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Thread: Need Help!! Broken water pipe into house

  1. #1

    Default Need Help!! Broken water pipe into house

    I was doing some landscaping last night and broke through the 3/4" copper piping running into our house from the main water line. I shut all the water off at the switch near the street so now I have no water. I dug down further to see exactly how bad it was, I pierced a good size hole in it. I went to Home Depot to get the stuff to fix (new pipe, 2 fittings, 4 in 1 cleaner, torch, solder etc). I thought the $70 for supplies would be better than the $350 for a plumber to come out.

    Is there a better option? I have read about flexible piping or maybe something other than using the straight pipe and try to get it to fit correctly, I don't have much give at all and trying to get it to fit properly is turning out to be a real pain. Any advice on alternatives would be greatly appreciated!!!!

  2. #2
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    you can't solder copper underground it has to be brazed, and it has to be type k soft copper not the cheap stuff you bought at home depot

  3. #3

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    Why can't I solder copper underground? I am curious. Also is the Type K Soft copper easily available?

  4. #4
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    not sure where you live, but anywhere i know of soldering is not allowed undeground because it not as strong. Usually type k is only available in 50 ft rolls and up, at around 500 bucks for a coil.

    You are best to call a plumber who will have a 2 or 3 ft section laying around. How deep is your water main

  5. #5

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    Live in Atlanta. The water main (where the pipe broke is only about 12 inches below the surface. Not very deep at all.

  6. #6
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    i call and get a rough quote on having a plumber do the job

  7. #7

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    I did, they want $200, the pipe is already cut, I just need an 8 inch piece replaced.

  8. #8
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    You should be able to solder K-type copper; I would prefer to use MAPP gas. (Q - Are there some areas that require brazing for direct burial that's not under a concrete slab?)

    You're having difficulty lining things up because, most likely, the service line to your house is soft type K copper, not rigid. Soft K is readily available, dunno if the box stores keep it or if you can buy it in small quantities.

    For the fittings, you'll want to use slip couplings rather than the ones with the stop. That will allow you to slip the fittings over either end of the existing pipe, insert the new pipe, place the fittings in their final posisiton, and solder away.

    Are you up to speed with your soldering skills? If you so, you should be able to pull this off.

    Good luck,

    -Sam
    Last edited by sjsmithjr; 05-28-2008 at 12:18 PM.

  9. #9

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    I do have the slip couplings, I will see if I can find Soft K tonight. If not then I will call a plumber. It's been a while since I have soldered, but I have done it in the past. Thanks for all the help!!

  10. #10
    Plumber RioHyde's Avatar
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    take the torch back to the box store. Go to a plumbing supply house and get two 3/4" pack joint couplings. These are acceptable for underground work. You wont need a torch...just wrenches. Just be sure they are pack joint couplings and not the run of the mill compression couplings. The guys at the supply house know the difference and can hook you up. Not sure what part of Atlanta you're in, but I know there's a couple of supply houses I use in Marietta whenever I'm down there visiting my mom and she has a project for me.

    There are many areas where brazing is required whether underslab or not. Not sure about Atlanta

  11. #11
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Read the spec on a Sharkbite slip coupling. If it can be used underground, it would be the easiest of all...no wrenches, no solder. It's about 4" long, so if you cut out a bigger section than that, it wouldn't work. One end doesn't move, but the other end will seal anywhere along about a 2.5-3" length of overlap. SO, you slip in on one end, align the other end, then slip it back to make mate up with the other end.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #12
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Well this is an interesting thread for me. About 15 years ago, my old 3/4" galvanized supply line gave out. I had it replaced by a professional plumbing company. They used 1" type K ridged copper out of my 1" meter. About 3 years ago, I had a broken PVC pipe on my irrigation branch, and I had to dig down to the copper main. I replaced the PVC from there up to the PVC main irrigation line following my backflow preventer with 1" ridged copper. I soldered the pipe with propane. It was a bit of a problem standing more or less on my head in a 5 foot deep pit, my torch kept flaming out due to lack of air I assumed, but never-the-less, I got it done and it is working fine. I'd be interested to know what is or was wrong with what I did. I darned sure I'm not going to redo the job, but inquiring minds want to know!

  13. #13
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    do not use shark bites. as riohyde mentioned you can use corporation coulpings under ground. I don't think any big box store will have k, a local plumbing supply may have a small peice but don't count on it.


    i would take back what you bough and spend the extra 130 to have it done right

  14. #14
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RioHyde View Post
    There are many areas where brazing is required whether underslab or not. Not sure about Atlanta
    Thanks; I wasn't aware of that. A couple of pack joints will set him back about, what, $50?

    -Sam

  15. #15
    DIY Member rombo's Avatar
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    ya 50 sounds right but my worry would be finding type k

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