious arcs and tees. I wonder if it was designed by the woman who built the Winchester House?
    My Mom fixed them all chorizo and eggs for brunch -water company included and the guys are all intrigued at the mysterious run of the pipe! It seems about 3 feet out from patio the main seems to be running parallel to the patio. Water company came back after their lunch wanted to see what the other volunteer plumbers were finding under the patio. Seems to be poly with a little pvc right before the pressure box thing. Again, the water company said they will supply the fittings if needed.
    We still have no idea the full layout of the main supply line. They have tried to explain to me that there is some sort of T that leads to a valve box with lots of x shaped faucets for sprinklers we haven't used in years because they were always breaking. Water company and plumbers say they have never seen anything so crazy looking. The good news is that we have temporary water for much needed 5 minutes showers tonight!
    This has been an amazing experience! Online plumbing angels! Volunteer family members who dug the unneeded 300 foot trench- Water company guys who NEVER help with leaks on private property here for hours! Real life plumbers volunteering to help out to make up for the bad guy who took the money and ran. Tricky niece who arranged some meeting with bad guy plumber. I heard she told him that she had a rental house with a leak and will meet him with a few friends to discuss returning the money. ( I am trying hard not to know anything about that).
    Should know in the morning about getting a full time water supply! Will keep you posted. I am so so so grateful for all of the help.
  12. nursedoe

    nursedoe New Member

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    California High Desert
    :eek: We have our water back. The volunteer plumbers, family and yes, the water company fixed the last of the leaks with those hard to find fittings. Everything is covered up and we all smell much better after showers! Called plumber who took deposit more than 20 times but he would not return one phone call. To make a long story short, while I was at work, my young niece called said plumber and pretended to be a landlord with a leaky pipe. Plumber immediately returned call and arranged to me her. She met him there with cameras and a Sheriff ( to keep the peace?) and asked for money back. It went fairly peacefully from I see in the video but so far he has not returned the money.
    So, this is all resolved. I am so so so grateful for all the help and advice. You are an amazing group of people. Thank you so much!
  13. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    Messages:
    1,867
    Location:
    New York, NY
    This is what is so nice about living in a community like the High Desert, where people look out for their neighbors and relatives, and where the public servants and utility employees go the extra mile for their customers in a way that we don't see where I currently-live. Having lived several years in Texas, though, and owned businesses in rural Georgia, and spent time in the desert of the Inland Empire, I am well-familiar with delightful communities like yours.
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