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Discussion Starter #1
As I remodel my 40 year old home, I am replacing all plumbing with PEX. First project is to replace 400 foot supply line from well to house (currently it's 1" PVC electrical conduit - really!). Anything I should pay particular attention to? I've read a good PEX design and installation guide and will pay attention to expansion and avoiding sharp objects in trench. It will be buried about 24" even though we have no freezing problem in South Carolina.

Regards,
Jim
 

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Water quality'n pump guy
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I doubt you have electrical conduit, it is not pressure rated, is it white plastic? I doubt conduit would have been able to last all those years. Now you could be looking at conduit for the power cable to a submersible pump, and not found the water line yet.

If it is white plastic it is PVC and more likely than not, sch 40, and it doesn't need to be replaced but, PEX is a bad choice. But if you replace it, use 1" 160 psi rated PE pipe in a 500' roll. The hole in PEX is much smaller than PE or PVC.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is conduit....

Gary,
I dug some up at both ends of the water supply route. It is gray and has the printing on it confirming it is for electrical conduit. It is well buried and that may have something to do with it lasting this long.

Jim
 

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I'd recommend putting a tracer wire in the trench with the PEX. That way you or future owners can locate the line in the event of a problem or another project that requires digging.
 

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Gary
I just put in a new water line last week 1inch 200psi 200 ft only ran me 87 dollars so skip the pex for outside and go the right way.Pex is great for the inside though and all you will need is one fitting for the transition in the house
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the suggestions....

I appreciate all the comments. Especially good idea about putting wire in the trench for future location.

On the subject of pipe location, is there any good way to find buried water lines? My supply line trench will intersect at least two known water lines; one non-potable for garden watering and one black water from my septic tank to drain field. I can guess within 50 feet where they are but I plan to use a trenching machine and would REALLY like to not have to repair either.

My utility companies have located all their trenched lines but these water lines are naturally the owner's responsibility.

Similarly, what is the best way to map my DWV lines (cast iron, I think) under the basement slab? I have three drain pipes going through the slab and I know where it exits. I can guess at the layout but for contemplated modifications, it would be very helpful to know the layout accurately. There are two cleanouts so I'm guessing the best way is to fish a tape in as far as it will go then use the tape as a conductor for electrical location.
Many thanks,
Jim
 

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first of all sorry Gary my comments were for Jim I just didnt look far enough to see who posted from the start
secondly unless someone had put a tracer wire in to start with I dont know of a good way to find the lines.You may try starting where they come up at and digging around to see which way they go and try to advoid the area but they are probibly right in your path.Nothing is a easy as it one hopes it will be.I hope someone else can give you a better answer but good luck
 

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Witching

Take 2 metal coat hangers and straighten them out. At one end of each hanger bend a 90 about 4" long. This is your handle. Grasp the handles kind of loose and hold your hands plumb and the hangers level with your hands about 8 to 10" apart. Get a bucket of water to practice with. When you are over the water, the hangers will cross over each other in an X pattern. I can always get within a foot of the line. You have to do this when there hasn't been any rain though. You can get a probe to get the exact location after witching. Fiberglass probe....about $30.
 

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to avoid punctures from rocks I would put about 6 inches of sand in the bottom of the ditch then your pipe and then 6 inches of sand on top of the pipe. this will keep rocks from puncturing the pipe.
 

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I appreciate all the comments. Especially good idea about putting wire in the trench for future location.

On the subject of pipe location, is there any good way to find buried water lines? My supply line trench will intersect at least two known water lines; one non-potable for garden watering and one black water from my septic tank to drain field. I can guess within 50 feet where they are but I plan to use a trenching machine and would REALLY like to not have to repair either.

My utility companies have located all their trenched lines but these water lines are naturally the owner's responsibility.

Similarly, what is the best way to map my DWV lines (cast iron, I think) under the basement slab? I have three drain pipes going through the slab and I know where it exits. I can guess at the layout but for contemplated modifications, it would be very helpful to know the layout accurately. There are two cleanouts so I'm guessing the best way is to fish a tape in as far as it will go then use the tape as a conductor for electrical location.
Many thanks,
Jim
use a sewer pipe inspection camera most of them have locator sonde built in and you can trace your lines that way.
 

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Take 2 metal coat hangers and straighten them out. At one end of each hanger bend a 90 about 4" long. This is your handle. Grasp the handles kind of loose and hold your hands plumb and the hangers level with your hands about 8 to 10" apart. Get a bucket of water to practice with. When you are over the water, the hangers will cross over each other in an X pattern. I can always get within a foot of the line. You have to do this when there hasn't been any rain though. You can get a probe to get the exact location after witching. Fiberglass probe....about $30.
A lot of people believe in this, a lot of people don't. I've been in this business a long time and I fit in the category that doesn't. I've seen people do it, but never with any reasonable amount of success. I put it right up there with the psychics on the daytime TV talkshows. But, there are those that swear by it.........:whistling2:
 

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The metal coathanger technique is a form of dousing, a very ancient "art" that has been used to find water for a long time. Strangely enough, the technique is so common that the United States Geological Survey actually did a scientific study of the method, in an effort to determine if it was useful for locating water wells, finding buried pipes etc. There conclusion was that there was no evidence it was effective. But of course, USGS is a government agency, so there are many people who don't believe anything the government has to say.

Other studies have concluded that successful "dousers" are actually using a method similar to the Ouija Board, namely they subconsciously manipulate the rods based on their intuition about where the water lines might be. If they are clever (as in the Mentalist on TV), they may locate the line, and after several successful attempts, may come to believe in the power of the rods. Personally, I am very skeptical, as I am about psychics, mentalists, astrologers, precision dice throwers, and a variety of similar "professions".
 

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Water quality'n pump guy
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I appreciate all the comments. Especially good idea about putting wire in the trench for future location.

On the subject of pipe location, is there any good way to find buried water lines?
If you have a submersible pump, the power cable is usually in the same trench as the water line, so you have a "tracer" already but, it is very rare to have to dig up a PE water line.

You don't need a sand bed etc.. PE is tough stuff and all you need is to keep sharp rocks from under it and above it from being against it. The stuff has been used for 50 years for wells and water company service line.

I suggest a 500' roll of 160 psi, 200 is overkill unless you are hanging a submersible pump over 500' deep in a well, then use 200 psi and 160 underground up to 4' deep to the house. You unroll it along side the ditch and let it wander from side to side so you don't need to worry about contraction and expansion.

Jim, I don't know the size of the conduit but maybe the water line is inside it. If your pressure tank is at the house, you can see the water line to it, what color is the water line? And what type fitting connects it the to pressure tank tee? If the tank is at the well, same questions as the line at the house? With the well 400' from the house, you should have a submersible pump, where is the power cable?

I'd love to see pictures of electrical conduit used for water line for the last 40 years! Scroll down under the window you type a reply in and click Manage Attachments, and you can upload pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Gary S,
Thanks for your suggestions. Attached is the best picture I took....sorry for the poor lighting. The horizontal pipe is the PVC conduit (gray). I spliced in a Tee of schedule 80 PVC (white) for the short run (20 feet) to the house. http://metalworking.com/dropbox/Hardinge_UM_001.jpg



After locating both ends of the water supply run and finding that most of it was gray 1" PVC, I assumed because it was gray it must be schedule 80 since no one would put in conduit (I talked with several local plumbers who confirmed that schedule 80 PVC is sometimes supplied in gray). When I cut into the gray pipe to complete the new run to the house, I discovered it was conduit by the very thin wall thickness. But I was by then committed, and needed to get water turned on by the end of the day. So I completed the new work and it is holding fine for now.

More background than you want to know: This is just one of many areas where the previous owner cut corners. I just put in a new well because the original was iron cased and rust residue was a problem in the water. 20 years ago the owner drilled a PVC cased well but did not go deep enough for adequate volume (I could only sustain 3/4 gallons per minute), thus the latest new well. But the supply line from the well and pressure tank is lined with a rust residue from the original iron-cased well. I could live with that except that now I know it is conduit, it's time to replace. I won't dig it all up, rather put in a new line next to it.

I kept the 1" long piece of conduit I cut out to splice in the Tee. I'll post a picture when I have a bit more time. Its wall thickness measures .070", BTW.

Jim
 

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Water quality'n pump guy
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Yeah I would have thought is was sch 80 too. That's amazing. Although I don't know the wall thickness of sch 80... is there a pressure rating on it anywhere? Sch 8o is a bit different plastic so maybe the wall can be thinner than sch 40.
 

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If you have a submersible pump, the power cable is usually in the same trench as the water line, so you have a "tracer" already but, it is very rare to have to dig up a PE water line.

You don't need a sand bed etc.. PE is tough stuff and all you need is to keep sharp rocks from under it and above it from being against it. The stuff has been used for 50 years for wells and water company service line.

I suggest a 500' roll of 160 psi, 200 is overkill unless you are hanging a submersible pump over 500' deep in a well, then use 200 psi and 160 underground up to 4' deep to the house. You unroll it along side the ditch and let it wander from side to side so you don't need to worry about contraction and expansion.

Jim, I don't know the size of the conduit but maybe the water line is inside it. If your pressure tank is at the house, you can see the water line to it, what color is the water line? And what type fitting connects it the to pressure tank tee? If the tank is at the well, same questions as the line at the house? With the well 400' from the house, you should have a submersible pump, where is the power cable?

I'd love to see pictures of electrical conduit used for water line for the last 40 years! Scroll down under the window you type a reply in and click Manage Attachments, and you can upload pics.
The second paragraph states that you don't need a sand bed but yet says to keep sharp rocks and other sharp objects away from the pipe There fore I recommend a sand bed which will protect the pipe from any of these sharp rocks and other objects.:whistling2:
 

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PE pipe has been used for 50 years and it is very rare that any sand etc. is used. And this is a DIYer that is going to do the trench himself with a machine. IMO as someone that has installed the stuff, he does not need sand, just some dirt over any sharp edged rocks before laying the pipe and don't throw sharp edged rocks on top of it when backfilling.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Our soil is very sandy and devoid of sharp rocks....

I will take care to ensure that the backfill that comes in contact with the pipe has no significant rocks or other debris that could damage it. Currently it is buried from 8 to 18" deep and runs under the length of the drive used by my tractors and occasional utility vehicles to get to my storage and shop area. I intend to bury the new line a full 24" deep and run it along the shoulder of the drive for additional protection.

Anything I do will be an improvement over the current situation.....

Thanks again,

Jim
 
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