I will need to run water line/conduit from the crawlspace of my house
to my shop I am building. Is it permissable/possible to run it under
the footer/foundation? and if so how in the world do I do that? I dug
about 10 inches down against the foundation wall and hit a concrete
ledge which I assume is the footer.
Can I dig to the enge of this then somehow drive a metal pipe sideways
to reach under the house?
or is it better/proper to somehow drill a hole in the foundation
block? If so what do I use?
I appreciate your help! I am using 3/4 pvc for the water line. Running
conduit in sch 40 conduit. (The plastic stuff.
Your IP address suggests that you're in the area of Brandenburg KY, which is
plenty far enough north that you'd damn well better put your water line a
*lot* farther underground than ten inches if you expect it to not freeze and
burst before Christmas.
This may be of some help:
Make sure the wires you run in the conduit are rated for underground use.
Standard NM-B ("Romex") cable is **not** permitted underground, even in
I would recommend at least 18" deep, if not 24. Then yes, drill the blocks
with a carbide tipped masonry drill.
You might also want to consider making at least your underground run with
PEX. It's a good bit more resilient to soil movement and freezing, and
easier to place in a long run with curves. You could probably make your
entire underground run in 1 piece with no couplings.
It's a hell of a lot of work for no particular reward.
That's what I do every time - Put a 90 sweep in the trench and land
it vertically on the face of the footing wall, then duck into the
house above ground.
If this spot on the house is near a driveway where you expect
vehicular access that could damage the conduit, you have to transition
to Schedule 80 heavy PVC conduit or Steel Rigid conduit where you
Or drill and epoxy a few rebar dowel pins into the footing, make a
simple wooden form, and pour a concrete guard around the exposed PVC
I LIKE that! Okay, where's the instructions for writing the TinyURL
with the search string built in...
You have to get the water pipes down below the frost line. And you
might have to get a lot more complex, see below.
If you are in a hard freezing climate, use copper pipe and an
electric heat trace, rigid foam pipe insulation and a larger pipe
(like 3" ABS landscape drain) as an outer shell for damage protection.
Or rig up Hot and Cold underground water feed lines and an "instant
hot" circulation pump inside the garage at the far end that will keep
both the lines from freezing. Or rig them for easy shutoff and
draining. Or all of the above.
You can break grade near the house and come above ground, then
drill a hole through the concrete footing near the house floor. Place
a pullbox or a condulet so you can repull the wires without a fight.
And it's a lot easier to run the conduit back to the panel under the
house when it can be nailed up to the bottom of the floor joists.
You want to bring the conduits up through the concrete footing and
into the wall at the garage end. Which is why you want enough of them
and big enough to meet future needs. Keep the 1' or better lateral
seperation by bringing the other lines up in the next stud bay over.
Go big - put in a 2" or 2-1/2" PVC Conduit for the power line to the
garage, and put two or three 1" conduits for Phone, Ethernet, CATV,
Fiber, etc. a foot away laterally, and bury them all at least 18"
below grade for damage protection. (Shovels usually don't get down
that far.) You want the one foot lateral seperation to keep power
line noise from getting in the phone and Ethernet lines.
You might only need a 100A Line and 1-1/4" conduit out there now,
but plans change and you might get a huge lathe next year - and you
really don't want to dig it all up and start over from scratch.
If the book says you "only" need #2 AL feeders for 100A at that
distance, go as large with the wire as you can get into the breaker
lugs. 1/0 or better. Voltage Drop is always bad.
Copper feeder wires are better if you can afford them, but XHHW
Aluminum will work fine IF you clean and treat the cable connections
properly. Ideal NOALOX Compound (or eq.) and a toothbrush sized
Stainless Steel wire brush. Slop it on, within reason.
Oh, and be very careful stripping the wire. Aluminum will fatigue
and snap really easily at any conductor damage from a knife or
strippers - you need to score around at the strip point 2/3 of the
insulation, then skin lengthwise to loosen the insulation (like
sharpening a pencil) then peel it off with pliers.
Remember that Safety Ground and Neutral are two seperate wires past
the Main Service the Neutral is ONLY bonded there. You have to run
four wires to the garage, but you can drop the safety ground down one
or two wire sizes. #2 feeders, #6 ground.
Add a seperate ground bar in the garage panel, and do NOT connect
the neutral to ground bonding screw/strap at the garage panel.
Try to run the feeder wires in one piece, avoid a splice in the
middle - and leave a loop of slack in that splice box at the house
wall just in case. If you ever have trouble, that splice is where it
Okay, that should be enough information to keep you from making the
most common screw-ups. ;-P
If you think you've just invented a new screw-up, you probably have
- stop and ask.
That's fine for the electrical -- but what about his water line?
Stryped's IP address puts him in northern Kentucky. Not exactly a cold
climate, but definitely cold enough that an exposed water line *will* freeze
Right - Which is why I gave him a few options to select from.
The simplest being to bury TWO insulated copper pipes (hard foam
insulation sleeving) below the frost line - one Hot water and one Cold
water. Then you put one of the "Instant Hot" wet-rotor circulating
pumps in the garage that runs water out the Hot pipe and into the Cold
until it gets Hot, then shuts off till it gets Cool again.
That should shove enough hot water back down the Cold pipe returning
to the water heater to keep the line from freezing in all but the most
severe climates. Wastes a bit of gas or oil running the water heater,
but that's cheaper than electricity heating the pipe directly. Heat
trace cables are fine for pipes in a crawl space, but would be
problematic if buried. You can only insulate and armor so much.
They make the pump kits with a shutoff timer which is fine for the
summer months when you would rarely use hot water out there, but you
don't want to use that in the winter.
The best trick would be to rig a Klixon thermostat exposed to the
outside air that kicks the circ pump system on whenever it is below
40F to 45F outside. Even if you forgot to turn it on by hand.
Copper pipe costs more, yes - but you can dig it up and do a sweat
solder repair and it should hold and handle the temp swings a lot
better. Plastic pipe solvent welding flat out isn't as strong, and I
don't want all those solvents leaching into my water.
Oh, and Doug? You never said how to write a URL for lmgtfy. You
just put the operation at the end of the string and it auto-runs?
If you go that route, run a "Sleeve" underground with a straight run
of 1" PVC Pipe, and heat bend the pipe to make radius sweeps like
conduit. Or get the black polybutylene tubing used for sprinkler
water lines, it's flexible enough to bend. Put any thermal insulation
on the outside of the sleeve pipe.
Rig up drain fittings at the low spots so it drains into a gravel
bed, or out on the lawn, or into the basement drain system at the
house. Then pull your 1/2" PEX water pipe through in one piece.
And WHEN it freezes and bursts the PEX pipe, and you see a river
coming out the drain, you just re-pull the PEX through the existing
underground sleeve and you are all done. No digging, no concrete
Think ahead, determine failure modes, and guard against as many as
If it's below the frost line, there's no need for either insulation or a
recirculator -- it won't freeze regardless.
Type the search parameters, click the Google Search button, then hover your
mouse pointer over the link it creates for you -- another button will appear,
labelled "TinyURL". Click that.
Yeah, I've heard THAT kind of a blanket dismissal before. ;-P Pull
the other leg, I don't want to walk lopsided...
Seriously, I'd be a nice cushion below the frost line, and/or take a
few seemingly "unneeded" precautions like insulation and that circ
pump. Much better than the question "Dear, when did we put in a
skating rink in the side yard?"
You do what the neighbors have done successfully, and a bit more.
Luckily, in the San Fernando Valley the worst we have to worry about
(with a lot of advance warning if you are paying attention) is an
occasional overnight frost that can take out faucet risers and vacuum
breakers - crack a faucet and/or wrap it in an old blanket overnight.
Oh, and stick a fan under the orange tree. Smudge Pot heaters have
been illegal for a whole lotta years.
Gee, you'd think they could mention that in the "About" box. Looked
all over for the Easter Egg on that one.
You can. But... I'd still set it up as a sleeve. Then if it fails
there is no digging required to replace it.
We aren't in a freeze zone, but I still sleeved my water main where
it goes under the driveway. Just in case.
Considering where you live, you can be pardoned for not understanding ... but
how did you think those of us who *do* live in freeze zones manage to keep our
lines from freezing? Did you seriously think that municipal water utilities in
the north insulate their distribution lines, and run hot water recirculators?
Bury it deep enough, and it *will**not* freeze. It really *is* that simple.
I had to be below 36" in SW Ohio for water lines. I used 2.5" PVC
and 15° angles from the city's shutoff into the basement, then ran the
required K copper water trough the PVC, inside of the expanded cell foam
pipe insulation. I was the first person to do it that way, and had to
get a variance form the city's Engineering department to do it.
The old water line was at 36 inches, and at times it was barely a
trickle after days of near zero weather.
'In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in
becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an
equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any
because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the
person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...
There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American,
but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag,
the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the
English language.. and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a
loyalty to the American people.'
Theodore Ro osevelt 1907