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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / Replacing Segment of Main Water Line
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# Posted: 8 Apr 2023 11:44

The main line from my cistern into the cabin is 1/2" pex. Due to how it was originally designed, I had a plumber look at it with the intent or replacing the entire line. He, however, suggested just replacing the segment in question, no need to dig up and replace the entire line. He said he would use copper connectors that are what code requires for hooking up main lines to city water systems in normal residential applications.

This is definitely cheaper and easier for the both of us. Is there any reason why I would NOT want to go this route? The only thing that came to mind for me was some sort of restriction or interference from the connectors negatively impacting the pump's ability to pull water from the cistern, but logically I think that's probably an unfounded worry.....

# Posted: 8 Apr 2023 14:14

I also consider the restrictions of fittings in the various 'flow' projects I get into. Valves for instance. I was recently looking into a ball valve and how little the hole was!
So, maybe consider what restrictions you already have in place?

# Posted: 9 Apr 2023 06:33

Every connector or fitting causes some small restriction, the question is how much is too much? One or two additional connectors, probably not an issue. But why are you replacing it in the first place?

# Posted: 9 Apr 2023 07:36

I wouldnt worry about it much unless your trying to run a high volume appliance with it like a pressure washer. Things like a sink, shower or even a washing machine arnt very high flow.

My bathrooms are plumbed with the toilet and sink on the same 1/2in pex flow drop when your useing them both.

# Posted: 12 Apr 2023 00:28 - Edited by: spencerin

Fanman, the contractor who originally installed it had a good idea *in theory* but in reality ended up not being such a good idea. Also, I didn't tell him to do this, he did it on his own, thinking it would be a good low-cost setup.

The cistern is buried. About 3' of 1/2" pex runs from the cistern into a pit in the ground (created by a vertical culvert with a cover), then another 40' of 1/2" pex runs out the other side of the pit into the cabin. An RV water pump is suspended in the pit and pumps water from one end to the other.

It actually works fine now. The issues, though, have been as follows -

1. The top of the vertical culvert that is the pit started off above grade. But, after a few rains, the backfilled dirt sunk down a few inches and thus pulled the top of the culvert below grade. In addition, the backfilled dirt around the nearby cistern also sunk, creating a nice "rainwater collection system" right there.

2. The pit thus filled up with water everytime it rained and submerged (ruined) the first pump.

3. I had a drain installed and then suspended a replacement pump higher in the pit. That required, among other things, removing a segment of the pex and replacing it with flexible reincorced vinyl tubing to connect the remaining pex ends to the pump.

4. I was also able to, using a large bucket sprayed with foam insulation on the inside, make a cover that fit snugly over the pit. It has a lid, too, so I can access the pit as needed. Ingenious I am, except that

5. Adding dirt around the bucket cover to bring it back up to the original grade means I now can't access the bottom of the pit (now too far down), which is where a valve is, as well as a recently discovered

6. Mouse's nest, which I needed a shovel to get out of there. A mouse climbed all the way up the end of the drain pipe some 25' away to access the pit. I can't blame her - it's quiet, safe, and generally warm in there.

7. Finally, I noticed the vertical culvert is sliding ever so slowly along the pex such that it's just a matter of time before it slides/pushes off a fitting connecting one of the pex ends to the tubing.

So, I decided it would be best to pursue replacing the entire main line and moving the pump underneath the cabin, which is when the plumber made his recommendation - tear out the entire pit setup and replace (and bury) just the segment.

A maddening set of events, yes, but it's not that bad. It'll get fixed without an exorbitant cost, and then I won't have to concern myself with it any more. My only concern is the joints/fittings of the replaced segment leaking, but that's when he said he'd be using code-approved fittings. So, I guess I will place my faith in the pro.....

# Posted: 12 Apr 2023 09:01

Why don't you just keep it pex all the way. I would personally prefer pex as this is a cabin application and pex is more tolerant to movement and expansion than copper. Every time you add a fitting or adapter that's a potential point of failure. I use pex for my supply from my cistern, not worried at all.

# Posted: 12 Apr 2023 16:19

Just the connectors are going to be copper. The segment being replaced (with pex) is 3'. But, that's the question - stick with the connectors, or replace the entire line for 3xs more the cost.....

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