Thinking about replacing lead water main & stop tap

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Temmy, 10 May 2020.

  1. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Hello folks,

    I've an idea brewing in my head about overhauling my water mains connection and would appreciate a review.

    We've moved into a house built in the 1960s which really hasn't had much in the way of modernization and the mains water looks like it's being fed by a black pipe (lead?) under the kitchen sink.

    [​IMG]

    The previous owners also didn't seem to care about having a working stop tap and this is what they've given us under the kitchen sink:

    [​IMG]

    Completely boxed in. Inaccessible and unusable. Nope nope nope. I can't stand critical utility features being inaccessible - I want important things like that in the open, easy to get at and use.

    I'm thinking replacing the connection to the water main with plastic would not only be a good opportunity to get rid of the lead, but also the perfect time to sort out this stop tap insanity.

    So here's what I'm thinking:

    [​IMG]

    The house has a brick garage alongside and my idea is to turn it into a utility space where all the important stuff of the house (stop tap, fuse box...etc) is easily located with plenty of space to access them.

    What do you think to the idea of running a new water line into the garage, placing the stop tap there, and then feeding into the house? Does that sound like a good idea? There is a narrow path between the garage and the house so the water line would have to bridge that somehow.

    Are there any regulations about where stop taps can and can't be located?

    Interested in your thoughts!
     
    Last edited: 10 May 2020
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  3. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    Your supply pipe looks more like plastic , rather than lead. Alkathene maybe.
     
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  4. Nige F

    Nige F

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    +1 it's alkathene.
     
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  5. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Thanks for the feedback! If the pipe is alkathene how does that rate these days? Is it worth replacing with MDPE?
     
  6. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    It is MDPE.
     
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  7. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Ok a couple of questions;

    - How do I confirm what this pipe is made from?
    - I'm getting confused, some sites seem to suggest that black alkathene is different to MDPE. Either way, if it is alkathene, is there value changing to blue poly?
     
  8. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Alright, first question definitely answered. Just stuck my hand under and it definitely feels and scratches like plastic.
     
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  10. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    Alkathene was a kind of trade name ,created by ICI, donkeys years ago. It is MDPE. ( Medium density polyethylene).
    And so is the blue stuff common today.
    There is no reason for you to go to the expense of having it replaced ,but do so if you wish !
     
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  11. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Thanks @terryplumb. Appreciate the clarification. Learn a new thing every day!
     
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  12. Madrab

    Madrab

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    There are several ways to alter what you have rather than having to move it. Only thing may be that your current mains pipe may be imperial rather than metric.

    Remove the old stop tap and fit a full bore lever valve slightly higher up. You could also fit a Sure Stop, just use it once ever 6 months.

    Wouldn't say there's much benefit in moving your mains water and stop tap into an external unheated space.
     
  13. JohnD

    JohnD

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    It seems to me that the only immediate problem is the awkwardness of the stopcock being behind a cabinet.

    You could operate it with a longish T-bar handle, but it would need to be a good fit or the brass spindle end will get burred and rounded off.

    Or you could cut a bigger hole in the back and bottom of the cabinet (perhaps fit a removable cover, against draughts and vermin) so you can put a standard handle on, and get your hand in with ease.

    Have a huge sign to show where the stopcock is.
     
  14. Temmy

    Temmy

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    Thanks folks. If there isn't any lead to worry about (Anglican Water will be coming out to do a lead test which can apparently detect lead piping) then yeah, instead I'll just be opening up access to the stop tap and getting a new one fitted.
     
  15. dal5band

    dal5band

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    I think lead pipes were put in pre-war - certainly not in a 1960's house. Have a look outside on the pavement where there will be a small cover where your water pipe is connected to the mains - you will see a stop cock under the cover and be able to see the pipe going to the house. You can get the water company to turn your water off outside and have your internal stop cock replaced.
     
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