Installing a new water service to a house is something that every homeowner dreads. The excavation of old water lines often involves the destruction of landscape, lawn and property. Digging the trench by hand, in warm climates, can minimize the damage and expedite you yards recovery. Researching the correct pipe material, pipe size and code requirements for water services in your area will also save time and money. If you are considering contracting out the work, acquire at least three bids from contractors and ask for references from each.
Things You'll Need
- Meter Key
- Pipe Wrenches
- Back-Fill Material
Turn off the water supply at the well house or water meter by closing the main water shut-off valve. Rotate the valve handle clockwise until it stops. If you are shutting off a municipal water meter, you may need a water meter key; a long metal tool with a slotted end and cross handle that fits over the meter's curb stop. Open all the outside faucets to drain the remaining water pressure.
Excavate the old water service lines by hand or with trenching equipment. Round and spade shovels are sufficient to dig water service lines in soft soil where the line is only a few feet deep. Deeper lines in colder climates will require large excavating machines like backhoes and chain trenchers.
Disconnect the old water service pipe connecting the house to the water supply. Using pipe wrenches, unscrew the pipes from water meter or gate valve at the well house. If there are no unions to separate the pipe, cutting the water line with a hacksaw or saws is required. Remove all old pipe from the ditch and dispose of it responsibly.
Prepare the open trench for the new water service installation. In poor rocky soils, all pipe manufacturers recommend bedding material, such as sand or pea gravel. The trench requires excavation four to six inches below grade, filled with bedding material, and tamped into place. This will insure the pipe remains level and secure for years.
Connect the new water service pipe to the water meter or well-pump connections. Lay the water line from the meter or pump to the house and make the final connections. If necessary, allow all pipe joint connections to dry or set. Slowly turn the water supply on. Allow the water to run free from, at least, one outside faucet for two to three minutes. This will clear the line of any dirt or debris. Close all faucets and inspect all the pipe connections for leaks. In some cases, you will need to contact your code enforcement office, at this time, for a final inspection. Cover the pipe with clean soil, free of sharp objects, rocks and debris.
Tips & Warnings
- Local codes may require permits and fees paid before you start excavation.
- Contact your local utilities before digging to locate all buried electrical, cable, phone, gas and fuel services. Damaging any of these, will be costly and could cause serious injury or even death.
- Photo Credit manÂ´s hand with a spade image by svehlik from Fotolia.com