Underground pipe install.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Mikebarone, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey all,

    I’m going to install a ¾†main water line, (from the water meter to the house). In some areas here in Phoenix, the soil is aggressive, and will deteriorate copper pipe from the outside inward. Is it a good idea to bed and shade the copper pipe with sand, or just wrap it with pipe plastic sheathing? Or, would it just be better using schedule 40 or 80 plastic, (glue together) pipe?

    Thanks, Mike
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If agressive soil prevent a long life for copper then why not pursuit other options for materials. See what is allowed. PEX, PVC, & Black Polyethylene are all used in other areas of the country and hold up quite well.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,798
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,292
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    pipe

    We usually only use PVC when the line has to be 1 1/4" or larger. I have installed many, many copper water lines all over Phoenix, and have never had any fail because of the soil conditions. I have repaired some which deteriorated because they were in a spot which was always wet, however.
  5. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Most of the local water dept's out here have gone to sch 80 polyethelyne. cheap and effective.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've never heard of sch 80 PE. Or any other sch PE. It's rated by psi.
  7. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks

    Thanks...I will look into what is allowed, (per code) here in Phoenix. The copper I have ran into that went bad was around 15 years old. The whole house had to be re-plumbed.

    Thanks!

    Mike
  8. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
  9. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Here are some photos of a house, where the copper pipe under the slab was leaking. The first repair was about 12 years after the house was built, and then I did another repair about 15 years after the house was built.

    Attached Files:

  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Brain cramp Gary, I meant the heavy stuff.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,292
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    copper

    Interesting. I have NEVER had a house in Phoenix that had that problem. And only a couple of under slab leaks that could not be attributed to poor workmanship during the original installation.
  12. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yep


    Yep, before I did the repair and pour back at his house, I begged the home owner to call a licensed company to do a complete re-plumbing on his house. He told me that if I don’t want to do the repair, that he would get someone else to do it. So I did the repair, and the pour back, and needless to say about 3 months later, he did get a complete re-plumb job.
    His house is located on the North side of Camelback mountain, (if you know the area of Phoenix). And remember, this house was around 15 years old.

    Thanks, Mike
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,798
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yes, it has to do with friction loss.
    If you order a milk shake and use the small straws, it takes a long to suck it up. Same thing with a small straw, I mean pipe that is any kind of distance. It's slows down the water considerably.
    A larger pipe, like a 1-0" or 1-1/4" reduces drag.

    The only time that I have installed a 3/4" water service was to a one bath home. And most of the time, I installed a 1" pipe anyway. There is almost no cost difference, and it future proofs the home for any added plumbing or bathrooms later.

    Two bath homes need 1" services
    Three bath homes need at least a 1" and in some cases 1-1/4"
  14. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Back to you....


    Thanks Terry…I did go check out the existing water service, and it was a ¾†galvanized line, with a 5/8†water meter. It’s kind of typical out here in the older part of town. One of the draw backs of putting in like PEX pipe, (or another nonmetallic type pipe) is that I will loose the grounding to the house. If I do install a nonmetallic pipe, (per code) I will have to install two ground rods, six feet apart, and then clamp them, via #4 copper wire, to the hose pipe…nothing ever easy! The run, (meter to house) is only about 40 feet, so maybe up-sizing would make a little difference, but with a 5/8†meter, I’m not sure if it would be noticeable.

    Thanks big T,

    Mike
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,798
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    My mothers home has a 5/8" meter. I changed the water line from a 3/4" to 1.5" water lines. It made a huge difference.
    She is 250 feet from the meter, but to give a simple example, on the irrigation on the back side of her property, I ran a 1-1/2" PVC line 250 feet, and then downsized to 1" for another 100 feet. The irrigation works that way on the back zone.
    With the 3/4" line, it didn't work.
    It's the same 5/8" meter.
    She runs four zones on her one acre property.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008
  16. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Underground piping

    Too bad you are not a plumber and don't know the correct way to repair a copper pipe under slab
  17. psolutions

    psolutions New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Plumbing Water Main

    I would run pex. Its rather inexpensive and is very good against freezing. It would hold up against the water conditions.

    About your grounding problem. I would seriously add two grounds anyway and get away from grounding to the water piping.

    What you should be looking to do is set it up for the least expensive future maintenance with the least potential chance for future problems. I believe this would be pex piping with a proper ground.

    Ask your electrician though...
  18. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,798
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    With old homes that use the water service as a ground, it's always a good idea for an electrician to properly ground the panel before the plumbing replacement is done.
  19. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Not a plumber


    I have done proper under slab copper pipe repair by brazing the pipe together with oxygen and Mapp gas….â€even though I’m not a plumberâ€. Thank you for your concern.
  20. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks much!


    I have been doing some research on using PEX pipe. I have read on the pipe itself, and it recommended not be used if the free chlorine is over 4 PPM. I called the city water quality department and I guess the highest level they have ever put in the lines was 2 PPM, and that was just after 911. They said after time, they went back down to 1 PPM.
    I will check with my electrician on getting it grounded…(and that will be me).

    Thanks for the insight on the PEX,

    Mike
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