Toledo Talk

Replace Waterline from Street to House

I'm looking for anyone's $0.02 who may have had to have this done in the fairly recent past. I had a plumber out Saturday to repair a leaking copper pipe joint between where the water supply enters the house but before the meter which, of course, called for me to have to dig up the yard to find the shutoff by the street. Thought my previous notes were valid as to the location but my yard ended looking like the golf course scene in Caddyshack when Bill Murray is trying to eliminate the gopher. Oh well, its only dirt and sod.

My bigger issue is that the plumber discovered that the copper supply line entering the house - through the concrete foundation - is being "eaten" away by the concrete. Not surprising since my home is going on 60 years old. So, we're looking at about a $3,000 fix which involves trenching the yard, possibly breaking up a section of sidewalk and driveway - which would drive the full repair cost much higher. I asked the plumber if technology exists that would allow a plastic/pvc/vinyl line to be inserted through the existing copper. He said none that he knows of. While I have no expertise in this area, it seems to me that such a fix would exist. I am about to schedule a few plumbing companies to come take a look and give me an estimate and, hopefully, some options. Has anyone been through this? Have any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

I should add that we've been paying Columbia Gas $3.50/month forever for their water and sewer line maintenance plan - not sure they still offer this. So, I'm going to call them and see if there's any $$ help even though we've not had an "event". My guess is no but it is worth the call. The bigger "event" would be if the sucker lets go and floods our finished basement. In addition to whatever Columbia might then cough up for the repair of the line, we'd end up with a $50 to $100K homeowner claim - not to mention a really bad situation.

created by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 08:46:38 am     Comments: 14

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I've never heard of such a solution. It's likely your supply line is only 3/4". After something is inserted into it, the size of the line would be cut down substantially. $3,000 sounds like a lot, but I've never seen the situation, so it's hard to judge.

Why can't they just replace the section that is going through the foundation?

I'd get a few more estimates from local plumbing contractors.

posted by slowsol on Jun 16, 2014 at 09:27:56 am     #  

I understand that the "flow" would be reduced but I'd be ok with that vs. tearing up driveway, sidewalks and yard which would all result in additional expense beyond the plumbing issue. I have no idea if city code would allow for a "partial" line replacement. Maybe, maybe not - that I would have to investigate. However, by the time I'd pay to have them bring in the excavation equipment and dig down to the point where the supply line enters the foundation, may just as well replace the entire line and be done with it. I can well imagine that disturbing a 60 year old underground waterline without replacing it would be asking for future trouble.
As for other contractors, I intend to have as many out that will show up - which is always the big "if" when it comes to plumbers. That said, I've used Ben Franklin for years. While they may be a bit pricier, they are ALWAYS there when they say they will be and ALWAYS do the job correctly the first time.

posted by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:07:46 am     #  

Foodie, I think there is a trenchless alternative that doesn't place a smaller pipe inside the old, but "slits" the old pipe, making room for an appropriate sized replacement but reducing the digging. They feed a cable into the line, and then draw the slitter back through it, opening it up. I agree with slowsol, call around.

posted by justread on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:13:15 am     #  

There's a local guy that might be able to help...

Google "innovaliner

Good luck

posted by wahhutch9 on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:36:41 am     #  

I understand that the "flow" would be reduced but I'd be ok with that vs. tearing up driveway, sidewalks and yard which would all result in additional expense beyond the plumbing issue. I have no idea if city code would allow for a "partial" line replacement. Maybe, maybe not - that I would have to investigate. However, by the time I'd pay to have them bring in the excavation equipment and dig down to the point where the supply line enters the foundation, may just as well replace the entire line and be done with it. I can well imagine that disturbing a 60 year old underground waterline without replacing it would be asking for future trouble.
As for other contractors, I intend to have as many out that will show up - which is always the big "if" when it comes to plumbers. That said, I've used Ben Franklin for years. While they may be a bit pricier, they are ALWAYS there when they say they will be and ALWAYS do the job correctly the first time.

posted by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:36:54 am     #  

Sorry for the double post........

posted by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:37:47 am     #  

wahhutch9 posted at 10:36:41 AM on Jun 16, 2014:

There's a local guy that might be able to help...

Google "innovaliner

Good luck

Thanks wahutch9. Looks like the smallest water line diameter they do is 2" but I'll give them a call anyway.

Is this the company that began the sewer infrastructure repair in Toledo?

posted by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:44:42 am     #  

Maybe I'm interpreting this wrong. You could easily hand dig the dirt away from the house foundation to expose the line on any house I've ever worked on or lived in. You only need a small section exposed at the foundation. At worst, they can trench the line, which creates minimal yard disturbance. But again, I've never seen it so maybe your situation is different.

posted by slowsol on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:04:20 am     #  

The waterline enters the foundation on the driveway side of the home which abuts the house. Concrete section of driveway would have to be destroyed/replaced before one could dig down to it. Even if the line was re-routed to the front side (facing street and city shut off valve) the gas meter and gas supply line are at that point - between a sidewalk and the front of the house - very limited area to work in.

No, this is a job I will leave to the pros - just hoping to find one who can do the job as justread described. I found that technique on the web after reading his post. You are 100% correct in describing the technique justread - thank you.

posted by Foodie on Jun 16, 2014 at 12:24:07 pm     #  

I'm very happy to tell you that we chose Alternative Plumbing to do the job which was started and finished yesterday. I can't say enough about the great job they did. They used a directional boring machine from the curb to the house and punched through the front of the (12 inch thick!!) foundation EXACTLY where it needed to be. A pretty amazing feat considering the target area is only about 18" wide - all while avoiding the gas line, electrical line and my irrigation system lines.

And they did the complete job for less than half what others wanted. Frankly, I don't know how they could afford to roll all the necessary equipment to our house for the price they charged but it is pretty obvious they have this down to a science.

HIGHLY recommend them if you ever find you need to have this done.

posted by Foodie on Jun 26, 2014 at 09:17:58 am     #  

Thanks Foodie.

We have city water available at the street, but we have yet to tap into it ( hey, our well water is free), but we're really not sure who to call for an estimate to do the work (last time we checked a few years ago, average estimate was about $2000.00 for the plumbing, plus the county permit fees- yikes) .

We are thinking very seriously about just going ahead and getting it done this fall.

I will be sure to call Alternative Plumbing for an estimate. Thanks.

posted by foodie88 on Jun 26, 2014 at 02:15:23 pm     #  

Sorry, meant to say that once we were ready, we weren't sure who to actually have do the work ( The estimates in the past were all very competitive with each other ).

posted by foodie88 on Jun 26, 2014 at 02:21:29 pm     #  

foodie88:

I had a total of four estimates. Three were nearly identical at the $5k mark. Alternative's was less than half the others. One (not Alternative) actually listed the permit fee on the estimate as "$200.20". I found out the actual City of Toledo permit fee is $40 and is obtained online by the contractor.

I am surprised that the city/county hasn't forced you to tap in to the city water.

Good luck with your project when the time comes.

posted by Foodie on Jun 26, 2014 at 03:04:01 pm     #  

We are in Sylvania Township, and from what I am told, they don't push the issue. Well, we've been here 14 years, and we have several neighbors who have been here even longer and haven't tapped in yet, so it must be true.

I think about how much money I've spent over the years on water softeners, salt, pump repairs, etc , even at the cost to tap in, tapping in probably would have paid for itself by now. Oh well.

posted by foodie88 on Jun 26, 2014 at 03:10:27 pm     #