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How To Fix PVC Water Pipe In The Ground
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How to Fix PVC Water Pipe In the Ground

A very common scenario in warm climates is to find water bubbling up in the yard. This is caused by a PVC water pipe leaking and surfacing. In areas such a Arizona, water pipe is not buried real deep and leaking water surfaces quickly. This article discusses how to fix PVC water pipe correctly and easily.

When a wet spot is found on the ground, we first need to dig the area up and expose the cause. You will need to shutoff the water while digging, and possibly turn off and on again to find the leak exactly. Once you have an eye on the leaking pipe, determine exactly what material and size the pipe is. If it is PVC water pipe, this can be repaired using some compression fittings called Smith Blair couplings.

Dig the area around the PVC pipe. I like to over dig the area underneath the pipe so that any water in the pipe has a place to go. Confirm the water supply is shutoff and use a saw to cut the broken section of pipe out. The remaining water will drain out; avoid getting dirt in the open pipe. Clean both sides of the pipe, inspect for further damage or weakness. Also check to see if the two ends of pipe are level with each other. Sometimes PVC pipe can become strained due to ground movement and the two ends are at different elevations. If this is the case, you will need to accommodate for these different elevations and rework the pipe with fittings to accommodate for this difference. Assuming that that two ends are fairly level with each other and the pipe is in good condition you can precede to the next step.

To make this repair you will need two Smith Blair compression couplings that match the diameter of the PVC pipe. Smith Blair couplings are metal bodied compressions sleeves that use bolts to apply pressure on gaskets and make a seal. They are similar in theory to those cheap PVC repair couplings you find at hardware stores. The difference is that these actually work; they are heavy duty steel and stand up to extreme conditions. This types of repair coupling can be found at plumbing supply stores, and depending on the size can cost $30-70 each.

Once you have the two necessary couplings, disassemble and loosely install onto the existing pipe. Cut a new section of PVC pipe to replace the defective section that was cut out. Install the remaining repair coupling gaskets and hardware; position your new section of pipe in place. Connect all of the hardware for the couplings, align your pipe so that everything fits, and start tightening down the coupling hardware. Once the hardware is nice and tight you are ready to turn the water on and check for leaks.

The cool thing about using these PVC repair couplings is that a guy can make a repair with out having the pipe being completely water free. In order to repair a line with glue and fittings no water can be present, which there usually is. So this speeds everything up and makes life easier. PVC is also the same dimensions as traditional iron pipe, so you can you these to repair a leaking steel water line as well, and bridge the pipe gap with some new PVC pipe. Another neat trick is that gaskets are available for the Smith Blair fitting to use with copper pipe also. So if you have a copper pipe leaking, you could use these gaskets and make the same repair we have talked about. These types of couplings are a great asset and can really help, get the job done. Good luck


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