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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all.

I am thinking about cutting a narrow channel into my concrete slab to run a refrigerator supply line from the sink to the spot where my icebox will be. The distance is about 6-7 feet.

I am remodeling the basement and laying slate tile over the concrete so I imagine all that I would have to do is:
1. cut the groove with my angle grinder and hammer drill
2. lay the copper pipe
3. patch the pipe/groove with cement
4. and then continue laying tiles over the floor & pipe

If I go this route, I definitely do not want to have sweated joints under the concrete so I assume that the pipe will have to bend upward from the floor at both ends.

Does anyone think this is a bad idea? Should I use something other than copper? Any recommendations for pipe diameter/gauge? Obviously the thicker the pipe, the bigger the groove, but I would hate to have it snap off at one end after the floor is laid.

Thanks a lot!

Mike.R

PS. The internet told me that some contractors/inspectors say running copper through concrete is bad. Elsewhere (www.copper.org) the internet disagrees:
http://www.copper.org/applications/plumbing/techcorner/problem_embedding_copper_concrete.html
 

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Is there not a wall right behind the ref. the lines could be run through?
Copper should never come in contact with concrete. It will corrode.
 

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Yes you can do that just make sure the copper is K or L, isolate the copper from touching the concrete put insulation around it or some other cover.
Don't kink it when coming up out of the concrete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am afraid not... after framing, dry walling, mudding, sanding and painting, we changed our minds about where the refrigerator should be. I'm leaning toward going through the floor since that's the only part I didn't yet finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes you can do that just make sure the copper is K or L, isolate the copper from touching the concrete put insulation around it or some other cover.
Don't kink it when coming up out of the concrete.
Thanks COLDIRON. Can I ask, are you suggesting it will be OK if:

I use K or L copper OR insulate the pipe
or
I use K or L copper AND insulate the pipe

And Techpappy - the reason I don't want to us PEX (or a very thin copper tube for that matter) is that I would hate to go through all of the effort to run the pipe through the concrete and end up running over it with the refrigerator and having it cut or snapped off. I want something a bit more robust.
 

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Thanks COLDIRON. Can I ask, are you suggesting it will be OK if:

I use K or L copper OR insulate the pipe
or
I use K or L copper AND insulate the pipe

And Techpappy - the reason I don't want to us PEX (or a very thin copper tube for that matter) is that I would hate to go through all of the effort to run the pipe through the concrete and end up running over it with the refrigerator and having it cut or snapped off. I want something a bit more robust.
You really shouldn't have the pipe embedded in the concrete in the first place. Sometimes it's unavoidable and we have to wrap the copper line with a sleeving material to keep it from contacting the concrete. Insulation may be required as well in your jurisdiction, i just don't know.

Sounds like youa re still in the demo stage... Cant you run it overhead?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You really shouldn't have the pipe embedded in the concrete in the first place. Sometimes it's unavoidable and we have to wrap the copper line with a sleeving material to keep it from contacting the concrete. Insulation may be required as well in your jurisdiction, i just don't know.

Sounds like youa re still in the demo stage... Cant you run it overhead?
Thanks Alan, I am afraid not. The rest of the room is finished and this is a last minute change before I finish tiling the floor.

I did have another idea since so many people disagree with the (probably not unbiased) Copper Alliance.

Perhaps I could run a plastic hose with a 3/8" or 1/2" inner diameter through the concrete, and then just feed a copper or PEX refrigerator line through that? That way, if I ever accidentally break or cut the refrigerator line, I can just feed a new line through the tube? Of course I will need to cut a deeper groove in the cement to do this, but I think it gives me the most options in the future.
 

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Thanks Alan, I am afraid not. The rest of the room is finished and this is a last minute change before I finish tiling the floor.

I did have another idea since so many people disagree with the (probably not unbiased) Copper Alliance.

Perhaps I could run a plastic hose with a 3/8" or 1/2" inner diameter through the concrete, and then just feed a copper or PEX refrigerator line through that? That way, if I ever accidentally break or cut the refrigerator line, I can just feed a new line through the tube? Of course I will need to cut a deeper groove in the cement to do this, but I think it gives me the most options in the future.
You'll need a larger diameter to make the bends more than likely....


I'd go with a 1" conduit. Put a string in it just in case. Of course with sweeps, you'll more than likely have to be below the concrete anyway.
 

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FYI, there are millions of homes throughout the US that are slab homes with water lines embedded in the slab for decades with no problems. EX. Levittown, PA. and Florida where there are thousands of slab homes.

Do not run the line in PVC you won't ever be able to make the bends on either end without kinking the copper.
 

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FYI, there are millions of homes throughout the US that are slab homes with water lines embedded in the slab for decades with no problems. EX. Levittown, PA. and Florida where there are thousands of slab homes.

Do not run the line in PVC you won't ever be able to make the bends on either end without kinking the copper.
Embedded directly in the concrete? Why? I thought code prohibited that because it weakens the concrete along the waterline, making it more prone to cracking.

Seeing as how the lines are generally put in before the slab, why would you take such measures to ensure that they are embedded directly into the concrete, instead of running them in the gravel/earth below it?

:huh:
:huh:
:huh:
 

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Every years there's thousands of old home with in floor heating and supply lines ran in copper that are failing and now have to all be replumbed in the walls or ceilings.
Even all the Frank Loyd Wright homes had to all be redone because of leaks.
Your not going to find any building inspector that would ever approve it.
There is no copper conspiracy, it just a simple fact.
 

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Insulate it or create a break barrier between the copper and the concrete, you won't have any problems.
If you try to put it in PVC you'll never make that sweep up from the concrete without kinking the copper.:yes:
 

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Embedded directly in the concrete? Why? I thought code prohibited that because it weakens the concrete along the waterline, making it more prone to cracking.

Seeing as how the lines are generally put in before the slab, why would you take such measures to ensure that they are embedded directly into the concrete, instead of running them in the gravel/earth below it?

:huh:
:huh:
:huh:
" Your a plumber what's the code say about ice maker water line?"
Why does everyone always worry about minor cracks in concrete? I don't think I have ever seen a concrete job in my life without a small crack in it. Use Common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update: I plan on running a 1/4" soft copper line within a 1/2" OD (3/8" ID) flexible plastic tube through a groove in the slab. Today I cut a channel into the concrete with the angle grinder and hammer drill (angle grinder was a mess, now I see why they use wet saws for this). The channel about 1" x 1" and 6' long. I have the channel making a gradual curve at both ends so the tubes can emerge from the floor without kinking the copper. I think (hope) that if I would ever damage the copper line, I should be able to yank it out of there and slide another copper line through the outer plastic sleeve.

I have all of the materials and I just need to chip away at some more of the irregularities in the groove so the top of the outer (plastic) tube remains about 1/2" under the surface. Eventually there will be another 1/2 inch of thinset and slate on top of that.

Let me know if anyone has any concerns. I'll share some pics when I get a little further.
 

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Update: I plan on running a 1/4" soft copper line within a 1/2" OD (3/8" ID) flexible plastic tube through a groove in the slab. Today I cut a channel into the concrete with the angle grinder and hammer drill (angle grinder was a mess, now I see why they use wet saws for this). The channel about 1" x 1" and 6' long. I have the channel making a gradual curve at both ends so the tubes can emerge from the floor without kinking the copper. I think (hope) that if I would ever damage the copper line, I should be able to yank it out of there and slide another copper line through the outer plastic sleeve.

I have all of the materials and I just need to chip away at some more of the irregularities in the groove so the top of the outer (plastic) tube remains about 1/2" under the surface. Eventually there will be another 1/2 inch of thinset and slate on top of that.

Let me know if anyone has any concerns. I'll share some pics when I get a little further.
" Good, can't wait to see the pictures".
 

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Nice thread. It's a shame he never posted pics. I'm about to do the same things. 1/4" was run along a channel about 3 feet long then under the wall until it reached the fridge. I jack hammered the old floor off and went right through the line. I guess I will look for 3/8" plastic tubing to cover the copper while it channels through the concrete.
 
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