Repair vs replace poly water service line
Posted by Carl E on May 21, 2004 at 10:42:15:
I am a homeowner who recently discovered a leak in my water service line, apparently very close to the underground water meter. The meter is in a mini-manhole a foot or so below grade, right next to the road, and the manhole has filled with water. The water company has confirmed that the leak is on the house side of the meter.

We have had a couple of plumbers, who supposedly specialize in this type of work, look at it. Each said they could either dig up near the meter and try to repair the pipe, or push a new, slightly smaller diameter pipe through the old pipe. Of course the repair option is much cheaper, if successful. One of the contractors also offered the option of running a new copper line, at a cost that was about 20% more. He said pushing a smaller line through the existing one would diminish the flow somewhat, which may be noticable when showering and running water elsewhere.

The pipe is black, I think he called it polyethylene (not polybutylene) and is orginal to the house which was built in 1981.

Any thoughts or recommendations? We seem to get conflicting info on what to expect in terms of lifespan if we do the repair (lifespan of the remaining old poly pipe). One plumber said that in his experience the leaks generally occur at or near the joints and fittings close to the meter, and the other said that after 20 years or so the poly could leak anywhere. Thanks for any help you could offer.


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