help with new water mains at home

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Re: One approach to skilled technical work

Postby Sail Man » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:26 pm

ygmir wrote:
gyre wrote:I'm not sure I follow what "update" means in tis case.
Is this a change from one main to another?

The trenchless idea is good, if it applies.

redacted y.



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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Sat Jul 02, 2011 1:33 pm

Of course if I only have to add a connection from the main to the old service line, I will do so. I will see what the water guy says on Tuesday.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:47 pm

I have made appointments with various plumbers and excavating companies, as well as the water officials. As stated above, I did not really understand the official over the phone, but one plumber clarified that the water bureau discourages people from connecting the old service line to the new main because a lot of old service lines have fallen into disrepair. The plumber said that replacing the whole thing might save me a headache five years down the line, but that we would look into doing it for cheap. I'm not sure yet whether I want to try to go the cheap route or do the whole thing. I will make a decision based on the information I receive from the various parties, and my judgment and feelings on the matter then (and probably most importantly, how much money we can get together).

I received a copy in the mail today of the rough schematics of where the B box is located, and they couldn't have put it in a worse spot. It's at the far corner of the house (opposite of where the current water pipe enters), at the bottom of a slope. This means that the excavator will either have to dig toward the far end of the house ON A SLOPE, or we will have to try to get underneath the driveway TWICE and then turn the pipe 90 degrees toward the house, as our driveway is more like two driveways put together (like the form of the letter "h"). The only other option is to tear up the driveway. What really gets my goat is that we had the option of having them put it anywhere we liked, but that deadline expired a year ago, if not two years ago. Back then I did not consider myself capable of taking on such a project, and didn't think much about it. Well, setbacks. I'll report back what I hear Monday and Tuesday.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby gyre » Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:05 am

Unfortunate, but it sounds like you might be able to plead exigent circumstances with that location and lobby for a better box placement.

As for the old plumbing, I had a shallow auxiliary supply to the rear house fail and leak badly, but the main supply is still good on my old house, and might be original pipe.
The house is 1910 or older, no one's sure.
I think the rear house is much older, but probably wasn't built with plumbing.

I had a partially enclosed gas meter and asked to have it re-located.
The quote was around $500.
Later they requested or ordered it to be moved, and because they wanted it, the quotes were lower.
I ended up paying $14 to have it moved.
You just never know.

Just because pipe is old, doesn't mean it will fail predictably.

Good luck.
I hope you can figure out the best approach.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:41 pm

I've been looking at a lot of videos such as this one and feeling good about excavating, if I must. I've contacted julie and will have an underground utility report early next week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhYr2LFX6rk

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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:05 pm

rgk wrote:I've been looking at a lot of videos such as this one and feeling good about excavating, if I must. I've contacted julie and will have an underground utility report early next week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhYr2LFX6rk

(how do I embed here?)

You can't. :( That feature was not restored (yet, hopefully) in the new upgrade.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:42 am

OK, I went up to my folks' place, and this is what I've learned.

Image

The yellow line is the gas line. The blue dot at the street is where the new B box is located. The blue dot on the house is where the water is hooked up at the moment. The length from the new B box to the house is just over 100 feet. The green dot is where the old B box is located. As you can see, the water currently flows through the pink line to the old B box. The water comes in to the old B box through an old service line to which I can not connect.

Why can't I just connect to the old service line near the new B box? Good question. One would assume the old service line runs out toward the street, which means that it runs pretty close to the new B box. One would assume that we could dig a hole big enough to get into and connect the old service line to the new B box. But, say the water officials and one plumber, it's not that easy.

Image

You see, the service line splits in two, presumably at the old B box, but perhaps even before it. One goes to my house, whereas the other one goes to the neighbor. We can't hook up to the old service line BEFORE this split, because that would cause water to get into that split, causing problems. I asked whether it would not be possible to cut off that split, but a plumber told me that then it's "too much messing around, too many fittings," and that the village won't allow it. In other words, it's a liability. I'm not a plumber, so what can I say?

On the day of the bidding, the first people to arrive were two contractors and one water official. It irked me that the water official got right to work explaining everything to the contractors, and didn't even bother coming to the house to introduce himself or explain anything to me, but I got over it. I went up to them while they were talking and introduced myself. I then started asking questions and writing the answers down. After a few minutes of this, I finally commanded their attention.

The water official recommended to the contractors the following:

Image

Dig a straight trench (in red) along the property line (below, in white). Go past the old B box, and connect to the old service line. This would require probably digging up part of my jerk neighbor's property (believe me, he's anal - more on that later), getting awfully close to the gas line in a place where it connects to the house, and is thus more shallow than anywhere else. This also means working in an area that is completely surrounded by shrubbery. Oh, and take out a few planks of my neighbor's fence. The cost for this would be $2000 and they would not have to get into the house.

After that, a plumber came by and gave me the following idea:

Image

Dig away from the property line and cross the gas line at a place where there is plenty of open space and thus is easy to work. Dig up to the house, then dig underneath the footing (foundation) and push the new water main all the way to the meter inside the house. This would mean that the entire new service line is the required 1" pipe. The first idea required a coupler that connected the new 1" service line to connect to the old 3/4" service line. Since this guy is a licensed plumber, he can legally connect to the pipes at home. The other guy was just a contractor, and legally can not go inside the house, explaining why he proposed what he did. Cost: $5700

The third idea is basically the same as the second, but this plumber recommended drilling a hole through the foundation and using a tool to push the pipe about 10-15 feet out away from the house at a depth of about four feet (remember, the frost line according to the water official is 5 feet - this plumber says that it's ok to be shallower near the house, because the warmth from the house will prevent freezing). Cost: $3400

The fourth guy to come out (the third plumber) basically said the same thing as the first plumber but has not yet gotten back to me with an estimate.

I asked the first and second plumbers whether they would be willing to do the job if I found someone else to dig the trench. The second guy flat-out refused. The first guy said he would dig underneath the footing (per my request) and connect the pipe for $1000 if I dug the trench.

I have also heard from an excavating company that said they would be willing to dig a 100 foot trench 5 feet deep for about $700.

My sister and her husband spoke to the finance director of the village, who said that they might be able to finance this project and set up a payment plan for us. I am waiting to hear back from him, because I want the details straight from his mouth. If this is the case, I will ask whether he will give us the money if we partition the project. I would like to go all the way into the house to avoid trouble with my neighbor. Also, as long as we're doing all this work, it makes sense to have an entirely new service line, instead of hooking up to one that's over thirty years old and located in a tight spot. If I dig up my neighbor's yard, I will surely be stuck with his landscaping bill, not to mention hard feelings. He expressed his displeasure and annoyance directly to me when I had the contractors come out to give me bids. "This is going to be such a fucking mess," he said. "You really should bore it," he said, referring to expensive underground boring which he had done a year ago to avoid digging up his precious landscaping. "Sure, I'll do it," I thought to myself. "When you pay for it, you jerk."

In any case, I am considering partitioning the project out: perhaps I can find someone who has a mini-excavator and experience with trenches, who can do it for less than $700. My neighbor mentioned that he might have a friend with a mini, so I called him and specifically asked him to look into it. If not, I will continue crawling google and craigslist. He also recommended looking at metals warehouses, because I might be able to find the copper pipe for a little less. Surely if I buy it myself it will be less than buying from a contractor, who will try to make a profit on it. Copper isn't cheap. A foot of 1" line will cost me around $5. In any case, I would have the hired excavator dig a trench the way that the plumbers recommended I do it, then hire the plumber to come in and hook it up. I figure if I can find someone to dig the trench for $500, buy the copper for $500 (EDIT: wow, it looks like 100ft of 1 inch type "K" (the thickest type) pipe is nearly a grand), and have the plumber hook it up for $1000, then I can probably have the job done for about $2000, about the cost of the first contractors' bid and idea, which does not seem to be as solid as the plumbers' idea. If the village can provide the loan (I assume it is essentially a loan), and if they don't mind me partitioning the project, maybe we can make this happen.

My girlfriend is starting a creative project on kickstarter, and I was hoping I could do something similar - find some place to show this idea off in order to hopefully raise some money for it. Kickstarter won't work, however, as that site is dedicated to creative projects only. I have been considering building a very basic website dedicated to this project, explaining my situation, asking for money, and providing a paypal 'donate' button. I have also considered researching any possible grants for this endeavor. I don't really know where to start, but I figure I'll just start googling stuff. I have about six weeks to go until Burning Man, and I'd like to complete this project by then with enough money to pay my own bills and get me to BRC and back. I've already done a considerable amount of work. As you can see, the great big mass of it yet remains to be done. However, doing a little bit every day and having a deadline certainly helps break it all down into manageable pieces.

PS: If you have any ideas and would like to use the overhead shot of my property, here it is:

Image
Last edited by rgk on Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:06 am

Can you rent a trencher that wil excavate to 5', and if so, would it be cheaper than the $700? And more especially, do you feel confident enough around power equipment to trench it yourself to 5'?

Also... I'm kinda funny about this, but... your scenario where you have contractors come out to bid a project, and the water guy sidetracked the contractors before they even got to your door, I'd at least be having words with the contractors... unless the water co. is paying for the install. For me, that's an easy way to get yourself unbid from my project.

Me? I'd go with the guy who will go below the FL all the way. Yeah, it's more $$, but then it's done RIGHT. Just a gut feeling...
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:28 am

Trenchers only go down to 4 feet. I can rent a mini excavator, but if I do something wrong (like hit the gas pipe), it will be my ass. I have no experience with heavy equipment. My gut feeling says I shouldn't try it.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:57 pm

Secretly I want to, but I'm scared.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:40 pm

The water dept sent a guy over today to give my parents a bid: 1500 with labor, materials, and everything. This is good news.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby gyre » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:00 pm

Sounds like your work is paying off.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:01 pm

The water/finance departments sent over the low-cost plumber/contractor, but they don't want to finance a loan.

My sister would probably have to borrow money from her husband. I might have to borrow money as well.

We are considering not helping my parents out at all, as our father has been leeching off us for most of his life. We think it's time we teach him to work out his own financial problems, instead of just going to bed and let everyone else take care of everything.

This, of course, puts our mom in a bind. However, we believe she's been enabling his behavior for over thirty years and is thus part of the problem.

It's a hard decision.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:20 pm

Unless they are disabled mentally or physically, a bit of tough love might not hurt. And I think you're correct, your dad couldn't get away with what he does if your mom wasn't enabling him.
rgk wrote:The water/finance departments sent over the low-cost plumber/contractor, but they don't want to finance a loan.

My sister would probably have to borrow money from her husband. I might have to borrow money as well.

We are considering not helping my parents out at all, as our father has been leeching off us for most of his life. We think it's time we teach him to work out his own financial problems, instead of just going to bed and let everyone else take care of everything.

This, of course, puts our mom in a bind. However, we believe she's been enabling his behavior for over thirty years and is thus part of the problem.

It's a hard decision.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:24 pm

It's tough to pinpoint where disability and laziness intersect. It's also tough, especially with the way the two of them function and enable each other, who is to blame for what. My mother drains us all emotionally, whereas my father drains us all financially. On the flip side, we can always depend on our mother to ground the family. We can always depend on our father's sense of humor, his ability to relate to us when we're dealing with life.

It's so fucking hard and weird. I wish I could just talk to them about this stuff, but every time I try, their neuroticism and fear comes out; they both instantly blame the other. I feel as if I'm not talking to a person anymore, but the personification of evil.

The only time I felt like I connected with my old man is when I painted houses with him. He opened up to me a bit. But sad as it is, I don't want to give them any more of my time, my emotional or financial energy. Then I feel guilty and swing back the other way; I come home, fix a bunch of stuff, and pay for some things. And it seems, of course, that nothing ever changes.

Things HAVE changed, for the better and worse. My mother is stronger. My dad is more senile. She cleans obsessively to clear her mind (and possibly her conscience). He smokes and watches TV.

My sob story.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:17 pm

Your parents are adults. They raised you until you were an adult in your own right. That is a parents responsibility. You owe them nothing for them doing the job parents are supposed to do. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for yourself. You are obviously allowing them to manipulate you with guilt. Guilt you should not be feeling. If you don't do what they are asking and guilt doesn't work, they will then use anger, which will, if the pattern isn't broken, make you feel even more guilty for not doing what they want you to do. You are the only one that can end the cycle. Let them know you lice them, but that you can no longer wait on them hand and foot and that you can't afford to help them financially anymore. How did they ever get along in the world when they didn't have you to manipulate? Stop enabling them and stop feeling guilty.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:19 pm

jkisha wrote:
rgk wrote:I've been looking at a lot of videos such as this one and feeling good about excavating, if I must. I've contacted julie and will have an underground utility report early next week.



(how do I embed here?)

You can't. :( That feature was not restored (yet, hopefully) in the new upgrade.

It's working now. Check my code by quoting the message.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:23 pm

It's less personal and more cultural. They have actually rarely asked anything of me, except to be a good person and not smoke, drink (too much), or do drugs. Besides, the home is partly mine. It's where I come home when I'm not home, so I want to see it work and thrive. Like maybe the playa for you.

What frustrates me is their inability to see the other side the way I do, to compromise the way that I can with my partner.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:57 pm

I have nothing else to add other than we each make our own beds.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:01 pm

That's nice. But why do you sleep apart? Wait, I think I understand. We've been together three years almost (our anniversary falls during BM, actually), lived together for two, and it seems that every year we need a larger bed. We started with a child's twin. We're up to a queen.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby jkisha » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:03 pm

:)
rgk wrote:That's nice. But why do you sleep apart? Wait, I think I understand. We've been together three years almost (our anniversary falls during BM, actually), lived together for two, and it seems that every year we need a larger bed. We started with a child's twin. We're up to a queen.
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Re: help with new water mains at home

Postby rgk » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:41 pm

I have set up a donation page with gofundme.com - it has color photos of my beautiful parents! Moderators, would it be OK for me to post a link?
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