leak water main line between service to house, under driveway


Old 10-16-13, 11:47 AM
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leak water main line between service to house, under driveway

have a leak in water main line from service to house. leak origin is underneath driveway. takes 40+ seconds for water to appear from underneath driveway after main shut off all night is turned on in morning. already about 3 days of leak at flow moderate bathroom faucet water

-plumber estimate $5950: new water line 90' copper to house, cut 15' cement driveway (instead of jet machine which could create sinkhole under driveway), new pressure regulator. or $5140 schedule 80 pvc. awaiting 2nd plumber estimate

-myself: $72 day rent cement saw. buy my own schedule 80 pvc 90' length $??. have to learn about installing new pressure regulator. or just plumber for this part?

-copper is $810 more ($5140+$810=$5950). plumber recommended as no joints (unrolled) and more durable than pvc. said would wrap copper in some material as well. thinking wrap pvc with plastic and salt along the line?

-house 32 years (1981). regards roots, trees visible in photo are pine and eucalytus anywhere from a few feet to 20' away from proposed new line

photos below:
-leak site at driveway and path along driveway for new pipe (pvc parallel to driveway is landscaping pipe; main water line goes perpendicular under driveway)
-leak site to service
-cement driveway (15' to be cut) to water inlet at house
-water inlet at house w/ pressure regulator (to be replaced)

temporary fix: plumber recommended rigging attachment to cut in main line so garden hose could fit to main line and then house water inlet. any ideas what needed to do this?
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Old 10-16-13, 03:42 PM
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I'd be using Pex.
I'd also get rid of any old gate valves and replace with ball valves.
Old 10-16-13, 08:26 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

temporary fix: plumber recommended rigging attachment to cut in main line so garden hose could fit to main line and then house water inlet. any ideas what needed to do this?
Based on copper pipe underground..... dig down to the line coming up alongside the driveway and install a 3/4" female sharkbite connector with a 3/4" NPT to 3/4" GHT adapter on it and then use a 3/4" garden hose from that fitting to your hose bib.

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If your underground service is steel pipe it will be much more difficult to temp. You would have to find a coupler in the line and then go from there.
Old 10-17-13, 07:09 AM
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I would not hesitate to do the job myself but it depends on your willingness and ability to tackle a job this size. It can be done but it's an advanced DIY project.

I would not consider putting copper in the ground. I would use PEX or black polyethylene pipe which could be run as one continuous pipe and since they are flexible they can move with any settling. Also, plastic piping is not reactive and is not corroded by minerals in the ground. Schedule 80 PVC would be my distant third choice mainly because of the joints as possible failure points.

Before digging call to have your utilities located. You don't want to find an electric or gas line.
Old 10-17-13, 10:12 AM
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hi Tom Ė

Well I'm really slow and I see the other guys jumped in to give you good advice.

Iím not a plumber unfortunately, just a newbie. Donít know exactly what the plumber had in mind when he suggested using a garden hose as a temp until you did the real fix, but if your service pipe is galvanized steel then that pipe is threaded. That is, you connect that pipe to other pipes via threads.

I canít tell but the 2nd picture looks like it is a galvanized steel pipe with couplings. If that is in fact the case I think you could cut the pipe and then unscrew the pipe and coupling leaving a pipe which would have threads on the end, so now you have something to work with.

If it is a one inch pipe you could then reduce it with a ďBell ReducerĒ 1Ē-to-3/4Ē as shown towards the end of this page:

galvanized fittings - malleable iron - couplings, elbows, tees, nipples and many more

and then screw this adapter into the 3/4 end which would then give you a hose connection:

Brass Hose Adapter 3/4 In. Fht X 3/4 In. Mip

However, if that service pipe isnít a steel pipe Ö.then never mind! LOL

I had a leak in a galvanized steel water service pipe also, and I dug it up and replaced it with black poly (black PE pipe). (Thatís what they use in my area for wells.) My run was only 20í and I really wanted to used copper (Iím old fashioned and copper can last forever, well almost LOL) , but my well water is way too acidic so the life expectancy of copper is greatly reduced (boo hoo). If your soil is aggressive that can also be a reason to not use copper. But if the plumbers are giving you copper as an option I guess they know your area and think copper is OK. But I would make sure. Maybe you could find out what your neighbors have?

The one thing I found out about using black poly pipe is that it is strongly recommended that you make sure the pipe wonít be near any rocks or jagged edges, etc. In fact it is recommended that you lay it in a bed of sand if you can (I did). Iím sure that would be the same recommendation for PEX.

But I have heard that some people put the PEX itself in a PVC sleeve (pipe) when burying it and it may be required by code in your area. But I've heard more people say use the black PE 200 psi pipe, it is thick-walled and rugged and made for direct burial.

Iím not 100% sure but it seems to me that PVC seems to be the last choice of plumbers and others for the water service line.

Last edited by zoesdad; 10-17-13 at 10:29 AM.
Old 10-18-13, 03:38 PM
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As others have said, the hardest part of the whole project is the digging.
I would get at least one other estimate to see if the price you were quoted is reasonable.

Check around and see if anyone can pull a new pipe through the old pipe without trenching. There's a tool that they run a steel cable through the existing pipe and use a special fitting that cuts the old pipe and pulls the new one in it's place. You only dig a hole at the curb stop and maybe at the house. But since your driveway is almost right against the house, it may not be useful.
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