Main Water Line Repair
The Ultimate Guide
From time to time, every residential or commercial area needs main water line repair and replacement. The need could arise due to different reasons. Your water lines might be too old and so, corroded. The main water lines might be experiencing changes due to weather, ground movement, increased soil acidity, or any significant reason. As a result, you will be facing several water issues.
However, before you plan to go for the main water line repair and replacement, you must be asking yourself different questions. We know how difficult it is to get done with something you have no prior knowledge about.
This guide aims at covering various thoughts ushering in your mind regarding water line repair and replacement. Read on!
What are the Different Types of Water Pipes?
Different types of water pipes need a specific kind of repair. All the types of pipes cannot be mended similarly. This makes it important to know the different types of water pipes, which one is present in your house/office and which type you should replace the existing ones with.
The most common plumbing pipes include:
Cast iron plumbing pipes were used for water lines back in the 1960s and the coming decades. So, if you live in an old dwelling, the chances are that your water lines must be of cast iron. As cast iron is prone to rust and corrosion over time, it can be the major reason behind leaks and other water problems you are facing.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes come in white or cream color. So far, these have been the best drainage pipes. As these are extremely strong and durable, a lot of plumbers recommend their use. Also, these are very resistant to chemicals, so there are little to no chances of disruption.
There are several different PVC pipes, such as Schedule 40 (good for residential drainage lines) and Schedule 80 (good for cold water only).
CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes are also the type of PVC pipes. In addition to the strength and durability, these are also heat-resistant. This makes them the most suitable type of water pipes in regions with hot temperatures most of the year.
PEX (Crosslinked Polyethylene) pipes are the most modern type of pipes. These offer easy installation, higher flexibility, and cuts really quick. It can be easily fitted through compression fittings. For more expert and permanent installation, a crimping tool comes in handy.
However, be aware that PEX lines cost three to four times more than copper or plastic lines.
Most of the steel pipes are galvanized. This makes them strong, but they only last well for up to 50 years. After that, you will be facing leakage problems frequently. So, if you have steel pipes in your water lines, better get them replaced than repaired again and again.
One of the most strong and durable pipes today are copper pipes. As these are resistant to corrosion, they last long. The two different types of copper pipes include:
- Rigid copper. These come in three sizes. Type M is thinner than Type L and Type K but is good for residential use. The other two are thicker and are best for commercial use. As these are quite rigid, they need professional expertise and tools for cutting and installation.
- Flexible copper. Flexible copper pipes are the ones that we often use for simple household appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, etc. These bends easily and so can be kinked. If that is the case, it is good to go for a replacement.
What if my house has Polybutylene pipes?
Back in the 1970s, we saw a hype about polybutylene pipes. These were known to be cheap and easy to install. Therefore, a lot of plumbers started installing polybutylene pipes in their water line projects. Only a decade later, these pipes turned out to be defective, largely due to manufacturing errors. In a few years, these pipes start splitting up.
Mostly, Polybutylene pipes come in black, grey, or blue. Blue polybutylene pipers were popular for outdoor plumbing, while grey was mostly used for indoor plumbing. Check near your water meter outside and water heater inside to determine if your house has Polybutylene pipes.
If it does, all we can recommend is to replace them as soon as possible. This will save you from bigger faults and expensive repairs later on.
Read more about pipes here.
Locating the Leak
One major cause of water problems is leaking. This requires you to get repairs or replace water lines quickly. The leaks can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- Complexly grown roots
- Strong water pressure
- Overtime ground movements
- Increased soil acidity
- Freezing weather
- Extreme hot temperatures
Before you go for repair or replacement, the best practice is to locate the leaks. This helps you figure out if it only needs a repair or pipe has to be replaced. To locate or detect the leaks, check the following areas:
The water service line that comes from your meter or water pump towards your home might be leaking. This waterline runs in the exterior of your house and can be located in the yard or garage.
The slab of your home might get a leak due to leaks in hot or cold-water plumbing pipes underneath.
Inside walls or floors
Checking for leaks in the walls and floors is not possible on your own. For that, you can observe the surface. Often, the surface gets moist and flooded due to water leaks. This presents the chances of leaks.
If your basement is often flooded up and the walls are damaged, this must be due to plumbing leaks.
Other plumbing systems
Other systems that use plumbing lines, such as radiant floor heating, snow melting systems, and ice rink plumbing systems, can also be potential areas to check for leaks.
Locating the leaks on time prevents serious property damage. It also saves you from water issues and problems such as low water flow and flooded walls and/or floors.
When Should I Replace my Main Water Line?
When should I replace my main water line? As mentioned above, leaking pipes are the potential cause of main water line replacement. Other than that, you should replace your water lines when:
Mineral or Residue Buildup
Even if mineral or residue buildup does not cause leaks, it can lead to low water pressure and other water faults. Usually, water lines fill up with calcium and other minerals. Slowly, these turn into rocky substances. Scientifically, there’s no proper method to remove the buildup, especially from galvanized pipes.
Therefore, the best way out is to replace your plumbing pipes with new ones to enjoy proper water flow and calcium content.
Some pipes, such as cast iron, ABS plastic, and steel, are not very durable. Even if they are, they start deteriorating after a specific time. In that case, repairs get super expensive. It is better to replace pipes when you see general deterioration because their warranty is over. Moreover, corrosion, blockage, and leaking joints also result in poor water.
Next time you get water lines installed, make sure you go for a more durable and strong material resistant to heat, cold, and chemicals.
Can I Replace Main Water Line on my Own?
If you have no prior experience, it is best to leave a main water line replacement to a professional plumber. Replacing a pipe is not as easy as it might appear. Depending on the pipe’s length and size that needs to be replaced, you will need to cut the pipes, trenching down the surface or into the wall.
Moreover, it takes professional expertise to decide which method to adopt for replacement. There are several ways to replace the waterline, such as:
- The open-cut method, also known as the Trench method
- Pipe bursting process
While the open-cut method is a traditional way of trenching to remove old pipes and installing new ones, the pipe bursting process is a mechanical method that uses a hydraulic machine to pull out a damaged pipe and replace it with a new one.
Before You Plan on Replacing Main Water Line on Your Own
Baikal Services® recommends you to contact the following two locations:
1. Utility Notification Center
If you are a Washington, Oregon, Montana, or Hawaii resident, you are required by law to contact Utility Notification Center before you dig. It ensures that your excavation poses no damage to underground facilities and causes any service interruption.
2. American Leak Detection
If you cannot detect the leak in your water lines, American Leak Detection is an expert for in-home leak detection. They can find hidden leaks for you to make the repair and replacement of water lines easier.
You will need to go for the main water line repair and replacement now or then. While reasons can be many, all you need to ensure is you get professional repair services. If a replacement is necessary, choose plumbing pipes that are more durable and stronger than older ones. Better quality pipes will make you face water leaks, low water pressure, and residue buildup less often.