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 Post subject: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:06 pm 
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Friends have had two leaks from their exterior water pipes, on their land. Result - big water bill.
He installed the system himself, having done some plumbing training in the UK. Local waterboard fitted the meter.
Anyone know the most likely reason for the leaks?
The first one he found after a reading by the water board 2 years ago. He turned off the supply ( to a garden hose ) but a second leak followed, which he didn't know about until this April.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:02 pm 
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Has he checked any joins in the pipework ? We had our plumbing done by a "professional artisan" when we first came to France. A couple of years later, we found a leak which came from a joint on a spur off the main incoming pipe. On digging down, we found the so-called professional had used a jubilee clip which hadn't been properly put on.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:38 pm 
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Patf wrote:
Friends have had two leaks from their exterior water pipes, on their land. Result - big water bill.
He installed the system himself, having done some plumbing training in the UK. Local waterboard fitted the meter.
Anyone know the most likely reason for the leaks?
The first one he found after a reading by the water board 2 years ago. He turned off the supply ( to a garden hose ) but a second leak followed, which he didn't know about until this April.


First of all is, how long is a piece of string ! the list of reasons why is almost endless

I've known of plastic pipes being worn through by the pipe rubbing on a sharp stone, thats why I advocate the pipe being laid in a Gaine for protection

Metallic pipes can can be corroded if laid in acidic ground

Acid water can leach out the Zinc in brass fittings

Also metallic pipes can be corroded by stray electric currents, or if used as the main earth conductor

Pipe fittings can pull apart under load, if not restrained

Any underground water service should be laid on suitable fill 15 cms thick, then covered with another 15 cms of suitable fill before being backfilled, the joints should be left exposed, and the pipework tested to at least one and a half times the working pressure, if not twice the working pressure and left for 12 hours, without the test gauge dropping

And it goes without saying that the pipework should be below the frost penetration, which could be up to two metres below ground level

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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:21 pm 
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Just to add another to Peake's list, if he does not have a pressure reducer and if your mains pressure is normally high, then a pressure peak could have blown some joints - this might not come up in UK training where mains pressure is often much lower.

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For every problem there is a solution that is simple, quick ..............and wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:25 am 
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Thanks Peake, and Andy.
I had read your piece in a plumbing forum, peake (as Plouasne), about being recognised as a plumber in France. This friend had done some training in UK but never registered as a plumber here, worked here as a handyman, jack of all trades. He had written to the waterboard claiming that he could give an expert opinion, and that they must have made a mistake. and very offended when they wouldn't accept this.
They had asked me to write a letter in french for them, which I have done, but I really think he's on a loser. He's now trying to prove that they were negligent in not reading the meter in 2015, but again he can't provide an expert opinion, which would be necessary.
From what you say, the leaks were probably due to a pipe fitting pulling apart under load, a surge of pressure. I think he knows that. But I daren't say more to his wife (my friend) or we'll be falling out.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:37 am 
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Patf - your friend could try talking to the CLCV, the consumer protection people. They were a great help when we had problems with an insurance company. I remember someone from the blue forum saying they won a case against EDF with the help of the CLCV.
However, as your friend doesn't have French qualifications, he may not get anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:32 am 
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Patf wrote:
Thanks Peake, and Andy.
I had read your piece in a plumbing forum, peake (as Plouasne), about being recognised as a plumber in France. This friend had done some training in UK but never registered as a plumber here, worked here as a handyman, jack of all trades. He had written to the waterboard claiming that he could give an expert opinion, and that they must have made a mistake. and very offended when they wouldn't accept this.
They had asked me to write a letter in french for them, which I have done, but I really think he's on a loser. He's now trying to prove that they were negligent in not reading the meter in 2015, but again he can't provide an expert opinion, which would be necessary.
From what you say, the leaks were probably due to a pipe fitting pulling apart under load, a surge of pressure. I think he knows that. But I daren't say more to his wife (my friend) or we'll be falling out.


Patf, that article was written many many moons ago, in fact I was banned from that forum for speaking my mind, about the state of UK plumbing and the six month "wunders" or so called trained plumbers

I would say that your friends husband is on a "hiding to nothing" with his problem with the water company, their responsibility stops at the outlet to the water meter, after that its down to you, and in any case after finding the first leak, why did he not check now and again the meter, to see if the water consumption was high

And as for an expert opinion, he would be eaten alive, by the water company, I was taught a long time ago to never give a bald statement like, expert opinion, I was told to give a qualified statement, like a "considered opinion" or "in my opinion", "x" happened, because if it came to a court of law, the other side could "shoot you down in flames, either by their legal side or get someone with more letters after their name

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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:35 am 
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peake wrote:
and in any case after finding the first leak, why did he not check now and again the meter, to see if the water consumption was high

Exactly - I said that to them which again made me a bit unpopular. He still wants to push the responsibility onto the meter reader. He's considering going to the Court of Appeal in Pau, which would cost him a fortune (and they haven't got).
Since all this trouble we've been checking our meter weekly, just in case.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:25 pm 
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I had an underground leak between the house and meter 5 years ago and managed to spot it before it got out of hand. I had to have the complete heavy duty PVC pipe replaced, trench and all. The original pipe was about 35 years old and just sprung a leak. Shortly afterwards the meter was read and the water company told me they thought I had a leak - no shit Sherlock. It came with a bill for over 700€. I went through the process and sent them the bills for having the leak fixed and they agreed I had been diligent and addressed the problem in a timely fashion. The important thing is to make sure you use a qualified artisan and that you can produce kosher billing.

I ended up paying a small portion of the bill.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:00 pm 
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Patf, A meter reader is just that, they read the meter only, so again I say, he would be on a hiding to nothing, if he takes it any further

DaveW, PVC pipe is supposed to be good for 50 years, if the water pressure is stable, the one thing it does not like, is fluctuating pressures, it tends to suffer from stress fractures if the water pressure fluctuates, as South West Water found out to their cost, when they had to replace about 50 miles of 60 cm dia PVC pipe, this was the trunk spine main serving Cornwall, from Liskeard to Penzance, the reason why the PVC pipe fractured, was SWW's rather dubious summer tactic of installing booster pumps, to boost the pressure, so that the trunk main could sustain the number of visitors to Cornwall in the summer

A PVC pipe sales expert assured SWW that the pipe would last for at least 50 years, but what SWW did not tell the PVC pipe sales expert, was that in summer they would boost the pressure of the water

But SWW was a bit like that get rid of the old timer's and get in university trained "newbies", one of the first things they did, when they moved from Plymouth to St Austel was to get rid of all their record drawings, "that take up too much space", much to my amusement they had to wait for me to return from France, for me to walk their man, around the village that I lived in then, to show the man where the valves, air release valves and branches were and what size they were, because they hadn't a bloody clue

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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:10 pm 
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Blaze - they've been to see that person - CLCV. They told the Maire, who advised to go to their insurer, after telling them they weren't covered the insurer sent them to the CLCV.
Dave - you obviously dealt with your problem the proper way - friend knew he could probably get a reduction with a report from an artisan, but couldn't, because he'd dealt with it himself.
I'm backing out now, some people just don't want to know.


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 Post subject: Re: leaks in exterior water pipework
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:22 pm 
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It's not always easy to help people and it sounds as if the problem comes from your friend's husband doing the work himself. It's the risk all of of take when we do our own work. Insurance companies and everyone else has an instant let out : Work not done by qualified artisan, ergo no receipts, no come-back.
It's also difficult if the advice or suggestions you give are not what the person wants to hear.


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