I live in Southern California with a house on a slab. The original galvanized pipe that feeds the house from the meter has finally broke in an area I can't repair (under the slab). It's been my plan to replace all this piping with PVC underground, copper to go above ground and penetrate the house, and finally PEX inside. I talked with my county as far as the approved materials and they simply specified SCH-40 PVC at a minimum of 12" underground and copper above that depth. I can use PEX inside too.
1. Should I add any sort of bedding to the trench before laying the new PVC pipe or does it simply get buried in the dirt without too much fuss?
2. It has been suggested that I first connect to the meter with copper and then go to PVC for the 40' run to the house. This affords them some better pipe strength if the county ever needs to work on the meter. What would be the best way to join the short 2' copper run with the PVC?
On the copper you can sweat on a male or female adapter and on the PVC you can glue on the oppisite. Of course thread the fitting into the copper fitting before glueing. Also use sch80 fittings even if you us sch40 PVC
I personally would not run any pvc undrground. I would use k soft copper instead. This comes from 35 yrs of fixing pvc running underground. But if you insist on running pvc underground I would bed it in 6 inches of
sand and cover it with 6 inches of sand. As far as copper to pvc hook up I would use a ford pvc to copper coupling simply because i don't care for threaded fittings under ground http://www.fordmeterbox.com/pages/J_Section/Jsec.htm
yeah, I'm sure copper would be much better but I just can't spend that kind of $$ right now. I hadn't heard about much problems with underground PVC though. I'd take your word based on your experience though! What sort of problems come up? With a 40' run, we're talking the difference between a $10 materials cost and $200 from what I can tell... How does the sand bedding help BTW?
Bedding in sand keeps rocks and other debris off the pipe. Even if you don't notice it when you run water the pipe vibrates. In time if you have a rock or other hard object like a piece of metal laying against the pipe and in time it could wear a hole through the pipe. As far as why I have repaired pvc under ground is that over time pvc tends to get brittle and snaps very easy. So it it is not buried very deep or bedded properly and a car or other heavy machinery runs over it it tends to snap in two especially at the fittings.
That actually makes total sense Al. Luckily, this pipe run will rest in the front yard where there is practically NO traffic --not even by foot in that area. Believe me, I'd love to use copper but the cost is just prohibitive right now. Maybe in 5-10 years I'll go back and re-do it but who knows... Thanks for the suggestion of bedding in sand though! I'll be sure to do that now that you've explained the purpose behind it. Thanks so much everyone for all your help!
Instead of mixing all those pipe materials just use pex from meter to house, connect pex to copper with sharkbite connection to enter house, then use sharkbite conection to go from copper to pex inside house. Lay about 3" of sand in the trench, then the pipe, then more sand then natural fill. PEX withstands freezing and rock damage very well and is less expensive by the foot than copper. It is also approved for burial in any soil
Well PEX isn't approved for underground in my county yet. I actually ran the new line this Saturday with 1" PVC. I ran it 18" down & used copper to come up & penetrate the house. I'll probably post pics Monday afternoon. Thx everyone for all your help!!
Here I run under the gas line, convert to copper to go above the 12" minimum depth for PVC, and slip under the sidewalk...
You can see two of the original PVC taps that went from the original galvanized line up to my water softener on the right side.
Here you see me emerge from the sidewalk and into the water softener. I'm running a hose to the back of the house temporarily while I work out the permits and prepare the inside of the house for PEX and a copper penetration of the stucco. The copper you see here only LOOKS like it's going into the house --it's just a fit check...
Hooking into the old water meter at the street...
I added a new ball valve after the stucco gate to make shutting off the water in the future much easier. I'm replacing the cat litter box with a good box from the H/W store before burying the work...
Here's what the pipe looked like at the connection at the meter by the street...
Not much left if you ask me!!
Here's where I tied into the existing (soon to be replaced) plumbing in the house...
The yellow garden hose is the temporary line I ran from the water softener at the other side of the house... If any of you have not seen my getto-rigged plumbing job from some of my older posts, you can read about it here.
Finally, here's a closeup of the piece I took out to cut and cap the old feed line...
Amazing to think I've been drinking from this line for the last 10 years!!
Now, I'm on to gut my front bedroom and start preparing for the inside plumbing!! Wish me luck...
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