View Full Version : Replacing Galvanized Service Line

10-03-2005, 11:45 AM
I own a 1966 2.5 bath home in NE Bellevue Washington. My water service line has started leaking and is in need of replacement. I dug up around the meter and found that on my side of the meter is connects to galvanized pipe for about 12” and then turns to black flex pipe. Not sure how far the black flex pipe goes, but I know it eventually turns back into galvanized before it gets to the house. I am going to replace the entire run from the meter to the house and my question is what should I replace it with? I have read quite a few posts on this site and I have read suggestions on polyethylene, soft copper, and cpvc. I am looking for suggestions on what to use and tips on how to install it. How deep.... is 18" ok? etc....

Thank you!

10-03-2005, 11:48 AM
The depth depends on how cold it gets in the wintertime. I would suspect yours would be about 42" deep unless that area has mild winters. As for the material, every plumber will have his own preference. Mine would be copper, but others prefer PEX, polyethylene, or what ever.

10-03-2005, 01:51 PM
The city of Bellevue WA requires at least 24" of cover of the top of the pipe.

I like using soft copper for most services if they aren't too long.
You can use black poly pipe or the white schedule 40 PVC too.
You would want at least a 1" pipe.

10-03-2005, 09:29 PM
Thanks for the replies HJ and Terry.

I measured the run from my house to the meter and it is roughly 70 feet... I would imagine it will be 80-85' when all is said and done because I need to steer clear of a tree in my yard.

Terry, would you not go with soft copper with that long of a run? A copper run that long is probably really expensive??? If copper is not recommended then will I need copper 3 feet in on either side (I think I read that in another posts)? Will I need to run a "locating wire" along the length of plastic pipe whether it’s black poly pipe or the white schedule 40 PVC?

What do you recommend for hooking up to the meter? My neighbor recently replaced his service line and he could never find a coupling to fit his side of the meter. He ended up cutting off the coupling and just hose-clamping the poly to meter pipe. That sounds sketchy to me.

Thanks again for all the advice, I greatly appreciate it.


10-03-2005, 10:24 PM
Eighty or ninty feet is fine for soft copper.
I don't think you have to worry about finding the water line again once it has been replaced.
In the Seattle area, there is no requirement for copper at the meter. You can, but it's not required.
Water meters in Bellevue are tapped with a 3/4" pipe thread.

When running copper, you can use a 3/4" male adapter and then increase to 1" with a short section of pipe.

If using Poly, they make brass insert fittings that are 3/4"mip x 1" poly.
All of the plumbing wholesale outfits have the brass fittings.
For some reason, the hardware stores don't like to sell them, they always are pushing galvanized which no respectable plumber would use.
Just one more reason that plumbers don't shop there.

10-05-2005, 08:04 AM
Looks like I will be going with poly as it is much cheaper compared to copper.

Terry, you mentioned in a previous post that I should go at least 1”, will I benefit from going up to 1-1/4 or even 1-1/2” or is that just a waste?

To fasten the poly to the brass insert fitting do you just use a couple of stainless hose clamps for each end?

When I go to backfill the trench do I need to put any pea gravel around the poly or can I just throw the dirt back in being careful of big/sharp rocks? I work in Redmond and will be picking up my supplies in the next couple of days at Valley Supply. They seem to have a good selection of brass insert fittings as well. I just wish they were open on the weekends!

This forum has been a tremendous help, thanks again!

Gary Slusser
10-05-2005, 10:05 AM
Yes use two SS hose clamps, per fitting, with little distance between them, installed opposing each other; the bolts on oppisite sides and pointing away from each other. DO NOT overtighten them, they are supposed to be torqued (60" lbs IIRC). You may be able to buy a tee handle hose clamp torque wrench for a few bucks; or ask to borrow one for your four clamps. If you apply heat to the end of the PE tubing, a little goes a long way and heat evenly inside and out of the tubing, only the length of the insert part of the fitting. Sun, warm water, a hair dryer, or careful application of a torch, works well. You want it only above air temp on a hot day and nowhere near as hot as to not be able to put your hand on it.

I'll suggest SS insert fittings instead of the brass.

One inch is plenty large enough.

No gravel, just rock free dirt and clear rocks/stones from under it.

Quality Water Associates

10-05-2005, 10:14 AM
If it were my house and 80 feet, it would be copper, though the poly will be okay.

So, Am I going to see you at Waldos in Rose Hill on the 15th?
One of the few times to see Jamie's band (http://www.outfromunderneath.com/)before they head down to LA.

10-05-2005, 01:26 PM
Cool, I’ll try and check them out! They sound great!

Will the 100 psi poly be fine? That's the one at the hardware store that said “Utility Grade”. It was much cheaper than what Valley quoted me for a 100' roll. If I should use a higher psi, then does it matter if it specifically says "utility grade" or not?

10-05-2005, 04:05 PM
100 psi isn't designed for water services.
They use that stuff in irriagtion with open sprinkler heads.
Pipe is the smallest part of this equation.
It's the time and digging.
You only want to do this once.
My suppliers sell the 200 psi pipe which is much thicker.

The band.
If you email your address, I can send you a DVD of the tv show.
I'll see you there.

10-05-2005, 07:17 PM
Why are you so interested in "going cheap" for something that you will hopefully not have to replace again? CTS plastic pipes are considerably smaller than the equivalent size copper, when you measure the actual size of the opening. If you know your math you remember that reducing the diameter of a circle makes a "huge" difference in the area because the outer part of any circle is where the biggest area is.

Gary Slusser
10-07-2005, 08:29 AM
I suggest no less than 160 psi rated PE. Although we use 100 and 125 psi rated for shallow and deep well jet pump installations, I wouldn't use it for city water due to the potentially higher pressures. But my house here in PA on city water has a 40' service line of 125 psi rated and there have been no problems for 30+ years now. And it's good my service line is not copper, my city water has a TDS of 50-100 ppm currently (since 1994), it used to be 30-50 ppm, and a pH of 6.5 or less. K copper would not have lasted a quarter of those 30 years. And during that time, we would have been ingesting a high level of copper which is a health risk.

HJ, this PE is IPS and it is used much more than any other type of material for residential (=< 8") well systems; at least in the Midwest and East Coast of the US. With proper installation, it outlasts any other type of material. In this instance, lower price doesn't equate to "cheap" quality.

Quality Water Associates

10-07-2005, 08:45 AM
Thank you Gary.

I picked up a roll of 200psi. I should be all set. I'll post my project results on monday.... wish me luck (and no rain).

05-05-2009, 04:36 PM
Hello all,
I have a home in Pittsburgh, my first. I failed to get the service line insurance and now have to replace the line. I don't know what is the best way to go about it. Mr, Rooter wants 4200.00 to do the job. I think that's insane. Please give me some solutions. Lou

05-05-2009, 06:58 PM
Call another company and get a second estimate...
Maybe avoiding similar sounding names...

05-06-2009, 05:35 AM
Any company with "rooter" in its name and/or is advertised on TV, has to charge enough to pay for those ads.

Gary Slusser
05-06-2009, 10:53 AM
Get a pick and shovel or hire a guy with a mini excavator or Ditch Witch (or rent one of either) and do the trench yourself, it will save 80-90% of the charge a plumber would want to do it; and he probably would hire someone to do it anyway.