/ Pipe diagnosis
I’ve dug up a pipe in my garden, it looks like a mains water pipe - approx 1 inch galvanised steel. But I would assume my supply is in plastic pipe from the age of the house. Is there any way of telling if it’s a ‘live’ pipe, short of cutting the thing?
In digging it up with a mini digger it’s got bent so before I start thinking about repairs it would be useful to know if it’s my mains water or just some old remnant.
Galvanized sounds a bit odd, are you sure it's not a cable duct to a garage or shed or driveway lights?
The mains water pipe that runs under the field in front of our house is asbestos (so we are informed), so I wouldn't rule anything out!
A similar pipe in our first house was for gas.
If your neighbours' houses were built at the same time they might know.
An asbestos water main? How would that withstand the pressure?
No need to buy a special tool, just find a piece of metal or wood dowel, press the end aginst the pipe and stick the other end in your ear. Get somebody to turn the tap on and off and if it's the water main you will hear the hissing of mains pressure water.
Not gas as not on mains gas in our area.
It doesn’t look fresh galvanised, it’s an old pipe, apparently galvanised steel was used up to the seventies and beyond.
I’ll give this a try, I like a nice low tech solution. I’d thought of trying to borrow a stethoscope!
The water company should know BUT they insisted mine was plastic until they cut through it
I had to dig up my drive to access a leaking stop tap. Turned out the pipe was metal too, although it was black alcathene closer to the main stop tap on the road after an earlier upgrade.
> An asbestos water main? How would that withstand the pressure?
I have no idea, but it was the water board (whoever they are) that told us a couple of months ago. There's planning permission in the corner of the field and they were looking at the pipes for the building.
Apparently it is very old original pipe that they sometimes still find "and quite harmless". Doesn't fill me with confidence.
I forgot to add that where i was able to connect my fix to the alacathene pipe, the old metal pipe had been just left in the ground next to it by the water board, so maybe yours is the same. Otherwise if it is in use dont be surprised if disturbing it causes a few leaks further up.
Think yourself lucky you've only found one pipe! When I dug the footings for my garage I knew there would be a gas pipe, but not a dead gas pipe, a live water pipe, and a dead water pipe as well! All but the live gas pipe were galvanised and pretty much the same diameter. They were also very shallow (6" in one case) as there's no regulations for minimum depth on private property here. The excavation developed a smell of gas early on before we found the live gas pipe, but there was no leak. the gas board said the gas mains pressure is so low leaks are often undetected and the gas smell will accumulate in the ground and only become apparent when disturbed. Apparently the gas will discolour the earth and 'bleach' it somewhat.
Do your utilities not have a 'dial before you dig' service like ours do over here? Only a plum would dig without consulting them.
be grateful you didn't find a sewer pipe...
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