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Old 02-06-2012, 11:02 AM   #1
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Copper for Water Lines


I have a large 5 inch water supply main which needs replacement.

Was advised to install with copper but will double the cost. Is copper necessary.?

Any advice on the pros and cons?

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Old 02-06-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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Copper for Water Lines


Are you sure it's 5"? That would be enough water to supply a whole apartment building.

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Old 02-06-2012, 12:30 PM   #3
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Copper for Water Lines


You are dead on. It's for an apartment building.

Was told that copper is the right way to do it. Can I settle for another material?
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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Copper for Water Lines


Your post is difficult to follow. You say you have a 5 inch water line, which of course is commercial size. Is this a DIY commercial project? Or maybe an industrial project? Then you say it is double the cost. Double the cost of what? Then you ask if copper is necessary. That would depend on the codes in your region, but you did not tell us where you live. The other question I wonder about is how long a run do you have to replace. If from the street, perhaps this line is owned by a utility?
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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Copper for Water Lines


Five inch pipe sounds excessive. I had a four inch main for potable water on a passenger ship I used to run supply from the main tanks for all cabins and kitchens.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:55 PM   #6
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Copper for Water Lines


I apologize for the confusion.

This is for a commercial building. There currently is a leak in a 4 inch (just checked and it's not 5 inch) main for the building's water supply.

I have gotten multiple bids on the repair. One of the bids consists of replacing the current cast iron with copper tubing rather than replacing it with the cast iron that is currently there. The plumber stated that the right way to do it was to use copper tubing. The length of piping to be replaced is about 60 ft.

I was hoping that somebody could reply on why copper was necessary. I had posted this question on plumberzone.com (the sister website to this site) and they stated that this forum was the appropriate venue to ask since I am not a professional plumber.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #7
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Copper for Water Lines


It's not necessary. You can use ductile iron, pvc, hdpe.
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Old 02-06-2012, 02:20 PM   #8
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Hi, Silva.

Which material do you suggest?
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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Maybe if you use copper, you won't have to have this discussion again.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EveryTalk View Post
Hi, Silva.

Which material do you suggest?

Depends where it is. I am an Engineer for a city and I always spec pvc to the property line for anything over 2". After 2" the copper is too expensive. I am unfamiliar with your current layout. I do not know which section you would like replaced so I would offer the following:

It is likely in your mechanical room that the main service is 4" ductile iron, so if you are replacing everything including whats in the mechanical room I would suggest PVC all the way to the mechanical room, then fully restrained transition to ductile iron. If you are staying out of the mechanical room and only replacing the section outside, I would still recommend PVC with a fully restrained transition. Outside you could use a mechnical coupler (we have trade names for them here in Canada like "maxi'fit", "one-bolt", "441") or an approved equivelent. Indoors you would need some kind of flanged adaptation.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #11
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Theres nothing wrong with a ductile iron water main,you might as well replace any questionable gate valves while youre in there
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:38 PM   #12
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Depending on area schedule 80 PVC would be an alternative .
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:45 PM   #13
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Five inch pipe sounds excessive. I had a four inch main for potable water on a passenger ship I used to run supply from the main tanks for all cabins and kitchens.
He was probably looking at the outside of pipe to guess on that number
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:03 AM   #14
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Theres nothing wrong with a ductile iron water main,you might as well replace any questionable gate valves while youre in there
I am only familiar with my area of the world, but we use plastic and concrete exclusively underground. We are replacing DI mains that are only 30-40 years old and no doubt this is partially due to neglect, improper installation, lack of cathodic protection, etc. There is just no benefit to using iron products anymore.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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Copper for Water Lines


Silva, thanks so much for your insight.

I'll definitely going to go with your recommendation. Is there any suggestion with respect to PVC vs HDPE?

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