DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, just have a few quick plumbing questions. If you have some free time and don't mind helping me out, please feel free in answering some of them.

1) I was recently asked by my local water department to dig out the mud around our water meter and the pipes around it in our front lawn. The water department had said that if the pipes were covered in mud, that they could cause the pipes to freeze and that is why they wanted us to dig out the mud (since they own the meter, but do not own the pipes they said I had dig out the mud around the pipes, not a big deal to me). My question is, wouldn't the mud actually help insulate the pipes and help prevent it from freezing? And why after 30 years are they asking to now dig out the mud around the pipes?

2) They say when plumbing, to not have two unlike metals touching in plumbing applications due to the potential of corrosion by electrolysis. My question is, with brass valves and sillcocks that are attached to copper plumbing, does one need a dielectric union to prevent corrosion since I am attaching copper to brass? Or is brass considered a neutral metal that will not result in electrolysis between it and copper?

3) When are dielectric unions necessary?

4) Why don't water meter pipes generally freeze? Where I live, we have had winters where the temperature was 0 degrees F, and the water meter pipes still didn't freeze. It is outside in the ground only covered by a metal water meter cover, I would think that is not enough to keep it above freezing temperatures, right?

5) If the answer to question 4 is that it does not freeze due to water flowing through the water meter pipes since water is intermittently being used by the homeowner, then what happens if the homeowner is on vacation for a few weeks in winter, won't the water meter pipes freeze then since the water won't be flowing?

Thanks a bunch guys, just had these on my mind and wanted to get some clarification. Take care and happy Thanksgiving:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,595 Posts
Hi guys, just have a few quick plumbing questions. If you have some free time and don't mind helping me out, please feel free in answering some of them.

1) I was recently asked by my local water department to dig out the mud around our water meter and the pipes around it in our front lawn. The water department had said that if the pipes were covered in mud, that they could cause the pipes to freeze and that is why they wanted us to dig out the mud (since they own the meter, but do not own the pipes they said I had dig out the mud around the pipes, not a big deal to me). My question is, wouldn't the mud actually help insulate the pipes and help prevent it from freezing? And why after 30 years are they asking to now dig out the mud around the pipes?

2) They say when plumbing, to not have two unlike metals touching in plumbing applications due to the potential of corrosion by electrolysis. My question is, with brass valves and sillcocks that are attached to copper plumbing, does one need a dielectric union to prevent corrosion since I am attaching copper to brass? Or is brass considered a neutral metal that will not result in electrolysis between it and copper?

3) When are dielectric unions necessary?

4) Why don't water meter pipes generally freeze? Where I live, we have had winters where the temperature was 0 degrees F, and the water meter pipes still didn't freeze. It is outside in the ground only covered by a metal water meter cover, I would think that is not enough to keep it above freezing temperatures, right?

5) If the answer to question 4 is that it does not freeze due to water flowing through the water meter pipes since water is intermittently being used by the homeowner, then what happens if the homeowner is on vacation for a few weeks in winter, won't the water meter pipes freeze then since the water won't be flowing?

Thanks a bunch guys, just had these on my mind and wanted to get some clarification. Take care and happy Thanksgiving:)
Question 4) -- meter pipes don't freeze at the meter because they are below frost line and stay above freezing temperatures through a process called thermal conduction from the piping to and from the meter.
 

·
A "Handy Husband"
Joined
·
12,337 Posts
You do not state your location but based on the question I assume you are far enough south that the meter is in a shallow access box 8-12" below grade. In areas that use this type meter box, the frost level does not go that deep.

If my water company were to ask me to dig out their box and meter. I would ignore them. Let them dig it out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,261 Posts
WHy is there mud there in the first place?
Low spot in the yard or is there a water leak?
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Special User
Joined
·
917 Posts
2) They say when plumbing, to not have two unlike metals touching in plumbing applications due to the potential of corrosion by electrolysis. My question is, with brass valves and sillcocks that are attached to copper plumbing, does one need a dielectric union to prevent corrosion since I am attaching copper to brass? Or is brass considered a neutral metal that will not result in electrolysis between it and copper?

3) When are dielectric unions necessary?
I have the same questions. I know joining galv and copper is bad, but I've never seen galvanized gate or ball valves, so I sure hope joining brass and galv is acceptable...

Pretty sure copper to brass is fine though. Brass is mostly made of copper anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Registered
Joined
·
37,261 Posts
Brass to copper if fine, brass or copper to steel is very bad.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Special User
Joined
·
917 Posts
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,692 Posts
While you can't believe everything you read on the web, look at copper. org. Interesting read if your into that stuff

Sent from my iPhone using DIY Forum
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Special User
Joined
·
917 Posts
While you can't believe everything you read on the web, look at copper. org. Interesting read if your into that stuff
Academics aside, I guess the relevant question is:

Is galv to brass allowed by code?

EDIT: I think I found the answer:

605.24.1 Copper or copper-alloy tubing to galvanized
steel pipe.
Joints between copper or copper-alloy tubing
and galvanized steel pipe shall be made with a brass fitting
or dielectric fitting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,692 Posts
tylernt said:
Academics aside, I guess the relevant question is:

Is galv to brass allowed by code?
Yes but some don't consider it an approved method of isolating copper from galv

Sent from my iPhone using DIY Forum
 
  • Like
Reactions: amodoko and oh'mike

·
Mold!! Let's kill it!
Joined
·
2,849 Posts
If there is mud in the meter pit, the water company should clean it out. They typically have the wrench to popen it up. Mud has too much moisture to act as an insulator. It's more of a conductor.

Brass is an alloy of copper (and zinc), so it's not normally a problem when in contact with copper. Iron and copper are a problem and should be isolated by a di-electric nipple or di-electric union.

Water meter pipes do freeze. Around here the trend is to not use deep enough meter pits and then have problems. On bitter cold nights, some people crack a faucet just enough keep some flow going. The water company claims that there is enough residual heat from the lines being buried well below frost. I don't buy it on an extreme night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Hey, thanks guys, I appreciate all the replies. I now know a lot more then I did a few hours ago.

Joecaption, to answer your question regarding why there is mud/dirt in the water meter pit, I'm assuming it is because the water meter pit is on a steep hill, towards the bottom of the hill but still on the hill itself. Probably just seeped down due to the incline/rain over the years I guess.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top