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Plumbing in the Home/water line from house to city meter


hi Dana - Where the iron water pipe (3/4" main supply) comes out of the ground just before entering at the front of my house, it rusted at the surface of the dirt and is leaking. I think I will dig down and if the pipe is usable, I will re-thread and replace the bad section. If the pipe is bad and it all has to be replaced to the meter (built in 1965), what is the recommendation? PEX, PVC, etc?

I'm a little concerned that there is a ground attached to the pipe where I'm working, so I'm concerned about using plastic. I suppose I could add a ground rod.

Can you make a suggestion?


Hello Rob,
Well, you certainly got mileage out of that pipe, almost 50 years. That's about as far as I've seen galvanized pipe go.

If the pipe lasted that long, you probably don't have an "aggressive soil" condition so the choice is up to you. Commonly, type "L" copper is used, Sometimes "type K" which is much heavier. Do not use type "M".

PEX is becoming popular these days but it depends on your local jurisdiction if it will be allowed. PEX requires special tools and fittings and experience to avoid leaks. Alternatively, you can use "SharkBite" fittings but I don't recall if those are rated for burial.

One thing to be aware of is that current codes (and common sense) will acquire that metal pipe be buried at least 12 inches. Plastic piping is required to be 18 inches deep for a bit of added protection from damage.

In most cases, it's not that big of a deal to trench from the house to the meter. If you have a hardscape in the way like driveways or sidewalks, you'll have to hydro-bore under those. The actual boring would have to be done with metal pipe, you can't use plastic for that.

It also depends on your environment. If you are in a freezing area,PEX is more resistant to freeze damage then either copper or PVC.
If you do choose to go with plastic of some type, the riser, the part coming up out of the ground by the house should be metal to avoid impact damage from garden tools and things like weed whackers or be "sleeved" with a larger piece of PVC as a protective cover.

Good Luck,

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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