Monday, May 11, 2009

Trouble Free Water Line Repairs and Replacements

Water line repair or replacement is something most homeowners encounter at some point during the course of their home-ownership.

Some common causes of water line breaks: ran over the water meter with the car, planted a tree and chopped through the pipe, cut a tree down and drove a rock into the pipe, the pipe is just old and rusted or you one of the lucky people with recalled polybutylene plumbing. Regardless, you need water and you want it fixed where you don't have to worry about repairing it in your lifetime.

We suggest repairing most outdoor water lines using brass coupling, plastic coupling tend to break easier than the pipe their attached to. Some pipes require the use of plastic coupling such as 1" PB to 1" PEX, 1" polybutylene pipe is too soft to use on rubber seal on.

Atlantis Plumbing specializes in the repair and replacement of all types of water lines. We can repair all lines from an icemaker up to a fire hydrant line. Call us for a free estimate.

Michael Whitman
Atlantis Plumbing

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cobb County Smyrna Chronic Water Leaks in almost New Houses

We received a call about 3 water lines leaking at a complex off of South Cobb Drive. The community was only six years old and experiencing broken water lines frequently. They had many of the lines repaired and several replaced already. We bid to replace the three lines due to the lines were broken under the driveways and boring under the
driveway was easier and less expensive than breaking concrete. The next day we replaced the three water services from the curb stop (there was no separate meter, just one master meter for the neighborhood) the the stub outs from the slabs of the houses. So another week goes by and we receive another call that 2 more water lines were leaking. I decided to check the main pressure at got a reading of 150 PSI, which I thought was high but okay. We replaced 2 more water lines. Two weeks later three more water lines are leaking (all the leaks have been occurring under concrete sidewalks or driveways, not much grass to the yards). I decided to check the pressure again and got a reading of nearly 200 PSI, which is high for the metro Atlanta area. I made a recommendation that we add regulators at all the curb stops to help protect the piping and give a second line of defense in the case where an interior regulator failed. We replaced the water lines and added the pressure regulators. The same situation has occurred several other times with other units in that neighborhood. We even had to repair a copper line that the pro-press joint popped apart. Basically I came to several explanations for the high failure rates of the water lines. 1. High water pressure stressing the pipes, 2. Poor soil compaction stressing the piping and causing the pipe to stretch and leak as the ground settles., 3. The units are four stories high and during construction heavy cranes were used to place roof trusses, causing rocks to press into the tubing., 4. Sloppy installation, sharp bends in the tubing, concrete slabs sitting on the pipe, valve boxes resting on the tubing and cheap plastic compression coupling cracking.

Mike Whitman

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Leak Detection versus Replacement

When determining whether to pursue leak detection, cost of detection and repair versus cost of replacement should be considered. I arrived at a water line several days back, a local leak detection company had been searching the leak for two days, with minimal success. The leak detection bill was nearly $1900.00 which included helium sniffers and ultrasonic searching. I looked at the water line and quickly determined I could replace the entire line for the less than the leak detection bill and could provide a warranty for the line. The leak detection company had guessed that the leak was below three gigantic trees and had circled an area of about 200 square feet. There was not a sign of surface water in the area and the gas main was running in the same area. I was intimidated by the thought of cutting down the gigantic and digging with a backhoe right on top of the pipe. We decided to replace the pipe. In this case, the customer should have considered the costs before going with leak detection. Factors such as age of pipe, location and depth of the existing pipe, destruction of landscaping, and time frame should all be considered.

Mike Whitman Atlantis Plumbing

Monday, August 13, 2007

Do PVC Pipe and Copper Pipe Last Forever?

Having replaced every type of water line locally ( Copper, Galvanized, Blue Polybutylene, Grey Polybutylene, Polyethylene, PVC), I can come to the conclusion that the best pipes for underground are copper, polyethylene and PVC. My current personal preference is for polyethylene, after seeing 4 copper service lines (within the past 3 weeks) with totally ruined after 23 years buried in the ground. One break we dug up was in good soil, proper depth, correct grade of copper. All conditions were ideal(public water). The pipe literally could be squeezed flat with your fingers. Pinholes perforating a two foot section of pipe (Note: the county service line from meter to the main was the orginal polyethylene). This was not the first time I encountered this but made me think about how so many plumbers tell people copper will last forever. I don't think so, I tell people copper will last 20 or 30 years (buried in the ground). Polyethylene will last 20 or 25 years. PVC pipe for water service line is good for some situations (ex: 2000feet through a field with no trees) I think PVC has too many joints for line replacements. Plastic Male and female adapters do not have the ability to handle soil shift, over-tightening, poorly threaded metal adapters, and long term thermal expansion and contraction. Most of the breaks I see on PVC water service pipe are from broken fittings. The pipe sections generally do not fail and it is my pipe of choice on sewer and drain lines. In summary, no pipe will last forever in Georgia soil conditions. Copper pipe and polyethylene pipe (with brass connectors, not PVC connectors) will provide a good trouble free service life.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sources of outdoor water leaks coming through foundation walls

There are several reasons why water can be coming through the outside wall of a home. One reason can be poor construction: Ground water diverted toward the house, gutters draining against walls (instead of away from house) or worst case the footer drain is
improperly installed or has no where to drain. The most common plumbing related reason for water coming through foundation walls is due to a broken water or sewer line. Frequently during construction, soil compaction is not ideal near the house due to the risk of collapsing a wall with a heavy excavtor. Also, scrap lumber and organic material can be buried and cause settlement over time. This settlement at the house due to these reasons, put excessive stress on water and sewer pipes and can cause a break or crack. Depending on the seal of the wall, this water may enter the home. Repairing pipes in areas with a risk of settlement, is best done with a flexible tubing or a waterworks coupling that allows some pull out.