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Thread: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

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    How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    I have some old polybutle pipe that I am thinking of replacing with PVC. I have already had to repair two leaks in an area where there are tree roots and I think in the long run I will save money by just replacing that part of it. It is buried about 3 feet deep which makes it time consuming to dig down to and fix. I would like to bury the replacement pipe at a much shallower depth. What is the minimum depth?

    Also, any other comments or advice would be appreciated.
    36 x 18 oval pool, inground, plaster pool.
    27000 gallons
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    Pool built in 1971.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAtlanta View Post
    I have some old polybutle pipe that I am thinking of replacing with PVC. I have already had to repair two leaks in an area where there are tree roots and I think in the long run I will save money by just replacing that part of it. It is buried about 3 feet deep which makes it time consuming to dig down to and fix. I would like to bury the replacement pipe at a much shallower depth. What is the minimum depth?

    Also, any other comments or advice would be appreciated.
    The minimum depth would be the frost line for your area. Your local building department can tell you the frost line depth because all structure footers need to be below that line. I think when I built my deck in Kennesaw Cobb county told me the frost depth was 18" - but that was a long time ago and memories can be fuzzy, so verify.

    Now, just because it's at the proper minimum depth does not mean it is safe from people digging and such.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    You want pipes to be buried deep enough that they are protected from freezing. Generally 3-3.5 ft deep.
    Lisa
    Intex AG vinyl 15' x 48" 4,300 gallons due to skimmer install, Krystal Clear SF pump combo 2800 GPH, Krystal Clear SWG, Pool Blaster Max vacuum, Hayward thru the wall skimmer, TF 100 test kit with speed stir, K 1766 Taylor salt test, My SLAM Process

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    ship of fools's Avatar
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAtlanta View Post
    I have some old polybutle pipe that I am thinking of replacing with PVC. I have already had to repair two leaks in an area where there are tree roots and I think in the long run I will save money by just replacing that part of it. It is buried about 3 feet deep which makes it time consuming to dig down to and fix. I would like to bury the replacement pipe at a much shallower depth. What is the minimum depth?

    Also, any other comments or advice would be appreciated.
    I am waiting for answers to the same question but i am up north and have to deal with frost. My research of the subject led me to the conclusion that a foot or so is the minimum so you don't run into issues aerating the lawn etc. Other than that you should be fine.

    I know i need to blow mine out when i winterize but am concerned about frost heaves damaging the pipe.
    21,000 gallon inground
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Most installs don't put water lines below the frost line. Since they have to come to the surface at the equipment and at the returns and skimmer, it's pointless because you have to blow them out before winter anyway. Put them deep enough you won't puncture one planting flowers and you are good.
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    ship of fools's Avatar
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
    Most installs don't put water lines below the frost line. Since they have to come to the surface at the equipment and at the returns and skimmer, it's pointless because you have to blow them out before winter anyway. Put them deep enough you won't puncture one planting flowers and you are good.
    No concerns about frost heaves damaging the pipes??
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Quote Originally Posted by ship of fools View Post
    No concerns about frost heaves damaging the pipes??
    You are already above the frost line at the returns, skimmers and equipment pad. Deepest freeze I've ever seen here was 21". We generally put water lines at 3ft, but I've never seen a pool pipe more than a foot deep for the runs.
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    I don't close my pool in the winter. I leave it open and any time the temperature goes below freezing I run the pump. That is not all that often in Atlanta.

    So the frost line is not an issue. I hadn't thought about protection from things like a lawn aerating. As i remember the areater pulls out a plug about 3 inches deep. I would think a foot deep trench to lay a pipe less than 3 inches thick would provided a reasonable margin of safety, but someone please correct me. I am just thinking out loud and am not an expert. Maybe 18 inches would be better. Better safe than sorry and it wouldn't be that much extra trouble to dig to 18 inches.
    36 x 18 oval pool, inground, plaster pool.
    27000 gallons
    1 hp pump. Sand filter
    Pool built in 1971.

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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    The depth of a pipe is a code issue, so I'd call a plumber and ask them. They deal with this daily and will certainly know the regulations.
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuckiechan View Post
    The depth of a pipe is a code issue, so I'd call a plumber and ask them. They deal with this daily and will certainly know the regulations.
    Unlike the NEC which has an extensive section on pools, I've never seen anything but waste connections and heater installation mentioned in any plumbing code about pools. They exist in their own world where safety rules are the only concerns for the most part.
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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    The OP is in Atlanta. There will be no frost heave issues. Up north, a lot of pools are plumbed with black poly so if you do get any heaves, the pipes wiont shatter like PVC.

    If you dont blow the lines out, just run the pump in the winter when you may get a hard freeze. 1 foot would be fine.

    And there is no UPC code for actual pool return and suction lines, unless some local muni has one. But I would think not.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: How deep does pipe need to be buried?

    Thanks everyone for the info.
    36 x 18 oval pool, inground, plaster pool.
    27000 gallons
    1 hp pump. Sand filter
    Pool built in 1971.

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