How to Repair PVC Pipe in the Ground

It’s a nice summer day and you go to sit in your favorite chair in the yard to enjoy your morning coffee. All of a sudden, the chair you are in starts sinking in the ground! You look down and your feet are surrounded by water! It hasn’t rained in a week and the sprinklers don’t produce this much water. What could be happening? It sounds like there is a leak or break in the Polyvinyl Chloride pipes or (PVC).

This type of piping material is commonly used in the yard as drain, vent, and waste piping. Even though they are known for their durability, they can leak or break. Are you wondering how to repair PVC pipe in the ground? There are a few ways: Using fiberglass resin tape or cloth, tape made of rubber and silicone, epoxy, hose clamps and rubber tape, or just by replacing the pipe.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know how to repair PVC pipe in the ground. finding the leak, materials to use, before repairing or replacing, steps to do this, other areas to check, and when to call a professional.

Why You Need to Know How to Repair PVC Pipe in the Ground

As mentioned above, PVC pipe is often in the yard for drains, vents and waste piping. It doesn’t rust and is very durable. If you know how to repair PVC pipe in the ground, you can save yourself a lot of money. Some fixes may be easy and minor, while some may require replacing the pipe or contacting a professional. It will depend on how big the leak or crack is, but it is always worth trying to fix it first before replacing, if possible.

water meter

Finding the Leak

Not sure if you have a water leak underground? Here are some things to do first:

  1. Find the water meter – it is usually outside, on the ground near the driveway, and under a heavy lid.
  2. Use the shut-off valve and turn off all the water.  The shut-off valve may be in the basement or front or corner of your home.
  3. Turn off all faucets in the home
  4. Mark the rim of the gauge in the water meter
  5. Leave shut off for 30 min and see if the needle has moved.  If yes, call a home inspector to find possible areas of leaking.
sewer scope camera

Sewer Issue

Is it possible it is a problem with the sewer instead? Sure can be! If the inspector doesn’t think it is the PVC pipe, it may be a sewer issue. Thus, the inspector can use a sewer scope camera to do an inspection . If there are any thoughts it can be one or the other, an inspection is needed.

If it turns out it is an issue with the PVC pipe, you can decide to try to fix it. Here are some ways to repair or replace.

Materials to Repair or Replace the PVC Pipe in the Ground

Fiberglass Resin Tape or Cloth Can Repair PVC Pipe in the Ground

If it is a small leak, you can first try using fiberglass resin tape or cloth to fix the pipe. If you choose the tape, it will buy you some time to get the cloth or a full replacement. To do this, clean the area of the pipe first with a damp rag. Then, wrap the tape around the pipe and let it harden for 15 minutes. The tape must be wet for this to work.

resin tape

Do you want something more permanent? Try using resin cloth. To do this, use sandpaper and sand the surface to create a surface that is more adhesive. Put the resin cloth over the break and cure the resin by putting it in the sun or using a UV light.

Rubber and silicone repair kit

Rubber and Silicone Repair Tape

If you have a minor leak, rubber and silicone repair tape can help. Like fiberglass resin tape, rubber and silicone tape comes in a roll and it can be wrapped directly around the PVC pipe. However, instead of adhering to the pipe, the repair tape adheres directly to itself.

To fix damage to a PVC pipe, wrap the tape around where the leak is. Cover a little bit to the sides of the affected area. The compression will fix the leak, so ensure that the wrap is tight and secure before using the pipes again.

hose clamps

Rubber Tape and Hose Clamp

Similar to rubber and silicone repair tape, rubber tape and hose clamps also uses compression to repair small leaks in PVC pipes. However, it is a temporary fix as the tape and clamps won’t be able to do their job anymore as the leak grows. To do this, wrap rubber around the damaged area and then separate the hose clamps. Then, place the clamps around the affected area and tighten. This should slow the leak or stop it. Remember, this is only a temporary fix. I

glue for PVC pipe

Epoxy Can Repair PVC Pipe in the Ground

Another way to fix the PVC pipe is with epoxy. This type of epoxy is a putty or liquid that can repair leaks. Start by cleaning and drying the area and make sure water can’t get near it. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for mixing the putty or liquid. Next, apply the epoxy and give it about 10 minutes to cure. When this is done, let water into the pipe and see if there are any leaks.

Before Repairing or Replacing the PVC Pipe in the Ground

Sometimes the best thing to do – or only thing- is to replace the pipes. However, you want to make sure that you do a few things first.

  1. Check with a professional to see if this is necessary
  2. Gather your supplies together- correct size PVC pipe for replacement, hacksaw or ratchet cutter, clean cloth, PVC primer solvent, glue for PVC pipes and of course a shovel (unless the area is already exposed).

Steps to Repairing or Replacing the PVC Pipe in the Ground

  1. Turn off the water as mentioned at the beginning of this article
  2. Using a ratchet cutter or hacksaw, cut the pipe about 1 inch to the left and right of the damaged area
  3. Let excess water drain out and dry it with a cloth
  4. Dry-fit the replacement pipe in the hole and make sure the fitting of the pipe is properly secured. Here is an article that shows how to do this.
  5. Use PVC primer solvent and apply to the inside of the replacement pipe’s fittings and to the outside of the existing pipe.
  6. Then, apply glue for the PVC pipe to the existing, exposed PVC pipe and around the inside of the replacement fitting.
  7. Insert the existing pipe into the replacement fittings, and use a twisting motion to get the pipe to fit.
  8. Hold the pipe firmly for 10 seconds to ensure a strong bond as the glue dries. Let it set for 2 hours
  9. Turn the water main back on and test the line to ensure the sealant has set. This is also to check that there are no other leaks and run the system for 20 minutes.
  10. Once you have tested the line and all works well, cover it back up with the dirt.

Here is a great video that shows how to fix the PVC pipe with a small hole on your own:

If the thought of doing this on your own worries you, you can call a professional to fix it.

After you replace the pipe, take a look around the surrounding area of soil for what may have caused the damage to the pipe. Was it a tree or plant root? If yes, cut the root entirely around the piping. If possible, transplant the tree or plant to avoid future issues.

Other Areas to Check

Sprinkler System– if the sprinkler won’t turn on, this will also signal there is a leak underground or there is an issue with the well. This will depend on where the sprinkler hooks up. Take the time during maintenance to clean the sprinkler heads and replace any damaged valves.

Landscaping– water can puddle in the yard due to many things but it is important to keep it away from the home. One way to do this is by landscaping and adding bushes, plants, palm trees, or even decorative stone.

Vinyl Siding- Check the vinyl siding on the home as part of your home maintenance. You may have water issues in the yard when a pipe breaks, but if the siding is warping on the house, water will get inside the home as well. You don’t want that to happen so keep an eye on the siding. Also, if the siding is warping, bugs and other animals can get inside the home.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you have water pooling in the yard and not sure what is causing it. Another reason is if you know a pipe is broken, but you aren’t sure where it is or if you can fix it yourself. Pipes are an important part of the plumbing system so unless you know what you are doing, a professional would be a better choice.

Conclusion

Just like we don’t want the air conditioning to go out here in Florida, we also don’t want pipes to break. However, unfortunately, it happens. Keep an eye in your yard on where you plant trees and other plants to make sure they are not growing into the pipes. Also, when you notice water starting to pool, take note of it and start researching what is causing it. Finding out earlier is better than later. Lastly, PVC pipe is very durable and a great material to use for pipes in the yard and thankfully is repairable most of the time. Waypoint Property Inspection East can inspect your pipes during a home inspection.

Disadvantages of Pex Plumbing

PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material and is popular, along with copper, as a choice for piping in homes and for potable water. Problems with lead pipes and other materials led to many people choosing PEX over others. PEX has a lot of advantages such as 60% cheaper than copper for projects and it is flexible. Unfortunately, as with most things there are disadvantages.

What are the disadvantages of PEX plumbing? Since it is a plastic material, rodents seem to like to chew on it. Also, it can’t be used outdoors because it doesn’t like the UV rays or the cold weather, as well as it can’t be recycled (although you can paint the portions that are exposed to sunlight). Additionally, it cannot be connected directly to a water heater and must have a copper line to attach itself to.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know about these pipes, the advantages, the disadvantages, other options, maintenance, and when to call a professional.

Why Knowing About the Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing is Important

In life, we have a lot of choices to make. Some of them are related to our home, while others may be what we want to buy at the grocery store or what kind of car we want to drive. However, when it comes to piping inside the home, there are choices.

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular are copper and PEX. If you are looking for outdoor plumbing or worried about rodents getting a hold of your pipes, then PEX is not for you. We will discuss the advantages but also disadvantages of PEX plumbing and then you can decide for yourself what is best for you.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

There are several advantages to PEX plumbing. Let’s take a look:

1. Adaptable and Easy to Use

It is a flexible material that can be used in long pipe runs, doesn’t require as many fittings as other pipes, and can make 90 degree turns without elbow fittings. It also has an advantage over rigid plumbing in that if there are freezing temperatures, then the pipes can expand and making it less likely to burst. Many new home construction and existing home contractors like this material to use. It can even be used in the exterior of a home that is cold if it has foam insulation wrapped around it.

2. PEX Connection is Easier

PEX can be connected easier than copper or PVC. While copper requires soldering and PVC requires glue, PEX uses a crimping tool.

Shut off valve on PEX

3. PEX Has a Shut Off Valve and More Resistant to Chemicals

Another advantage of PEX is the material is less likely to corrode from a humid environment. Unlike copper, which can corrode in salty environments and eventually leak.

4. Lead Free and Can Be Used in Hot and Cold Water

Not only is PEX lead-free, but it has the ability to be used in hot and cold water. Other materials don’t always perform well in both temperatures of water. Additionally, it can have an adapter attached to it to connect to the existing copper or PVC pipe.

Mouse in a pipe

Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing

As the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to talk about these.

1. The Material Does Not Work Outside in Freezing Temperature Climates

PEX plumbing is fine inside the walls of a home, no matter the temperatures as it can be covered with insulation. However, one of the disadvantages of PEX plumbing is it cannot be used outdoors in cold climates as there is no way to cover them and protect them from freezing temperatures.

2. Rodents Like the Plastic Pipes

Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may have a rule that says you can’t use PEX pipes. This is often seen in rural areas or in cities as trash around the city can lead to a large number of rodents.

The rodents then look for ways into a home and often chew through pipes like these. The good thing is you can call a professional to get rid of rodents before they cause too much damage. This is something to think about if there is a problem in your area.

3. Some Pex Types Have Had Issues

It is not entirely confirmed yet, but some professionals do not like Pex as it too closely resembles polybutylene. Ultimately, Pex is still relatively new so it has some time to officially prove itself as reputable piping.

Copper pipes

Other Options for Materials: Copper Pipes and CPVC

Copper and PEX are the two most popular materials for pipes, but ranking up there too is CPVC.

Here is a great video that compares Copper, PEX, and CPVC

Copper Pipes

Fifty to seventy years is a long time for pipes, but copper pipes can last that long, depending on the type of pipe. There are three types: Type K, L, M. Type L is used in residential homes and is more cost-effective than the other two. It has medium thickness and best for carrying drinking water. Also, it is highly recommended by plumbers and perfect for residential homes. Lastly, it also can last sometimes up to 100 years in ideal conditions.

There are two types of copper pipes:

Rigid Copper– this is a material that is used for the water supply in a house or building. It is cut into pieces and can be soldered together.

Flexible Copper Tubing – it is malleable, used in short runs, and is flexible.

Copper Versus PEX

Copper is different than PEX in that the pipe material can be recycled. However, the disadvantages are that it is expensive. This type of material costs about $285 for 100 feet of piping compared to PEX which is $30 per 100 feet. That is a big difference in price!

CPVC

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride also known as CPVC is a lot like PVC except that CPVC is chlorinated and allows it to be able to deal with the extreme hot and cold temperatures that PVC cannot.

CPVC has a long life, is easy to use, and cheaper than copper at $1.24 per foot. It can also tolerate up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the temperature of the water. The only negative is it is not flexible like Pex.

water leak in ceiling

Maintenance Around the House

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchen so when you are in there, check to see if there is a leaking kitchen sink drain. Often we don’t know unless we hear water or we reach under the sink and there is a puddle or the cleaning supplies are wet.

Check around the home for water leaks in the wall. If you see wet spots or mold or mildew or hear water running, you may have a water leak and need to call a professional.

Take a look at your homeowner’s inspection report to see what type of pipes you have. If they are polybutylene, then you need to replace the pipes. These will wear out quickly and cause leaks or they will burst.

Consult your water bill and check your yard for any signs of leaky pipes. Signs would be your bill is higher than usual, also that there may be cracked pavement or sinkholes.

Go over to your water heater and flush it every six months to make sure it stays clean. You will also want to adjust the temperature and reset.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you have questions about the type of pipes to use, what kind you have in your home or any other issues. They know what will work well in the home. If you hire someone with experience and has the credentials, the pipes should be installed correctly.

Conclusion

Knowing about the piping in your home is important. You want to know what what you have or plan to get is appropriate for where you live. Talk to a professional for recommendations. Waypoint Property Inspection East will inspect your plumbing system during your home inspection in South Florida and Boca Raton, FL.

Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain: How to Fix It

We use the kitchen sink all the time from putting water in a pot to washing dishes and hands to throwing away food particles. It is always in use. Noticing that the kitchen sink drain is leaking can be frustrating and instantly you are thinking, how much will this cost me.

Do you see water and are wondering why do I see a leaking kitchen sink drain? There are 7 different areas you can check and try before calling a professional. Those are: under the drain for a leak, the faucet, a loose connection under the sink, clogged P-trap, damaged O- ring, washers that are worn out, or a corroded valve seat.

Let’s take a look at why knowing the reason the kitchen sink drain is leaking is important, how to find the reasons why it is leaking, other maintenance, and when to call a professional.

You Need to Know Why Fixing a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain is Important

As mentioned above, the kitchen is a popular place in the home. The sink in the kitchen is always in use so a homeowner will usually notice if there is an issue such as a leak. You want to get this fixed right away before there is expensive and possibly irreparrable damage. This is one of many reasons why it is important to fix it right away so you can continue to utilize the kitchen and the sink.

Reasons Why You May Have a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain

Worn out Putty on the Drain

This often is too thin or worn out and needs replacing. If you put the stopper or drain cover in the drain and fill the sink with water, then add a few drops of food coloring. This will allow you to see where the leak could be coming from. Then, take the drain or stopper out and look under the sink with a flashlight to see if there is a leak.

How to fix it: Replace the putty. If you need to replace the sink drain, that will be difficult and you may need a professional to help.

Leak at the Faucet

You may notice puddles around the faucet when the sink is turned on. If you do, this may be where the leak is. If you don’t see water by the faucet, then check underneath the sink.

How to fix it: Usually this means that you have gaskets that are worn out or failed washers. These can be easily replaced.

Loose water supply connection

Loose Water Supply Connection

If it is a constant leak, it could be an issue in the water supply as sometimes it can spring a leak. There are two water supply connections and you may not notice water leaking unless you look under the sink and the cabinet is soaking or there are wet objects.

How to fix it: Replace the gasket or tighten the connections and coupling nuts

The P trap is clogged

The P-Trap is Clogged

The P trap is under the sink and is curved at the bottom. It prevents the gases from coming up and out of the drain. Over time, debris that goes into the sink will fill this up and cause it to leak. Since it is under the sink, it is often difficult to know right away that this has a leak.

How to fix it: Clean out the P-trap or replace it if there is corrosion from metal parts. There is a P trap also in the bathroom sink. If either one becomes dry, then the sewer gases can escape. It is important to keep it unclogged so this doesn’t happen. Did you notice that there is no P trap and it is an S trap instead? If yes, then you need to contact a plumber and switch it out for you!

O-Ring Wears Out

The O-ring holds the stem of the faucet on and can wear out, thus causing leaking to occur near the handle.

How to fix it: Replacing the O-ring should fix the problem.

Worn Out Washer Can Cause a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain

Most common reason for a sink to leak. The washers push against the valve seat every time the faucet turns on, thus wearing it out quickly.

How to fix it: Replace the washers

Corroding of the Valve Seat

This is the part that connects the spout and faucet and it can corrode because of water at the valve seat and spring a leak.

How to fix it: clean the valve seat regularly.

Interested in fixing the kitchen sink drain on your own? Here is a video on how to do that. If it is too much for you, reach out to a professional

Other Maintenance

Dishwasher Hose

While you are under the sink, make sure your dishwasher drain hose is not too long. If it is, tie it as a high loop. It needs to be higher than the water level of the dishwasher to prevent water from back flowing into the dishwasher.

Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal can last 10-15 years if you are using it properly and only putting items that are biodegradable in there. Non-food items, nuts, citrus etc. all go in the trashcan and stay out of the garbage disposal. You may find that when you are under the sink there is water coming from the garbage disposal. This would be due to worn out gaskets, loose screws or drain line connections.

Check the Water

It is a good time to check the water to make sure it isn’t cloudy and doesn’t smell. If it is, it could be due to having a well, sediment, or water in the lines. Sometimes even a change in temperature can cause this.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you are not sure why the kitchen sink drain is leaking. It can be a number of reasons and may be difficult to figure out. Also, they are trained to help you in diagnosis and also in replacement, if needed.

Conclusion

The kitchen is a well-used part of the home and you want everything to be working correctly. We will look at the kitchen sink during our home inspections in Boca Raton and surrounding areas. Think you might need our services? Comment below!

Why You Need a Sewer Scope Inspection

When we walk into the yard of a home, we have no idea what is happening underground. A sewer scope inspection is a great way to see if there are any issues. These inspections run about $150-275. Using a specialized camera, a professional can tell you if there are any issues, and hopefully tell you early before it is too expensive.  Let’s take a look at why this is important, what it is, signs it is necessary, risks of not doing one, and cast iron drain lawsuits.

Why this is important

Sewer lines are underground and not anything we can see without a specialized camera.  It is one of the most costly repairs on a home, ranging from $250-300 per foot of repaired line.  That is a lot! Unfortunately, the sewer line is something that is in use every day in the home and it is important to keep it functioning properly.

What is a Sewer Scope Inspection

A sewer scope inspection involves a home inspector taking a specialized camera and running it through the sewer to look at the sewer line.  The sewer line connects the house and foundation to the city sewer line or HOA tap.  The images that the camera pulls up, show on a monitor.  This will show the inspector what the line looks like, as well as if there are any cracks, broken line, or obstructions. How long does this take?  About an hour, so not too long.

Here Are a Few Signs You Need a Sewer Scope Inspection:

1. You see lush patches or extra green grass

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean someone painted your grass for you, but could perhaps be a sewer leak contributing to it.  Sewer water that leaks out fertilizes the grass and causes this to happen.  It makes it an easy sign to look for when you are walking around the yard of the home you are thinking about purchasing. 

2. Large trees in the yard

Depending on where you are looking for a home, you could be blessed with large trees in the yard.  However, these can be a curse instead of a blessing and more of a reason to have a sewer scope inspection done.  Unfortunately, these tall trees have roots that can grow into the sewer line or wrap around it and break it.  A sewer scope can pick this up to see if it is indeed going on.

3. Home is more than 25 years old

It is nice when you can find a home that is this old, as they have character and look great.  However, be careful about pipes that were made of clay in homes built before and in 1984.  The clay pipes are easily crushed and need to be examined to make sure they are not cracked or broken.  If your home does not have the clay pipes, maybe it has copper?  Look at the home inspection report to see what type of material your pipes are made of.  Even if they are copper pipes, they don’t last forever and inspection and/ or replacing are needed.

4. Water backing up in the home

When this happens, it could be a clog in the drain or it could be an issue with the sewer. You might think that the city should be responsible for the sewer line, but they aren’t – except for the main sewer line.  This starts past your property boundariesUnfortunately, the homeowner is responsible for the lower and upper lateral lines, which are the other parts of the sewer line on the owner’s property.  Call a professional to do a proper diagnosis.

5. Shifting or movement of the ground

This is also another sign that there is a problem with the sewer. Unfortunately, moving soil or ground can also open up a sinkhole.  If you see this, you will want to have a professional come out right away.

The inspector will look for the following in a sewer scope inspection:

  1. The type of material that makes up the pipes.
  2. Any cracks or damage to the lines
  3. Tree roots growing through the lines
  4. Damage or issues to the septic (if there is one on the property)

Once the sewer scope inspection is done, the professional makes a report for you about the findings.  If you are buying a home, this report will be made to the seller’s realtor.  If issues are found, you will need to discuss them with the realtor.

Here is an example of one our Sewer Scope Inspections

Risks of Not Doing a Sewer Scope Inspection

You risk having issues in the home that could be costly later.  Also, you risk buying a home that may have high repair costs just waiting for you.  It is better to have the inspection done than to regret not doing it later.

Cast iron drain lawsuits
Cast iron drains

Cast Iron Drain Lawsuits

These drains were used in homes built before 1975 and in optimal weather climates, last about 50-75 years. However, many of these drains are failing and causing damage, especially in the southern states.  The insurance companies say it is “wear and tear” so they don’t give the homeowner much for the repair and won’t insure or replace them.  Morgan and Morgan have been helping homeowners with getting what they deserve in lawsuits as the insurance companies are not insuring what is under the slab and what is not visible.

What if Cast Iron Drains Are Not Replaced?

  1. Damage to the home and yard with puddles and leaking sewage
  2. Clogging of sinks and toilets
  3. Health and safety risks with animals in the lines and contaminated water in the home
Order a sewer scope inspection even when buying a new home
Sewer scope camera and inspection

Order a Sewer Scope Inspection Even When Buying a New home

It is a good idea to think about a sewer scope inspection when you are purchasing a new home.  You may be thinking that sounds unnecessary- new home, clean line.  However, new homes are built very quickly and often have drain line issues.  You have no idea sometimes what ends up in the drain lines, or what someone puts in the drain lines until you have a clog in the pipes in your home.

It is not part of a home inspection but you can often add it on and bundle for a better price.  It never hurts to ask the home inspection company as they will be the ones doing the home inspection and sewer scope inspection.

Conclusion

A sewer scope gives you peace of mind and also allows you to know what is going on in the home.  The camera is amazing and as mentioned above, will show you everything going on in the sewer system. Most people would say that they would rather have the knowledge early on about potential issues and fix them than let it go on too long and be higher repairs later.  If you have questions about sewer scope inspections or the sewer lines, leave us a reply below so we can help, or learn more about our sewer scope inspections.