water line thru basement block wall- how to?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Steve_P, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. Steve_P

    Steve_P New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    East TN
    I have another thread about a leak between the water meter and house; the leak is a crack in the copper tubing where it enters the block wall for my basement.

    There's no easy way to do a quick fix on it as the crack is literally right at the wall, it so it will need to be replaced. Sooooo, what is the best/right way to bring a water line thru a basement block wall and what materials are used?

    What is existing is what looks like 3/4 CPVC? (white) from the meter that runs parallel to the front of the house, ~6" from the block, ~24" below grade. It connects to 1/2 copper tube (threaded fittings) the cu tube then has a 90* and then the tube goes thru the block with the hole perpendicular to the block. They cemented around the entrance and covered the block with tar, etc. Amazingly there was no sign of moisture in the basement, even on the back side of the outer block as I could look thru the hole on the inside where the water line came thru.

    I was going to replace the 1/2 with 3/4 line into the house.

    How should this be done? Should I use copper tube again? Or maybe something like brass pipe with a thicker wall?

    I am not sure why it cracked. There are some roots from a maple tree in the area but they don't appear to be the cause. It may just be the ground settling from where they backfilled the foundation as it has settled there quite a bit.

    The water line entrance is currently right under the gas meter which doesn't seem like the best idea so I may just dig another hole 6-10' away and enter the house there with a new line. This will get me away from the gas meter and existing shrubs, so I'd have more room to dig a bigger hole, and it'd be no problem tying into the line inside the house at this location.

    Thanks for the help

    edit

    Here's a pic of the leak. It was ~1200 gallons/day per the meter running but somehow I did not see any evidence of it, I could only hear it in the house. Can't wait for the water bill!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2010
  2. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    561
    Location:
    Rosedale, Md
    I would change to pex thru the wall, that will give you some flex on the pipe as it goes thru the wall, 3/4inch of course.

    P.S. The copper joints look like they were put in with regular solder, thats a no-no, they need to be silver soldered.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  3. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    VA
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    silver solder/brazing ONLY indoors under a slab. But that male adapter into a female PVC adapter SHOULD have split before the copper started to leak.
  5. Steve_P

    Steve_P New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    East TN
    How the heck can you tell what solder type that is from that picture??? (LOL)

    ok, I have completed a temporary fix on this- basically replacing what was there with the same (but no leak now). The leak was definitely caused by settling of the soil after it was backfilled- once I cut the tubing the CPVC portion dropped down ~2" and pulled "back" (north) ~.2". I removed the cu tube threaded fitting from the CPVC and changed the tube portion thru the block. When fitting it back together I had to enlarge the hole thru the block to get it to mate up again as I could not get it to fit together as-is- the CPVC had pulled north ~.2 from when it was installed.

    I believe I am going to look into entering the bsmt at a location 6-10' (north) as previously mentioned as a permanent fix- dig a bigger access hole, etc; get away from the gas line/meter, shrubs, porch.

    So, any more thoughts on the best way to pass thru the block wall?

    Codes aside, I don't see the logic of sleeving it as mentioned since this is below grade and running it thru another pipe size just gives it another chance to leak groundwater into the bsmt.

    Is PEX the way to go in the transition thru the wall? It seems like it would be since flex would've prevented this from happening.

    What are the builders of new houses doing these days?
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  6. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    VA
    The idea with the sleeve is to allow the foundation to move/settle in relation to the pipe without putting stress on the pipe. There is a similar requirement when you are passing under a load bearing footing. As you have seen, things move/settle over time and this can put stress on the pipe.

    There is an additional section in the codes that talk about a type of cap that is installed with the sleeve to keep rodents out. I know on my house (42 year old), there is 3/4" copper coming in thru the block wall in a sleeve (1.5" cast iron, I believe). I haven't ever had to expose the connection on the outside of the sleeve, so I don't know what they did there, but no water comes in and no pests come in either.
  7. Steve_P

    Steve_P New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    East TN
    Obviously things settle and move over time so some flex would be good here. I would think you'd have to have a rubber seal on the end of the pipe thru a pipe scenario like you explain to keep water out. With the floating pipe thru the larger fixed pipe setup, when the ground settled and supply pipe moved it'd then stress the next soldered joint inside the house - so it seems it then might crack inside the house instead of outside.

    The best option might be a rigid pipe/tube thru the block, cemented in, and then a few foot long "whip" section of PEX that could account for ground settling.

    Are there certain types of PEX for underground use or is any of it ok?
  8. Steve_P

    Steve_P New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    East TN
    did some reading on this and you are not supposed to have concrete directly touching copper tube- possible corrosion issues. I will use the sleeve method mentioned and seal between the cu and sleeve (pvc?) as best as possible. Thanks!
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