Recently, the main water pipe to my house sprung a leak in my front yard. The
pipe was PVC and buried about 3 feet deep--I live in Arizona, so freezing isn't
usually a problem. I had the plumber replace the PVC with copper--my house has
copper pipes, but the main line from the street was mostly PVC. About a week
or two before the leak, I had removed the tar paper from under the rock in the
front yard. The paper was getting annoying--showing through the rock and
getting torn, so I took it out. Now someone is telling me that the tar paper
could have been insulating the PVC from the cold, and by removing it, I "sped
up" the leak.
Is this possible? The tar paper was under an inch or two of rock and the pipe
was buried 3 feet. It does get cold out here, but it hasn't frozen--especially
not 3 feet deep. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks
You're still talking about over 2-feet of soil covering that
pipe...tar paper or not. Frostline in my state is 18" down. In
Arizona, 3-feet deep is way overkill. Tell your friend who gave you
this advice that he is mistaken. If he insists on the issue, have him
do the math. What is the R value for 3-feet of soil? And what is the R
value for a sheet of tar paper? Mostly likely, when that house was
built, there were fragments of brick and rock that got into the trench
with your water pipe. Over the years due to expansion and contraction
of the soil, that chip of rock or brick slowly filed a tiny hole in
your water line. Was the pipe sleeved where it made the penetration
through your foundation? If it wasn't sleeved, it was just a matter of
time before you got your leak. How cold does it get in Arizona?
On 19 Feb 2004 05:52:00 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (ScorpioAJK) wrote:
On 12/18/04 email@example.com (ScorpioAJK) writes in part:
That was good for a laugh......
The tar paper has nothing to do with insulating the PVC from the cold (by the
way how cold did it get last night 40 or 50 degrees?)
Tar paper is used under rock portions of your landcaping to prevent weeds from
growing up through the rocks.
I think I would have just stuck with PVC if I were you. As long as you
protect the PVC from rocks, it'll last quite a bit longer than copper.
My water supply pipe is only 8 inches deep in some places and I've never had
any problems with it. And I don't think that any part of Arizona (below 1000
feet in elevation) is any less tropical than where I live.
Personally I don't use PVC at all. I hate the stuff. The reason your
pipe from the meter to the house was PVC and the water piping inside
the house was Copper is because that is what code requires. The PVC
water line is supposed to be run to 5-feet from the building
structure. 5-feet from the building travelling to the Meter, is your
water SERVICE piping. PVC is an approved material for water service.
From 5-feet to inside the building the water pipe is considered water
DISTRIBUTION pipe. PVC is not approved for water distribution.
Anyways, it sounds like your plumber got things repaired for you. He
did the same thing I would have done...yank the old PVC and replace
with copper. Personally, I like to sleeve copper supply pipe with
1-1/2 PVC to protect it from rocks and other debris. If there is ever
a problem, all you have to do is dig down. cut the pipe loose at the
meter. cut the pipe loose at the house and yank the whole pipe out.
The way I install them, you can re-plumb the water main without
digging up your yard. But sleeving isn't required by code.
On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 18:43:38 -0500, "Robert Calvert"
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