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Anybody ever capped a water line?

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  • Anybody ever capped a water line?

    Long, sorry. Crisis of the night on my farm. It's been that kind of weekend.

    Is this an acceptable DIY project, or would I be far better going with a plumber?

    This IS horse-related, because the whole reason the line would need capping is to save access to my frost-free hydrant earlier along the same line. If not for that line to the horses' trough, I could just leave the valve to this whole section of water lines shut off and not use it anymore.

    Background: Some years ago, I was getting the trailer I had bought set up in the back yard for Mom. Extensive digging to lay water line to it. I also asked for a frost-free hydrant myself while I was spending thousands to get a place on the farm fully functional for Mom. Due to my picked location for the frost-free, right across the fence from my trough, the plumber basically made a joint in the new water line to Mom's trailer to run to this hydrant instead of running the line from the hydrant to the well house direct, which would have been at an angle. So the sequence runs well house, second line out back of well house to Mom's trailer, junction with line to hydrant along that before you get to trailer. This had a separate shut-off valve in the well house attached to that whole second line, so I can shut off Mom's trailer (and my hydrant) while still having the original line out the front of the well house to my place turned on.

    Current situation: My brother, who has adopted Mom's trailer since her placement in 2008, came over just after he got home from work tonight to report an obvious broken pipe. Sound of gushing water, though no internal damage he could see. No water pressure over there. I had watered horses an hour and a half before with water pressure fine, so probably a new development. It's dark and negative-brrr outside; for tonight, I simply shut off the valve in the well house to the second line out, the one to the trailer and my hydrant. Pressure on the well was low and fluctuating when I went in, but it stabilized immediately when I shut off that valve and then steadily climbed back to its usual 40ish psi.

    I'll investigate further in the morning, but two extenuating circs here. First, Mom's trailer is rapidly degenerating, and I had already decided in conference with brother this weekend that it's hopelessly shot, with which he agreed. It's a single wide mobile home built in 1970. It served its purpose, and I knew when I bought it that it wouldn't last many more years, although I unfortunately also foresaw that Mom wouldn't live here many years, so didn't need a lengthy life on the trailer. To get it generally rentable, I'd basically have to replace the entire roof and most of the floor for starters. Brother is also about to move out anyway, relocating to another job elsewhere.

    Thus, this trailer is not worth any sort of large water pipe repair, is about to be uninhabited, and will not continue much longer to be habitable with or without a new pipe. Unless this is a very cheap fix, pipe just slipped off instead of burst or something, it isn't worth putting any real money into that trailer.

    But my hydrant is on that same second line, and I wouldn't take twice what I paid for my hydrant. Best improvement to date on the project farm. I was just appreciating its nonfrozenness tonight at chores. I'll have to turn the valve on for a few minutes tomorrow morning to refill the tank (hope water pressure is there, but hydrant is much closer to well than Mom's trailer is).

    So I figure what would be best is to cap the water line in between the hydrant and Mom's trailer, thus leaving the trailer disconnected and the hydrant fully hooked up.

    Is this something I can do myself? If so, how? I'm fairly practical and can follow directions but have never done this. Dig down to the pipe obviously; I know precisely where it is, having watched it all go in. Cut the pipe - with a saw? Is there a kind of custom-designed cap for this you can get at the hardware store? Glue it on, hammer it on, what? How much bother involved?

    Or should I just pay a plumber to cap it? How much would a plumber probably charge?


  • #2
    I'm assuming this is a PVC line and not a metal line - PVC is super easy.

    Buy a pvc cutter tool - ask at the store, small can of PVC glue, small can of purple primer stuff (though as this is temporary not 100% necessary) and a cap/end piece. The cap has to be the same diameter as the water line.

    Turn off water, dig down and a bit around the pipe, use the cutter tool to make a straight clean cut (water will still likely drip out - this is ok!), swab the all around the end of the pipe w/purple stuff, swab the inside of the cap w/purple stuff, swab around the pipe w/the glue, swab the inside of the cap w/glue and push the end cap onto the pipe.

    Hold for a few seconds and you have capped off your pipe! Leave the water off for awhile - I usually wait 24 hours if it isn't part of the house water system but that isn't really necessary (the exact time required will be on the glue can).

    Good luck - it might sound hard but it is very easy so easy that I ran all the water lines in our backyard.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks! Yep, PVC. I can measure it in the well house before it dives down into the ground, so I'll know what size I need before I dig.

      I'm not averse to calling in the experts when needed, but life on the project farm is redefining my idea of "when needed."


      • #4
        PVC is super easy to install and repair. You dont' even have to have a special PVC cutter, though it is easier. I just use a hacksaw to cut PVC. Make sure your PVC pipe is dry before you apply purple stuff (cleaner) and glue.
        Donerail Farm