Water Mains Replacement

People are not always clear about who is responsible for the maintenance of pipes and water mains on their property. Legally there is a distinction between where your property ends and public property and responsibility begins. As a general rule of thumb, you are responsible for all the mains and pipe work on your actual property and between your property and the public boundary or street where the main is located. In areas where there is a property or properties that may be beyond the main, occupants should contact the local water authority to find out who is actually responsible for the incoming pipe. Problems sometimes arise where a water pipe is shared between you and a neighbour as responsibility for that pipe is jointly owned. If you prefer to have your own connection to the mains then you will probably have to pay for it.

In some areas householders are having their mains replaced because the old pipes were made of lead, and these are gradually being replaced with copper pipes. Water mains replacement is really a job for the professionals; they will know where to get the correct pipes and where the pipe needs to be laid, usually a bit beyond your property boundaries for connection to the mains. The professional will then dig a trench of the required size and lay the pipe inside it – there is a recommended depth and length that the trench should be.

When the trench is dug for water mains replacement it has to enter the property and remain at a depth of 750mm from the outer facing property wall – this enables the pipe to be raised up to the internal stop tap, which is usually to be found under the kitchen sink. For all pipes higher than 750mm deep and from the bend up, the pipe must conform to British Standards, 6700. Any part of the pipe that has to be passed through parts of your property that are not heated, needs to be lagged – this applies particularly to under floor voids and to basements. If there is a 32-35 mm of pipe passing through unheated areas, 28mm of lagging needs to be used. Any insulation used has to be adequate enough for protecting the pipes from frost.

Once the external pipe is connected up to your stop cock if any part of the remaining pipe that leads to your drinking water is made from lead, t should be replaced. Sometimes pipes need to pass under a building or through foundations and in these cases need to be put into a duct that is 100mm diameter at least – again the duct needs to be insulated. Professionals will ensure that the pipe is properly laid and that the trench is filled in the proper manner so that there is nothing sharp that might affect the pipe.

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