Capping a live lead service line with Philmac UTC?

8 Sep 2019
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Hi, I saw someone on this board mentioning that he capped a live service line using the Philmac UTC.

I was wondering if it's really possible to do this on a p, particularly in my situation. I have a 1" lead supply line that's leaking and it there is no shutoff valve between the water main and the leak. Is there any hope of putting a Philmac Universal joiner on it connected to a stop valve while the water is still running? All the plumbers I talked to said they think the water flow would be too strong to put a fitting in. The only think they'll consider is digging up the entire service line all the way to the street main, which will be exceedingly expensive. The line can't be frozen and it can't be shut off without excavation. Any thoughts? Thanks!
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Here is a picture showing the pipe coming out of the rubblestone foundation into the cellar.

Below the ruler is the site of the leak. The leak is obscured under a temporary patch made of a rubber gasket, hose clamps, and epoxy that has managed to stop the leak (for now).

The pipe' outer diameter is 1.21 inches.
If you could remove rubble to expose approx an extra 2' of pipe, you could then freeze the pipe and fit a joint and stop valve.

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Thanks Andy! Altogether how many inches of the pipe must be exposed? And which freezing system do you recommend?

I appreciate your help
I would go back approx 24" and use a freeze machine to freeze the pipe work, try a hire shop for the machine. Not sure what you have over there across the pond.

Thanks again, it seems like you might've saved me! But still some complications to overcome...

I removed some of the rubble from the pipe, and I can only go back about 12" before I hit dirt. I suppose I could dig farther back through the dirt, but I don't know how stable that would be.

What could go wrong if I place the freeze heads only 12" from where the pipe will be cut? I won't apply any heat to the pipe. I'll cut it with a handheld pipe cutter or hacksaw and will just use a compression fitting. No welding or soldering.

As you can see in the picture, there's a gentle 60-degree bend in the pipe just below where I'd cut it (where the epoxy begins). Could this bend cause an obstruction that could cause the pipe to burst if the freeze heads are too close to it?

The machine I could find at the rental shop near me is the SuperFreeze by Ridgid. The two freeze heads are each about 4 inches long.

Here's all the manual has to say about placement of the freeze heads when heat isn't being applied:

Ice plugs must be more than one foot (0.3 m) away
from end caps, elbows, closed valves, other ice
plugs or similar obstructions. Placing an ice plug
closer can cause splitting of the pipe or tube
I would go back a bit more so that you can use the freeze machine with the correct distance away from the cut. When I last used a freeze machine on lead, I had to cover the pipe in tissue covered with hand cream so that the freeze head had a tight fit on the pipe.

Make sure you have all the correct parts when you start the job to hand.

I guess my last question is what is the best tool to cut the lead pipe? The space is quite tight. If I bend the pipe at all or vibrate it, I'm afraid the underground portion will break and I'll have a $13,000 service line replacement on my hands.
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I use a cordless angle grinder. You can hold the pipe very still and get a good cut.

When do you plan on doing this work?

anon32 Hi,
using lead pipe as a service pipe is not safe, its been outlawed in places.

what kind of "fitting" do you propose to use?
if your external isolator and your internal isolator both work why do you need to freeze the pipe?

1. the water is not safe to drink - i suppose you've read about the consequences in Flint Michigan and New Jersey? google them.
2. lead as a water service will be an old installation, and if the lead has begun to leak in one place its likely to start leaking in other places.
3. think hard about having the lead water service totally replaced with a plastic or copper line?
4. does your kerb shut-off valve work properly?
5. google "lead pipe fittings" and see if you can locate similar fittings near you? fittings are much easier than freezing.
6. freezing can sometimes be difficult for pro plumbers.

the easiest tool to cut the lead pipe shown in your pic is a mini hack saw
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thank you for the nudge but yes i did read the first post and then was distracted away until i came back and started writing with what i imagined he'd said.
if you are under mains pressure then its touch and go if the lead pipe will freeze.
surely you have a kerb stop in your frontage or just on the sidewalk - do you have a water meter?
clearing out/digging up an access chamber box to locate and operate the isolator is a min. of work.

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