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Thread: General questions on replacing water service DIY-style

  1. #1

    Default General questions on replacing water service DIY-style

    So, my 1964-era galvanized steel service has started to really show symptoms of corrosion blockage. Pressure tests show fine but flow tests are about 25% what they should be at a hose spigot near the house entrance and normal at the street. I'd like to replace the line with 3/4" or 1" flexible copper. What I'd like to know is what has changed code-wise since the original install and what should I look out for?

    I'm in Atlanta, so my frost depth is probably at about 2"... no issues there. The existing service has a short 1" PVC tee and some elbows at the street/meter going into a backflow then to an irrigation system. The other side of the tee goes into the cast iron house supply. At the house side the iron pipe entrance is probably 12-18" undeground straight through cinder-block foundation into a crawl space. It then transitions to copper, into a shutoff valve, a pressure regulator, etc. Is it worth pulling up the cast iron or should I just sawzall it a few feet out and be done?

    Assuming there is no local code requiring additional depth, how deep does international code require the line to be below grade? Do I need to put a shut-off at the meter side AND the house side? Where do I need backflow prevention? I'd like to migrate the irrigation tee from near the street to near the house (re-working the PVC isn't bad. I had to re-do it after the irrigation company used blue-pipe to make the original tee and it cracked). Do I just put in a tee near the house with hard copper and join the yard-run into that? Should I use a ball valve or a gate valve for the shutoffs and are there special ones for underground/service line use?

    Other pointers/suggestions welcome. Feel free to be technical. I'm an engineer, just not a plumber.

    Dan

    Water Pipe Sizing
    Last edited by Terry; 04-11-2009 at 09:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pipe

    Mot of you questions have to do with local issues which only your building department can answer. Use ball valves, not gate valves. The location of the irrigation connection and how you make the connection depends on the placement of the zone valves. Normally, copper has a minimum bury depth of 12" where there is no frost zone requirment.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Mot of you questions have to do with local issues which only your building department can answer. Use ball valves, not gate valves. The location of the irrigation connection and how you make the connection depends on the placement of the zone valves. Normally, copper has a minimum bury depth of 12" where there is no frost zone requirment.
    Thanks for the response. I'll be relocating the irrigation zone valves near this new service tee, since it's much easier to work with shallow PVC than deep copper. I'd also like the irrigation feed closer to the house so I add on some low-pressure circuits, etc without running a new feed all the way from the front of the property.

    As far as the actual connections at both ends go, it seems like there's a step-by step pictorial for every other plumbing repair out there. This one doesn't seem like it would be that hard, but I haven't seen anyone do a "how-to" on it...

    Thanks.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Too many site specifics to have anyone do a pictorial on the subject.
    If you don't understand how to do it intuitively, after checking the code requirements, you may want to hire a plumber.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    Too many site specifics to have anyone do a pictorial on the subject.
    If you don't understand how to do it intuitively, after checking the code requirements, you may want to hire a plumber.

    Yep. That's what I'm hoping for, just need to locate a copy of the code that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. They don't make astrophysics for dummies, after all

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