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Thread: 670' residential water line. What size should I use

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    DIY Junior Member OHIOresident's Avatar
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    Default 670' residential water line. What size should I use

    I am going to hook up to the city water line because my well is shot. My house is 670 feet from the road. I have the option of installing a 1" or 1 1/2" water line with matching tap, meter, etc. I am concerned about the water pressure and volume of water at the house because of the distance. Can anyone recommend which size water line I should use and the pros/cons of both sizes available for me? Thanks in advance for any assistance. Steve from Ohio.

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    plumbing contractor worsnup's Avatar
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    a scale drawing is needed as well as fixture count and location

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    A 1" or even 3/4" meter would be OK. Depends on the volume of water you expect to use...how many bathrooms, lawn sprinklers? etc. But a much larger pipe from the meter up to the house is in order, to minimize pressure loss over the distance. Your plumber has charts to show you if 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" pipe will be approriate.

    Most places, you pay a base fee/meter install fee which goes up signigicantly with size. So assuming that your demand does not call for a 1 1/4 or larger meter, I would stay smaller on that.

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    DIY Junior Member OHIOresident's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply so far.
    Worsnup,
    I'm not a plumber nor an architect. A scale drawing done by me wouldn't be any better than if I let my 9 year old do it. Sorry. I have three toilets, one kitchen faucet, four lav faucets, two bathtubs, washing machine, and I am planning on remodeling my shower to include a spray head, rain head and four body sprayers. all but two faucets are on the second floor of my house. My outside stuff will stay on the well.
    Jimbo,
    There is a difference between the 1" and 1 1/2" meter, but if running the 1 1/2" pipe will make sure I wont be short on pressure in my remodeled shower with multiple spray heads, I am willing to pay the extra. I just want to make sure that running the larger pipe does not actually cause problems instead of eliminating them. It would really hard to say "I should have run the bigger pipe" after the job is done. Quite an expensive endeavor. I didn't see the option of a 1 1/4" setup on the spec sheet I got from the water service department.

    Thanks for the responses and keep them coming.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-14-2010 at 01:30 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    get a 1.5 inch line put in but have them put in a smaller meter. The big thing is the distance. Once it is in the house, smaller is okay.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Default Fixture unit count for sizing a 700 foot water service.

    For a 3 bath home, 1" meter with 1.5" pipe.

    Medium pressure with 700 feet of pipe

    3/4" meter and 1" pipe = 10 fixture units
    1" meter and 1" pipe = 10 fixture units
    3/4" meter and 1-1/4" pipe = 19 fixture units
    1" meter and 1-1/4" pipe = 20 fixture units
    1" meter and 1-1/2" pipe = 37 fixture units
    1-1/2" meter and 1-1/2" pipe = 38 fixture units

    1" meter and 2" pipe = 85 fixture units at 700 feet

    http://www.terrylove.com/watersize.htm

    Most standard three bath homes will need 34 fixture units.

    Taken from the UPC code book for medium pressure sizing chart.
    Last edited by Terry; 09-14-2010 at 09:29 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member OHIOresident's Avatar
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    Terry, that is some great detail. It seems like the consensus is that I use a 1" meter with a 1 1/2" line, correct? Please help with a few more questions that I have and then I will stop bugging everyone. To everyone that responded to my post, I really appreciate it more than you can imagine. Please keep the responses coming.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my previous posts is that where I live they require that I put the meter out at the street in the right-of-way. This means that the tap and meter will be within 20 feet of the main line and then my line to the house will be approx. 650 feet long. I don't know if this make a difference in the setup or not.

    1. Doesn't using a 1" meter with a 1 1/2" pipe contradict itself? Again, I'm not a plumber so I don't understand how the 1" meter can feed a 1 1/2" pipe and keep the pressure/volume up.

    2. If #1 above is the recommended setup, at what point in the system do I switch from 1" to 1 1/2"? I assume a 1" meter is both 1" in and 1" out. This would mean that the tap would also be 1"? Should I then consider using a 1 1/4" line or just go with the 1 1/2" line? The main feed from my well into my house is 1" and that drops down to a 3/4" that feeds to 1/2" lines to everything inside the house.

    3. How much is "Medium" pressure? Will it be enough for the shower I am building that has 2 shower heads and 4 body sprayers? My current well has a 40lb-60lb regulator on it and my pressure isn't all that great. I know it isn't enough for the new shower. Plus, I think the amount of water(volume) may play a factor in running, say the rain shower head and all 4 body sprayers at the same time.
    Last edited by OHIOresident; 09-15-2010 at 06:08 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    It would be an unusual installation if it did NOT have the meter at the street, and the longer line between the meter and the house. That is how the sizing anticipates the installation.

    1. Doesn't using a 1" meter with a 1 1/2" pipe contradict itself? Again, I'm not a plumber so I don't understand how the 1" meter can feed a 1 1/2" pipe and keep the pressure/volume up.

    The 1" meter provides the volume you need, the 1 1/2" pipe reduces friction loss so that volume will be delivered at the residence.

    2. If #1 above is the recommended setup, at what point in the system do I switch from 1" to 1 1/2"? I assume a 1" meter is both 1" in and 1" out. This would mean that the tap would also be 1"? Should I then consider using a 1 1/4" line or just go with the 1 1/2" line?.

    The most common requirement is that you use about 4' of 1" copper at the meter, then connect the 1 1/2" PVC running to the house. Then at the house you reduce back to 1" and run the final 4' into the house with copper tubing.

    3. How much is "Medium" pressure?

    You can only control "High" pressure by reducing it down to 75-85 psi. If the city is supplying less than that, then it is all you've got and you live with it.

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    Retired prof. engr. gator37's Avatar
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    You not only need to know the distance but approximate change in elevation from the meter to the highest fixture, the number and type of fixtures in your house, and average water pressure at the meter to do it somewhat right. (Ideally for commercial you would get the fire dept to run pressure test at a couple of hydrants in the area and to determine the flow pressure and static pressure but you should not have to do that for your house)
    The utility company will determine the meter size probably pretty standard for a residence unless you have a mansion. For commercial it is based on estimated demand (I am speaking from the engineering side).
    I have approximately 400 feet+ of 1" PVC sch 40 service water from the road to the (small) house with very little change in elevation (maybe 7' to the highest fixture from the elevation of the meter pipe). I put it in 23 years ago and have had no problems. (I am not implying that is what you need)`
    The National plumbing code illustrated version as well as the International Plumbing have examples in the back but the NPC does an example for a residence.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHIOresident View Post
    3. How much is "Medium" pressure? Will it be enough for the shower I am building that has 2 shower heads and 4 body sprayers? My current well has a 40lb-60lb regulator on it and my pressure isn't all that great. I know it isn't enough for the new shower. Plus, I think the amount of water(volume) may play a factor in running, say the rain shower head and all 4 body sprayers at the same time.
    The answers so far have been excellent, but the shower part appears critical to me.

    That shower is going to use up to 5 * 2.5 gpm = 12.5 gpm unless the heads are rated for substantially lower flows. And that excludes anything else running at the same time. You definitely want the larger line size for that flow (1-1/2".) A 1" sch. 40 pipe would take over 30 psi of drop in the 670 feet, 1-1/4" would take 8.1 psi, 1-1/2" would take 2.5 psi of drop for the entire length when clean and new. These all exclude the DP at the meter itself, which would likely be considerable for a 1" meter at that flow. It also excludes the loss across a PRV. I'm guessing that you will want a PRV, unless the city supply pressure is low in your area.

    Neighbors or the city should be able to give you a good idea of the supply pressure where you would be connecting. If it is on the low side, go with the larger meter too because you will want to save as much DP as you can. If it is high then the 1" meter with larger line sounds like a good bet. As has been noted you will pay an extra few dollars per month for larger meters.

    PRV's have a performance curve as well. I would expect a substantial DP at the PRV 12.5 gpm.

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    DIY Junior Member OHIOresident's Avatar
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    Everyone has been great with their responses. This site is a valuable tool not only for professionals, but also for people like me that just want to know how things should be done right. The elevation thing now has me concerned. I live in a hilly area. From the meter there is about a 20' drop in the line within the first 200' of distance. Then there is about a 40' rise in the line from there up to the house in about a 470' distance. The line will come into the basement and then will need to rise about 18' to the second floor shower valve. Does this change in elevation dictate that I use something other than the 1" tap and meter with the 1 1/2" line from there to the house? In one of the responses above it says to drop down to 1" copper from the 1 1/2" pvc before entering the house/basement. Why wouldn't I just run the 1 1/2" pvc into the basement and then reduce it to 3/4" to tie into my existing copper feed line?

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    Roughly speaking, it is about 0.5psi per ft, so you are going to lose 35-40 psi just going uphill (if it was 20' rise, then 40' rise, then the 18' rise). It would be best to check with the city or take a pressure gage over to one of your neighbors (that hopefully isn't on a hill) to see what the pressure is at the street. If it is say 100 psi, it will be down to around 70 psi by the time it hits your house and should be plenty for what you need. If it starts out at say 60 psi, then you will probably have issues and may need to install a booster pump to get the pressure that you need. However, it sounds like it drops 20', goes up 40', and then up 18'. This is (-20+40+18) = 38' (~18 psi drop). What matters is the net distance that the shower valve is above the meter.

    So if we get that starting pressure, we can figure out what is needed to get the right pressure at the house. Once it is at the house, then eveything can be run in standard 3/4" and 1/2" to the fixtures.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; (Ideally for commercial you would get the fire dept to run pressure test at a couple of hydrants in the area and to determine the flow pressure and static pressure

    That is a test that is normally done by the fire protection contractor, NOT the fire department, since that calculation is critical for their fire supression system design.

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    Retired prof. engr. gator37's Avatar
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    In our area the information is obtained from the local fire department. I agree if fire protection is required the fire protection contractor would do it, but we still get our info from the fire dept. (North Alabama) in the design stage.

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    Retired prof. engr. gator37's Avatar
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    Hey Ohioresident. Where do you stand now? The only other way to determine this is to do a calculation unless you want to want an educated guess. Guess wrong and you have 600+' of pipe and trench you will probably have to redo.
    What you need to do the calc are the following:
    number and type of fixtures
    pressure drop on worst fixture (somebody indicated 30psi for a shower head...you need to check that)
    length of pipe from the meter to the end of the longest run (in your house) and type of pipe you are planning to use.
    elevation head. ft of positive elevation is xx/2.31 to give you psi. (note depth of pipe to highest fixture elevation in house)
    pressure at the street.
    Sounds like you have most of this but when you put it all together and post it I am sure somebody can give you a good answer. Something you can work with.

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