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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Underground Water Line Material Choices???

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Hal/Eastern WA

01-24-2013 17:35:48
97.115.191.41



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I am going to have to replace the water line between my pump house and my house and am trying to decide what type of new water line to use.

About 36 years ago, I got my property. I had a well drilled, built the pump house and set up a mobile home. Between the pump house and the mobile home, I buried a 1" galvanized steel pipe as my main supply line. I bought the best quality pipe I could find and it was supposed to have been U.S. made. Burying it 5 or 6 feet deep, I hoped that I would never have to mess with that line again.

Years later, I built a house and got rid of the old mobile home. I connected the water line, also 1" galvanized pipe, for the new house to the existing main line.

Things went fine for more than 10 years and then I started getting increased rust in the water, and less volume out of the hose. Now I am sure that I have an or maybe many underground leaks in the original galvanized pipe. It seems to be leaking several gallons per minute and is not showing above ground--yet. But we also have been having temperatures down in the single digits and the ground is frozen down at least a foot.

It is obvious that I am going to have to replace the water line, however we have decided to try to wait until the weather gets warmer on the advice of a friend who will do the excavation. I am turning off the main valve in the pump house at night and opening it in the morning to conserve water in the fairly low producing well. I also turn off the main valve in the house, or the water in the house pipes will drain down and leak out the bad pipe. This works, but is certainly a hassle. Also, the water that comes through the piping when I slowly open the pump house and house valves has lots of rust in it. But switching the water on and off may be a way to make it through until the weather is better for doing the excavation and line replacement.

I am trying to decide what material would be the best for the new water line. It will not be galvanized! Suggestions I have had are to use the 200psi Poly pipe, which I understand is not the easiest to work with if it is cold, or to use PEX tubing. I plan to put whatever I use inside 2" PVC conduit for protection from rodents and rocks (I will be doing some bedding with fine gravel or sand) and the diameter of the line will be 1". The length of the line will be about 100".

Any experience with underground heavy Poly pipe or PEX tubing? Would you use that material if you needed to do a similar job again? Or is there another material that would be better? I would prefer something with the least amount of joints, as in my experience with other piping, joints tend to be the places where leaks develop.

The job is going to cost quite a bit and be a lot of work, no matter what I do. I am mostly interested in never having to redo the job again. I probably will not replace the galvanized I installed with the new house, at least this Spring.

Any opinions about which piping will work the best, long term? I sure wish I had installed plastic pipe 36 years ago, but the conventional wisdom at that time was to use galvanized, for long life, and also to achieve a good electrical ground.

Thanks in advance for your responses!

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Pops1532

01-25-2013 15:33:54
68.58.114.55



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I'm surprised galvanized was even allowed for underground 36 years ago. Code here was copper or poly. Still is, but I think they allow PEX now.
I'd put 3-4" of sand in the trench then the poly then cover with another 4" of sand then backfill.
You can use PVC for a conduit but it really isn't needed. If I was going to go to the trouble of using PVC for a conduit I'd do as someone suggested and use 4" with drainage EL's to facilitate pulling a new service if needed. Do not use PVC for the service!
Tracer wire is an excellent idea.
200 psi Poly with no underground joints, brass fittings, stainless clamps, sand bed& cover and/or PVC conduit, tracer wire, caution tape = quality installation.

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David Snipes

01-25-2013 12:41:28
147.56.117.134



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
Hal, at your age any pipe you install will outlive you!



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Hal/Eastern WA

01-25-2013 22:01:27
97.115.191.41



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to David Snipes, 01-25-2013 12:41:28  
Dave, you are probably right! But I want to try to make sure--this is too much of a hassle now. I don"t want to think about how I would feel about it in 15 or 20 years.

Everyone I talked to back in 1976 said I should use galvanized for my water line. I wish I had run a poly line along side the galvanized line like I considered. But money was tight, as you know, and I didn"t do it that way.

Hope all is well with you!

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chevytaHOE5674

01-25-2013 12:38:17
74.221.60.204



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I have about 2000 feet of heavy black poly pipe buried from my well to my house. It is buried directly in the dirt about 9-11 feet underground. All joints are brass fittings with double stainless clamps like JD seller. Been buried for 20 years now and no problems....



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Bill in IL

01-25-2013 08:47:23
132.3.49.68



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
PEX is good stuff so is the heavy poly.

I reccomend you put it in a 4" sewer and drain PVC pipe with 45s back to back vs using 90's. It would protect it and allow you to pull a new one. Down at the barn I ran 4" non perf tile for a conduit. 2 inch will be about impossible to pull though unless its a straight short run



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Traditional Farmer

01-25-2013 05:40:19
67.233.72.177



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
If you have rock the good plastic pipe inside of PVC is the way to go,its amzing how much rock moves around plus tree roots will choke off regular plastic sometimes.Maple and Willow trees are the worst.Also dig a deep ditch put in a bed of gravel then lay your pipe and then add about a foot of gravel on top of the pipe before backfilling.



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showcrop

01-25-2013 04:43:51
75.67.231.80



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
The galvi was probably the right stuff back then, but now it is the HDPE as most others are saying. Depending on your soil, what you have for rocks etc. have some clean sand brought in to go under and over. We are in glacial till here with a lot of rocks so I went about six inches under and about eight over to protect from rocks. Here we use the yellow barrier ribbon over it as a warning.



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Bus Driver

01-25-2013 04:19:54
67.213.58.234



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
PVC is usually white in color. "Poly" is polyethylene, black. The PVC gets brittle with age and will crack when buried because it is restrained by the covering dirt as the pipe contracts and expands. The black polyethylene is the better choice.



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FBH44

01-25-2013 02:31:23
64.85.214.104



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I"d use either schedule 80 pvc, primed and glued with the correct stuff, or what I"s actually prefer, PEX. The PEX will not burst if it freezes, it"s not going to shatter or crack, and it is really tough stuff, with no joints. Gottta use the correct fittings, but it"s great stuff. The next part is depth below the frost line, and bedding it so it is on a smooth rock-free surface, then backfilled with smooth dirt or sand . The backfill is NOT the place to get rid of big rocks.

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David G

01-24-2013 20:16:28
205.215.206.18



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
JD Seller is right on track.

Sleeving it all the way is a waste.



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JD Seller

01-24-2013 20:08:38
208.126.196.144



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
Just run the 200 PSI poly. That is all you need. If you are going under a drive way then just run that section through another pipe.

There are two thicknesses of PVC pipe they both are rated for 200 PSI but one is way heavier. I use the heavier one. I have lines here that are over forty years old laid with the good PVC pipe. They have been zero trouble. I have dug down to them in several places to branch out to other places and the pipe is still very good.

To make installing the fittings easy heat the ends with an electric heat gun. It makes the fittings go in easier and they will clamp better. I do use all brass fittings and US made stainless steel clamps. I also double clamp each side of any splice or elbow.

(Do not use a propane torch!!! IT gets the pipe too hot and I have had failures right at the fitting when heating them that way)

The old galvanized pipe is just a headache waiting to happen.

Also remember that while that pipe is leaking you need to boil any of the water to drink/cook with. When you shut it off at night and the pressure leaks off contaminated water can leach back into the line. Then when you turn the water back on the next morning you push the contaminated water into the house.

Had that problem twenty years ago. Ended up with the whole house sick at the same time from bad water.

The tracer wire is a good idea. I also back fill the line and bury caution tape a few inches under the surface. I aways make the first foot or so be back filled with sand or lime. That way you don't have rocks to worry about.

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Hal/Eastern WA

01-24-2013 21:18:17
97.115.191.41



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to JD Seller, 01-24-2013 20:08:38  
We haven"t been drinking our well water for years because it tasted and smelled "off". We have used it to cook with. But your mention of the possibility of contaminated water getting into the unpressurized water line is something I had not considered. Thanks!

I also probably should have mentioned that the ground that I will be digging in is very rocky, with various sizes of basalt chunks. I am hoping we don"t hit any that are really large. I plan to do some fine gravel bedding around the pipe to try to protect it, and I suppose we will go about 5 or 6 feet deep.

I also probably should have written that a large part of the path for the new water line will go under a driveway that is used all the time. I will use the additional conduit because it will make me feel more secure, and to me that makes the additional expense and work worth it. I do plan to put a tracer wire next to the pipe so I or someone else can find it sometime in the future if the need arises.

Thank you for all your comments! Hal

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Paul from MI

01-24-2013 20:04:23
204.106.250.243



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
Just replaced the galvanized from the well to the house this year. It lasted 39 years, but finally got so corroded there was no fixing it. The replacement was schedule 80 plastic. Should outlast the galvanized by a lot, but I won't be here to see it.



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LeonardWD45

01-24-2013 19:00:24
131.191.110.118



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
Hal, I too have a farm in Eastern WA State and will be building a house in the near future. My plan is to run 2" copper inside plastic drain field pipe. Reason for the cover pipe is I will be driving over the run to get to my shop and the covering pipe will prevent the copper from being crushed over time. Also there are anti-bacterial qualities with running water through copper.

Leonard



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El Toro

01-24-2013 18:53:23
108.3.143.30



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  

I used this piping for running a water line to my garden. It's been in use 20 years and is rated for 180psi working pressure. It comes in long lengths so you don't have any connections buried. The local plumbing warehouse carried it. There was a piece left over and and is my my mini barn. I could get the name of the manufacturer. It's too cold now. It's 3/4 ID and may be available in larger sizes. Hal

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Rocko

01-24-2013 21:25:04
173.210.157.58



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to El Toro, 01-24-2013 18:53:23  
Hey El Toro, might be just the lighting but that kinda looks like Poly-B. Grey in colour? 20 years ago would have been about the right time period for it. If thats what it is I don't think it's available any more, least not around here. Pex has replace Poly-B as far as I know. Rocky.



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Russ from MN

01-24-2013 18:44:27
68.235.89.10



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
My father put in black poly about 60 years ago and to the best of my knowledge its still OK, in N MN.



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casecollectorsc

01-24-2013 19:06:21
64.33.228.229



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Russ from MN, 01-24-2013 18:44:27  
Yep, put in black poly 40 years ago and is just fine. Should be able to rent a trencher and buy the poly for about $600 if you are a do it yourselfer depending on how cold it gets and how deep you need to go.



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Ted in NE-OH

01-24-2013 18:26:15
72.16.19.80



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I put in black PVC 35 years ago and no problems.



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1legonutt

01-24-2013 18:15:25
70.194.149.203



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I have worked as a pipe layer for 10 years and in construction for the last 16and have used both copper and poly pipe copper has become more cost prohibitive poly is nice for long runs without a joint the idea of using a sleeve is a good idea although not neaded might I suggest a tracer wire for future location bedding the pipe is also a must to prevent deflection stomp the first few inches on both sides of the pipe not sure of your location depth we shoot for is 5 ft of cover in north Indiana that gives a good savty factor the poly we use is 250 psi and the same o.d. As copper pipe not cheep sprinkler pipe we prefer poly but some city's still dictate that copper is used good luck and be safe rob

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old1850d

01-24-2013 18:10:36
67.22.203.175



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
USE 200 PSI POLY, IT WILL MAKE YOU GRUNT PUTTING ON FITTINGS BUT WELL WORTH THE TROUBLE. IF YOU ONLY HAVE TO GO 100' YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO PULL OUT THE GALVANIZED WITH THE POLY HOOKED RIGHT BEHIND IT, WORKS GREAT IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF SOIL AND THE GALVANIZED ISNT TO SHOT



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Justin SE IOWA

01-24-2013 18:01:21
166.181.82.12



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
I work in the waterworks industry for a living and you have it right about using 200 psi poly pipe. I would stay away from pex underground. Make sure you run a tracer wire with the pipe. Bring both ends up out up the ground. that way it can be traced in the future that you need to know exactly where it is. If you have any more questions please ask. I can help you with this project.



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Greg1959

01-24-2013 17:59:52
69.176.13.178



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
PEX!



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Sean Feeney

01-24-2013 17:54:43
174.63.127.125



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
No need for conduit direct bury



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JayinNY

01-24-2013 17:39:56
198.228.200.41



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Hal/Eastern WA, 01-24-2013 17:35:48  
Black plastic pipe is what is used around here, never seen any problems with it yet!



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Zachary Hoyt

01-24-2013 18:21:15
184.10.234.7



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to JayinNY, 01-24-2013 17:39:56  
Me too. We have about 400' of it from the well all the way down here and it seems to have been fine for the last 20 years or so.
Zach



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JayinNY

01-24-2013 18:33:19
198.228.200.45



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 Re: Underground Water Line Material Choices??? in reply to Zachary Hoyt, 01-24-2013 18:21:15  
How cold you get up there last night Zach? We had -6 and it's 8 here now, with a good wind blowing, Keep warm.



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