broken pipe to well – working in a hole?

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    • #277508
      ronjk

      I’ve got a broken pipe and I’m not sure how to proceed.

      The line from my well is a black plastic pipe running (obviously) underground. Under the house (no basement) it comes up inside an approx. 12″ diameter concrete tube. When I started, all I could see is the 1/2″ copper pipe coming out of the soil in the 12″ tube about 12″ below ground level. After much struggle I dug it out to expose the connection to the plastic pipe about 3′ down. I can see the threaded fitting sweated onto the copper and the hose clamp on the plastic pipe holding the (I presume) barbed fitting, but it’s just out of reach. The break in the copper pipe is just above the fitting. Trying to use a basin wrench on the hex fitting just makes the barbed fitting spin in the plastic pipe.

      I assume this must not be a unique problem, so somebody has probably figured out tools or procedures to deal with this. The ground outside is frozen, so excavating to get at it from the side would be a major hassle (and expense).

      Any suggestions?

    • #296412
      AKPlumber
      Participant

      Bad news. I would’nt know how to do this if it’s that out of reach except to dig. Bad luck that it was plumbed that way…..anything under ground level ought to be solid line with no breaks (unions or unthreaded fittings) if plastic or “silver soldered” if copper.
      Hopefully someone can be of more help.

    • #296413
      Dana
      Participant

      Yes, the guy who built the house was a moron (don’t ask about the electrical system!)… though maybe I was a bigger moron for buying it, oh well. It’s even worse in that the water is acidic, corroding the copper… which made burying a copper pipe an even worse idea.

      It occurrs that heating the copper pipe (not enough to melt the solder) might loosen it in the fitting (at least I assume it’s a plastic fitting) enough to unscrew it even if I can’t reach the fitting itself… what do you think?

    • #296414
      Retired plbg1
      Participant

      What you have is male adapter with a female barbed fitting, If you have water in pipe you will never heat it. The only thing I see is break up floor enough to get down to the leak. Good luck let us know how it turns out.



      Art retired plbg

    • #296415
      Dana
      Participant

      Having cleaned it up a little more, it looks like I have a female-female adapter, presumably bronze or iron, at the bottom of the copper pipe, so it’s probably a male thread on the barb fitting. Assuming the barb fitting is plastic, I’m hoping I can heat the adapter enough to break it loose from the plastic fitting… if not with a heat gun then with a torch. Failing that, perhaps I can loosen the hose clamp and heat the plastic pipe enough to pull the barb fitting out.

      -Dana

    • #296416
      Retired plbg1
      Participant

      If the water is out and the pvc is heated enough you might pull it out and bend copper up enough to fix it good luck. They make repair clamps for copper if you want to go that way, might try box store.



      Art retired plbg

    • #296417
      Dana
      Participant

      Thanks to all who made suggestions… I got it. The copper pipe was so far gone that it easily broke off, then a socket with four extensions reached the hex. A bit of heat and I was able to turn it (the barbed fitting turned in the PE pipe). A vise grip got a grip on the shreds of copper, a bit more heat and it came right out. After that I was home free, a new assembly (all plastic this time! ) and I’m back in business.

      Took a soup ladle (I’m not kidding!) to dig it out… I’m gonna fill the hole with insulation and make a plywood cover, I don’t ever want to go through that again!

      -Dana

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