of Montpelier Hills Residents Replacing Polybutylene Yard Lines
From: jim straw [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: [MHI] Question about pipe replacement
I have attempted to summarize my experience with pipe replacement, the
feedback I got from others, and what I've found snooping around the
archives of this list.
The vast majority responded with their experience with Gathers burg
Plumbing. The typical cost seems to have risen steadily over the
years to about $2000-$2200 now A few in the last 1-2 years were in the
$1500-$1700 range and my cost was in the low-mid range $1750.
Since the vast majority of recommendations were Gaithersburg, and the
days until WSSC would shut my
water off were ticking away, I was inclined to go with them. I was
somewhat worried about a less experienced crew causing new problems:
problems with rainwater drainage, crack the foundation, alligators in
the sewers (actually I’m not really sure what I was afraid of).
[See Polybutylene Pipe Break Survival Kit
The whole procedure took about 2-2.5 hours once they started, and was
kind of fun to watch from my window.
The shape of the yard is about what I expected. A few scratches
on the the road/sidewalk. The sidewalk’s temporary patch concrete
was torn up.
The two guys Gathers burg sent seemed to really know what they were
doing, and obviously had experience in the neighborhood, and they were
very pleasant to deal with. Initially the contract they had,
indicated the wrong price, but they corrected it, and charged to my
credit card. I’m pleased with the result, although I wish USAA
were paying for this and not me. They used the black pipe with
the pull-through method described in other accounts, and I think the
warranty is 6 months .
Blurbs from Other Residents:
(names removed to protect the innocent) [Some stories may not be
Gaithersburg Plumbing (410 or 301) 948-8856, who back in the day
replaced our PB yard line with black flexible PVC (ok) for $975 when
that was the maximum that the PB settlement would pay
[ See http://www.pbpipe.com/index1.htm ]
it depends on how much trenching they have to do. Last price: $1500
Quoted me $2200 or $2000 for 3 or more.
Try Gaithersburg Plumbing $1600 was the cost. Used Poly [sic] [*] ...
piping. Too soon to tell if I am satisfied.
My replacement was done last winter when there was still snow on the
ground; I had concerns about the
"finishing touches" 'was told that the dirt would settle with
time-it did; but, grass is difficult to grow in the clay areas.
I had the exact same problem exactly a year ago. I called around,
and Gaithersburg Plumbing gave me the best estimate. I paid
$2200.00, so $2000 is an extremely good deal. As WeeBay
said, they attached the new pipe to the old pipe inside the house and
then pulled the old pipe out so they did not have to dig a
trench. I would definitely recommend Gaithersburg Plumbing.
Robert Bookhultz Plumbing, John C. Flood Plumbing, or Joseph Heil
We dealt with Blue Dot to replace the Poly pipes from the street into
the house. They are extremely professional, reasonable, and responsive.
$1800 Blue Dot Services
Words to the wise, good price but, ask what quality of pipe are they
replacing. copper? or "black"
polybutylene [sic] [*] . Also ask how are they going to do it and have
written into your contract a "what if clause" that protects you in the
event structural damage may arise if they have to go another route than
they intended to replace the pipe. For example, a person' garage had to
be dug up in order to get to the pipe. Going through the garage was not
the original intended route.
Mine was a "pull-through" yard line replacement which required no
trenching, other than the big old hole they dug in my yard to get to
the yard valve. That hole was the most expensive part of the project.
One company quoted me $400 dollars less if I would dig the hole and
fill it back up myself -- but I let them dig the hole :-) Several years
ago the whole job cost about $1000, back when the Plumbing Claims Group
set the maximum price that they would pay under the settlement Since
the yard line part of that settlement expired a few years back (10
years after construction of our houses), local companies have wanted
more than $1000 to do most yard line replacements.
The ones who did my yard line replacement were Gaithersburg Plumbing
7851 Airpark Rd, Gaithersburg, 20879 - (301) 948-8856. They inserted a
long steel cable into the end of the PB yard line that was inside my
house and pulled that cable through the inside of the old PB Pipe till
it came out the end that was in my yard next to the yard valve. Then
they connected the other end of that steel cable (inside my house) to a
new (good) Black Plastic Pipe [not polybutylene]. Then they PULLED HARD
AND SLOW (with a back hoe, others use a truck) on the steel cable,
which pulled the new black pipe forward, which Pushed the old PB pipe
out of the ground in front of it, with the new black pipe following
into place behind the exiting PB pipe. This approach works best when
the original PB pipe run is fairly straight, with no sharp corners in
its path to the yard valve. That may be what Mr. Butler was describing,
because I'm not aware of any technique where the new pipe is installed
INSIDE the old pipe -- one reason being that the new pipe would have to
be so much smaller in diameter than the old pipe, and that would limit
the amount of water supplied. Now it is true that the under the house
slab, the old PB pipe (and newly installed good Black Plastic Pipe) are
run "inside" a large, roughly 3" x 4", rectangular black plastic conduit
called "elephant trunk" -- at least that is the case for most MH homes.
As for the choice of copper or black plastic for the replacement line:
My black plastic Replacement line has stood up well for several years
-- I'm not aware of any problems with the coounty approved black plastic
line. Ask Mr. Butler, but I understand that the county (at
one time at least) prohibited installation of copper line inside an
elephant trunk conduit. Even though the elephant trunk is plastic,
there are said to be some detrimental effects on the copper line if it
is run inside elephant trunk. So copper line would probably require new
trenching. Several years ago, I was quoted $50 extra materials
cost (only) for copper line instead of black plastic, but the
difference may be higher now. AND this county is not alone in having
problems with copper lines developing pin-hole leaks. See the links
about that on my MH NEWS
Web site: http://www.geocities.com/garolds/mh
I just had this work done about three weeks ago. I interviewed
three firms and settled on Gaithersburg Plumbing. They've done a number
of homes here, so many in fact that they didn't need to come out
the estimate in person. You're right - they have a very clever
technique where they attach a new pipe to the existing "blue pipe" and
then pull the new pipe to occupy the same channel as the old one.
Clean, quick, non-invasive. They were here four hours and much of
that time they spent talking to me just cause I was curious. When they
filled the hole, they tamped it down as they went (with a back-hoe) to
reduce settling. No trenches in the yard, no new holes in the
foundation or slab, no new indoor plumbing. I paid $2,000 even. I'm
[*] May mean another kind of black plastic pipe. P.G. County has
prohibited installation of Polybutylene yard line since about 1990.