Fixing leaking underground water pipe

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Old Mission, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Old Mission

    Old Mission Well-Known Member

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    Our water pipe to our barn has been busted since we bought the house. It was under our deck, (past owners broke it when using a auger to dig the post holes for the deck, they were done with farming so did not care!) we had to rip out the deck to put in a new septic, so while its exposed we dug up the broken water pipe (and hubby cut a 6 inch section out of it where it was broke) With no plumbing/welding experience, is there a way to fix this (or should he have left it intact and patched it?!)

    We need to get it fixed asap so we can get the deck back together and enjoy this summer!

    Help!
    Stephanie
     
  2. Old Mission

    Old Mission Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention, this pipe is 5ft underground and right next to my house, so not in a easy spot to repair a large section, just a small section.
     

  3. Tom in TN

    Tom in TN Well-Known Member

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    Old Mission,

    What kind of pipe is it? Any pipe can be repaired, but how it's done varies based on the composition of the pipe.

    Tom in TN
     
  4. Old Mission

    Old Mission Well-Known Member

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    He told me its some kind of poly plastic, not pvc, if this helps.
     
  5. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ....................Go too your local rental center and rent one of those small backhoes , and a trailer as well , haul it home , dig out the pipe , find leak and then call a plumber if you can't figureout how too repair ! use your common sense , and save yourself a lot of $$$ ! , fordy:runforhills:
     
  6. Tom in TN

    Tom in TN Well-Known Member

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    Old Mission,

    Black, somewhat flexible, plastic water line is usually high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. It is commonly used in buried water lines. There are two ways that I know of to repair it (but then, I'm a farmer not a plumber, so there may also be other ways).

    1. A plastic or metal insert can be forced into the end of the pipe forming a tight fit. This insert is commonly referred to as a "barb". Then, two stainless steel hose clamps are tightened around the water line compressing it tightly to the barb. Now the fact is, HDPE is not very "compressible". To have really good results with this, you usually have to soften the pipe by heating it slightly with a propane torch to soften it a little bit before you force the barb into the pipe, and then while it's still warm, you tighten the two hose clamps around the pipe.

    Obviously, you must know the inside diameter of the pipe to acquire the proper size barb.

    If your water line has been broken, you'll need to add an appropriate length of new water line, use barbs at both ends of the newly inserted pipe to connect it to the existing line.

    2. A large compression fitting is also available for connecting two ends of an HDPE pipe to one another. This fitting employs two large nuts and two compressible plastic sleeves that go around the outside diameter of the pipe. You slide one of the nuts onto your existing pipe, slide the compressible sleeve onto your existing pipe, slide the fitting onto the pipe, and tighten the nut onto the fitting compressing the sleeve tightly onto the pipe. The same thing is then done with the pipe that you are inserting into the line. Another fitting is used at the other end of the new piece of pipe that you are inserting into the line to connect it to the existing water line.

    Obviously, you need to know the outside diameter of the water line to use this method.

    Typically, the big-box hardware stores will have the barbs and clamps for the inside diameter fix but not the large compression fitting for the outside diameter fix. Plumbing supply houses will have both types.

    In either case, it's somewhat difficult to work in a narrow trench that is five feet deep.

    Good luck with your repair.

    Tom in TN
     
  7. Old Vet

    Old Vet Well-Known Member

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    When you go for parts take a small piece of it with you so that you can get the right diameter fitting. Tom in TN has the right information. You will need to get enough pipe to make the repair.
     
  8. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Be very alert when you are in the trench. Cave ins kill people every year and can happen in the blink of an eye. I would remove some of the ground around the trench so that it's only waist deep. It won't take that long and could save a life.
     
  9. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    This is how the line from our well to the house was repaired when it broke a couple of years ago....
     
  10. Old Mission

    Old Mission Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the info!!!
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When you buy fittings, be sure to get those rated for underground use. Especially pay attention to the hose clamps, if you use any. They often say they are stainless steel, _but_ the screw ends up being non-stainless. You want to buy the good stuff for your application so you don't have to redo it in 5 years....... This is one time to spend a little to save a lot.

    --->Paul
     
  12. Old Mission

    Old Mission Well-Known Member

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    Ok we got it fixed!!!

    Paul I'll double check the pipe and fittings before we cover the hole back up, thanks!!!