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Question DetailsAsked on 9/27/2016

I just had a new regulator installed on my water line and the pipe busted from the pressure. Is that common?

I have a mobilehome and my neighbor told me the city worked on our waterline under the house. He told me to turn on the hose to let the pressure out. So I did and I must have burst a pipe, because I heard water spraying under the house. All over the skirting. Sounded like a crazy water wiggle, remember those when you were a kid? So I had to turn off my main water valve for 2 weeks now. I think it is from a new water flow regulator. I had a plumber come out, but he can't help until Saturday. Is that common? That a regulator will break old pipes? I have copper, but maybe the valves were unscrewed?

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Probably not a water FLOW regulator - unless they were putting that in THEIR system, and that would normally be at the street - if something they did at your line, probably a new PRESSURE regulator.

If the pressure let into your system was more than the pipes had in them before, yes they can rupture. More likely if old of course, or if the incoming pressure is higher than house piping is designed for typically 60-70 psi max design operating pressure, 70-120 is considered possible rupture time for old pipe, around 80-90 or so threaded fitting leaks and blown faucet gaskets should be expected to happen even though the piping itself should not fail till about 150-400 psi depending on soldering quality aqnd solder type. General pressure rating for househjold water pipe with solf solder is 150 psi, to "technically" copper water pipe in good shape should not have ruptured in normal water supply pressures, which are kept below 150 psi unless the utility made a mistake or had a failure.

If the city worked on your waterline under the house, and then you almost immediately had a leak - I would have called THEM to repair it, because a failure right after they did work sounds like it was most likely caused by their work, right ? You could still callthem and plead ignorance of plumbing and see if they will come and fix it - most would do at least a temporary fix in the broken line if nothing else even if it was in part of the system that is "your" responsibility, since this was apparently due to their action. And if a result of their actions they should be responsible to do a permanent repair unless your lines were so corroded that they could not hold normal low water pressure - say 30-40 psi.

2 weeks later - your argument is a lot weaker but I would give it a try, calling their emergency repari number and see if you can convince them to come out and look at what happened.

I don't know what sort of work they might have done - generally a pressure regulator on an individual living is not part of their equipment - that is usually part of your plumbing system. Their installation and maintenance records should show what work they did.

But if they changed out a pressure regulator, or installed one because they were going to boost the service line pressure in your area (maybe new elevated storage tank or booster pump for instance, or connecting your line to a much higher elevation part of their system so line pressure was going to go up), they should have first checked the existing pressure at your house, then installed the regulator, turned it down to a very low initial pressure setting, opened a relief faucet or two or only cracked the water shutoff valve a little bit initially so the pressure would rise slowly and could be shut off quickly or the regulator adjusted to control it and prevent overpressurization, then turned the water on, and slowly turned the control on it to raise the pressure back to what you had before. Should only have exceeded that pressure if you agreed in writing to a higher pressure - or normally they leave an info sheet on how pressure regulators work and what impact setting it to a higher pressure can have on older plumbing.

If it turns out you have to pay for it (and seems to me like the utility's problem), sounds like this should not be a major fix - probably reset regulator to lower setting (say typically 30-40 psi for older systems), fix the leak, turn water on, raise regulator pressure to desired level. Probably about an hour or two work (allowing for being under a mobile home and probably all muddy under there now - about 1/2-1 hour normally), so probably $95-320 ballpark range for the repair including parts depending on your local labor costs. That assuming only one leak - occasionally if a regulator is put in at a very high setting (or fails to regulate at all), it will cause several leaks or blown-out pipes or extruded and leaking faucet washers - but that is fairly rare unless the system is hit with a major high-pressure burst from a high-pressure line in the public system because of a failed pressure regulator or pressure relief valve or pump failing to shut off at intended pressure.

Because it sounded like a water wiggle one of two things were probably going on - either it ruptured a hose under there that had a spray nozzle on it that was off, and the hose blew and was whapping around as it spewed water - or the leak was hitting or knocked down some insulation that was bapping backk and forth in the water shooting out of the leak. If the faucet or part of the hose was under there, take a look and see if the hose ruptured or blew off the faucet - you might just be able to turn the faucet back off and turn the regulator down to low pressure (though you probably need a hose-thread pressure gage to put on a hose faucet to read the pressure and maybe a second person to read it to you if no faucet at the main shutoff valve), crack the shutoff valve a touch to let a small flow of water in, then once the pressure has stabilized adjust the regulator up as needed to desired pressure. Geanerally should be able to take 30 psi unless plumbing is in tearrible shape, though that might well be less than you had before (typically more like 35-45 and max 60) so shower flow and pressure might be low and sprinkler not as effective and such.

BTW - check around for other leak signs before turning water back on - especially washing machine and dishwasher water supply hoses.

Plumber not able to come till Saturday (assuming this was written Tuesday as it says on AL) - I would call another plumber. Should be able to get an appointment for something like this in a day or two max during regular work hours - and if not many have 24 hour service, though of course charge time and a half or double time after normal weekday business hours. Make sure they know your water is OFF now in the entire house - that makes it an "emergency" demanding quicker response, not a routine repair call like a very minor leak or something like a leaking sink or such which can be turned off individually would be.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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