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I will be installing a hose spigot in a lower patio area that, till now, has had to have several lengths of hose to provide water for some potted plants. There is an existing spigot on a 3/4" copper pipe on the other side of the house a good 65-80' depending on the route I choose to take. I plan to tee off of it and then it will go one of two routes to the lower patio.

Digging a trench may not be an option due to rock and trees in the way so, it may be exposed to sun light, which would be a good reason to go copper but that could (will) get costly and be a lot more laborious then PVC.

If I do go the PVC route should I use the same diameter pipe as the copper service? Do I have to bury it? If I can't bury it, what are my options?

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Do you not have easy access from inside house to the new location? A new run inside will make it a lot more protected. –  HerrBag Jul 4 '13 at 1:28
    
The outside location is the closest least fuss location unfortunately . –  AGS Jul 4 '13 at 3:19
    
There is a piping we use in NZ on farms but it's not PVC. I forgot the name but I have used some to permanently extend some taps from my house into the garden. They take the pressure and impact and don't need to be buried although it's good to do that just to protect them... I'll try to find out what it's called –  Matt Jul 8 '13 at 23:00
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3 Answers

PVC does not need to be buried, however the advantages are:

  • Protection from impact breakage (schedule 40 PVC is relatively brittle and can break easily).
  • Protection from UV light (PVC like most plastics is affected by UV, this can be overcome by painting the pipe).
  • Protection from freezing, if buried below the frost line.

As for pipe size, it depends on the size of hose spigot you use. It will most likely be 1/2" or 3/4" (some come with both sizes). When dealing with different materials, use the same nominal pipe size (3/4" copper = 3/4" PVC).

Personally, I would look at using PEX pipe and bury where possible. The exposed pipe will be less susceptible to breakage than PVC. Also due to its flexibility, you can run it without the need for additional fittings. If you don't have PEX crimpers, you can use Sharkbite push-on fittings (the same fittings can be used to transition from copper to PEX).

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Some localities might want anti-siphon at the originating spigot, if not already supplied (comes standard with freeze-proof spigots). –  HerrBag Jul 4 '13 at 1:25
    
Thanks ill look into the anti-siphon. Is PEX available at Home Depot / lowes or should I look to a specialty hardware store in my area –  AGS Jul 4 '13 at 3:22
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@AGS - If you live in a freeze zone you will also want to put consideration toward how the exposed and added piping gets drained out. An anti-siphon valve at the original spigot location may be needed as HerrBag has commented, however this does not automatically protect the external piping from freezing. This is also the reason that HerrBag recommended the possibility of running the new spigot from the inside of the building structure. If the new spigot is mounted at the wall line with an anti freeze valve then there is no worry for the outside pipe problem. –  Michael Karas Jul 4 '13 at 9:23
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PVC is manufactured using a type 3 resin. When exposed to heat and UV it releases extremely dangerous toxins. This can be very dangerous when drinking from the pipe.

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What we use here in NZ on farms and so forth is a piping product we called Alkathene. It's actually a polythene based LDPE piping and you can get matching fittings for it. I'm sure you'll be able to find it where you are but it may be named something different. This stuff is much tougher than the garden watering system type piping you get. It can take a strong mains pressure and not leak. It's easy to work with, easy to cut and flexible.

It looks like this:

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And you can get a range of fittings like right angles or Reducing elbows with which you can screw a normal tap fitting into etc. Some of the fittings don't require any plumbing tape.

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I used some to extend my house hose tap from the wall to a place more useful in the garden. I did that by removing the old tap and permanently fitting the alkathene to it using the appropriate fittings. A few times I've had the water freeze in the pipes due to heavy frost but there was no leak or burst pipe issues. Part of it is buried and part is also out in the open under the harsh NZ sun. So I think it would work well for you. Use U clamps to anchor it against a wall or concrete patio or whatever and route it where you want it to go.

I guess you're wondering, why it's not used indoors? Well, I'm not really sure. It might be because it's less rigid and perhaps not tested for the indoor environment. Farmers have been using this stuff here since the 1980's. I can also tell you the run to my hose tap has never leaked in the 8 or so years I've had it installed (except when I ran over the exposed bit with the lawn mower by accident!). Anyway, do check it out as a possible option over regular PVC.

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