Ah the dreaded water main repair. The nightmare of all homeowners, this is one issue everyone hopes to never have to deal with. If you find yourself with a broken water main, what can you do?
The most common issue that happens with water mains is a burst pipe. The cause is dependent on a few factors, one of which is the type of pipe that your water main is. Types of pipe include:
Galvanised – These are generally from the 1920s and usually very corroded. They can result in poor water flow as well as a bad taste in the water, and are known to burst. It will probably need to replaced. It is very unlikely that we will repair a 90 year old pipe, it is uneconomical and will more than likely cause you issues again in the future.
Copper – The best thing about copper mains is they are easy to replace. Copper has long been used as water pipe because it is durable, offers good corrosion resistance, easy to bend and malleable, self supporting and offer good water flow characteristics. Copper can also be recycled.
Plastic – Becoming more common, there are a lot of plastic water mains that are coming to the end of their lives. This is mostly due to older plastic piping being made from hard polyethylene, which is susceptible to pinholing or splitting. There are various types of plastic pipe including polybutylene, polypropylenem uPVC and polyethylene.
Why do water mains split or burst?
There are two main reasons that would cause a water main to split. These are installation and backfill.
When a pipe is installed, it is vital that the pipe was not kinked or bent so that it would cause a crease in the pipe. It it did get a kink, after 20 years of ground vibration from the water running over this ridge, the ground movement from traffic and the expansion and contraction of the soil during the different seasons will cause enough movement for the pipe to split.
If the backfill around the pipe contains stones or rocks and one finds itself resting against the pipe, this can cause a little nick which, with enough ground movement this will cause a pin hole or split in the pipe.
Repair or replacement?
Once you have the leak, the question will now be do your repair your water main or replace it? The best option here will be given to you by the drainage expert in this situation who is investigating your leak. If the water main is a simple job, we may well advise a replacement, as sometimes this can work out cheaper than locating the leak and repairing that section. This will depend on each individual job.
This is a water main that we recently had to do for a customer. Their old water main was copper but was causing them issues with leaks so they decided to wanted to replace the whole pipe with PE (Polyethylene) pipe. The job involved redirecting the water main to their house and installing a T for a garden house tap.
Are you having issues with your water main? Get in contact with us today and get it fixed now! We offer emergency work if you have a leak in your water main.