Roots in house water supply lines- how to check flow and flush system

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by stoneaxe, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. stoneaxe

    stoneaxe New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Location:
    wa state
    A few years back I had no water to a toilet. The valve in the 1/2" supply line was clogged with a tiny root wad.
    This thread- https://terrylove.com/forums/index....omplete-replacement-pump-tank-etc-nuts.54424/ -details how I found a broken well line with roots growing in the crack. That is where the plug came from. But it seems unlikely they was the only roots in the lines--I pulled a three foot string of fine roots out of the crack in the well line.

    Water flow seems a bit slow on a couple of outside spigots, and I want to measure it to see if it is partially plugged. - at 50 psi, how much water should come out of a 1/2" copper line in gpm?

    Assuming there is a restriction, is the standard procedure to take off the valve and blow out the line?
    Is there normally a check valve where the 1" poly connects to the main house supply line?
    I am thinking of places some roots could lodge in the lines.
     
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IF roots can get in, the water WILL get out, and a lot of water at that. I cannot imagine how your system could operate with a "wide open" break in the line.
     
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    About 6.

    I would add a cartridge filter, maybe 25 micron to 5 micron, to catch root fragments and sediment. Even without the root debris, a cartridge whole-house filter is a good idea -- well or city water. A larger cartridge will have less pressure drop.
     
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  5. valveman

    valveman Cary Austin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Occupation:
    Pump Controls Technician
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    You would be surprised what tree roots can do. I had a 1 1/2 PVC male adapter screwed into a brass ball valve, and more than 100' from a tree in any direction. The tiny root followed the thread on the male adapter and grew inside the pipe. There was no leakage in the valve box even with 50 PSI constant on that water line. The roots traveled about 3' down the pipe and wadded up in a pressure relief valve that dumps any water over 50 PSI to a tank. The line pressure was increasing as the valve was clogged and couldn't dump enough water. Cleaned everything out and glued the pipe together and did away with as many threaded fittings underground as possible.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    The maximum recommended water velocity (cold, it's slower with hot) in copper pipe is 8fps. On a 1/2" copper pipe, that's about 5gpm. That doesn't mean that it can't flow significantly more volume than that. It depends on how long the effective length of the pipe is which varies by how many elbows and fittings are in the supply line. Effective length is the actual length plus any additions for obstructions or changes of direction, which creates friction, slowing the flow equivalent to just a longer section of straight pipe.
     
  7. stoneaxe

    stoneaxe New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Location:
    wa state
    About 5gpm- OK- I don't know how many elbows or the distance, the house is supplied with a 1" poly line then to copper, I would guesstimate 40 ft in 1/2".
     
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