Here at the Twin Home Experts, we were recently called out to a home in the Los Angeles area where the homeowners were experiencing a front yard underground copper pipe leak that was spraying up through the ground.

One question we get asked all the time is “How do you repair an underground front yard leak if the pipe is copper?”

We are here to answer that question and walk you through it.

Check out Jim’s video here with a step by step process:

Underground Copper Pipe Leak

The first step is making sure you have accurately pinpointed the source of the leak – which often times is not where you see the water coming up. Finding the leak source can be done by your plumber or a leak detection company that has acoustic and location devices. The cost for a Los Angeles leak detection is between $200 and $350.

Once you’ve determined where the leak is, it’s time to warm your back up and begin digging to determine the area you want to expose; this should be a 3 to 4-foot section at the very least, for an adequate working room.

Once the underground copper pipe leak has been exposed, here are the items you’ll need to begin the process.

  • Tape measure
  • Sand cloth
  • Roll solder
  • Map gas
  • Flux & brush
  • Slip copper couplings and pipe once you determine sizes
  • Saw Zall with metal cutting blades
  • Towel
  • Rubber gloves and eyewear
  • Channel locks & copper pipe cutters
  • Meter key

Drain The Line

A smart thing to do while all this is happening is to begin draining the line.

You can do this by opening the meter below or opening the regulator and removing all excess air. Make sure that all water is eliminated before you solder.

Here in Los Angeles, most water meters are double union which allows you to loosen the upper portion and bleed water out. Make sure you shut the meter off using a meter key before undoing any piping.

Clean and Solder

Once the line is clear of water, it’s time to begin the cleaning process. Using the sand cloth, clean the areas where you’re going to connect the copper lines. Typically a good rule of thumb is about 5 to 8 inches on each side of the leak.

Now it’s time to wipe the areas using a flux brush on the inside and outside of the pipe fitting.

Using a tape measure, measure the space between your pipe cuts and take off about a 1/4 of an inch, this will give you some playing room.

Next, simply take your couplings and slide them inside the pipe so that they are flush. Then, set the pipe in the empty space and slide the couplings to the underground line. You can even mark the pipe in the ground to help you from over sliding the coupling.

Now it’s time to solder. Begin heating up the lower section of the couplings. Once your heat has reached the right temperature, take your roll of solder and tap the point on the connection to see if it takes… If it starts to pull the solder in, then continue all the way around until you have a solid bead.

Make sure you clean the connections after you solder and that is has cooled down since flux residue can cause issues in the future.

Test It Out

And now it’s time to test it out. But before you do, go inside your house and open all the fixtures – you even need to flush the toilets.

Go to the water meter and turn the water on very slowly. Keep an eye on your connections to make sure it’s leak free.

Once you verify its leak free, go throughout the property and verify that all air is out of the system. A good rule of thumb is when you get a solid stream of water, you’re ready to shut fixtures off.

Well, there you go! If there’s anything else you have questions on, feel free to contact the Twins, we’re here to help.

If you’ve got an underground copper pipe leak and want some help getting it taken care of, give us a call at 818-927-6309.

How To Repair An Underground Copper Pipe Leak In Your Front Yard
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