How Deep Should A Water Line Be Buried? (Find Out Now!)

How Deep Should a Water Line Be Buried?

There are so many things to worry about when you’re in the process of building a new home. You have to worry about its design, its sturdiness, and how comfortable it is. With so much on your plate, it’s easy to forget about other essential matters such as the connections to your home.

To be more specific, you need to worry about water lines. Do you know how deep those water lines should be buried?

Water lines need to be buried at a certain depth in order to stop them from freezing over. Because the climate varies from one state to the next, the recommended burial depth also changes. Building codes in your area may also play a role in determining how deep the water lines should be buried.

Burying water lines at the right depth is a must for all homeowners. Learn more about that important topic by reading on.

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Why Do Water Lines Have to Be Buried at a Certain Depth?

There are two main reasons why water lines need to be buried. Both of them are related to protecting the water lines themselves.

First off, water lines must be buried so they don’t get damaged constantly. Exposed water lines are more susceptible to wear and tear. They may also sustain damage accidentally if you’re doing some yard work. It definitely makes more sense to bury the water lines from that perspective. Doing so is better for the pipes and for your safety as well.

The other reason why you should bury water lines is to stop them from freezing over. Water lines will freeze in a matter of hours if they stay at a temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Placing them underground can stop that from happening.

How Deep Should Water Pipes Be Buried?

Now that we understand why water pipes need to be buried, it’s time to figure out what the right depth is. When trying to answer that question, you first have to consider what kind of pipes you’re dealing with.

Are you talking about supply lines or supply lines? It’s important to make the distinction because they are handled very differently.

Burial Depth for Sprinkler Lines

Sprinkler lines are easier to bury underground because you don’t have to worry about freezing. When the weather starts to turn cold, homeowners can simply drain their sprinkler lines. As long as you drain the sprinkler lines completely, they should remain intact through the winter.

Burying your sprinkler lines about eight to nine inches into the ground should be enough. They will be protected well at that depth and you can still get to them easily, if a replacement becomes necessary.

Burial Depth for Supply Lines

Burying supply lines is significantly more complicated compared to sprinkler lines. That’s mainly because there are guidelines that must be followed for burying water supply lines.

The required burial depth for a supply line, otherwise known as the frost line, is not the same throughout the country. Since different states have different climates, the required depth changes accordingly.

Included below is a table detailing the frost lines for all 50 states. The details included come courtesy of World Population Review.

State Frost Line (In Inches)
Alabama 6
Alaska 100
Arizona 10
Arkansas 14
California 5
Colorado 44
Connecticut 36
Delaware 32
Florida 0
Georgia 5
Hawaii 0
Idaho 31
Illinois 36
Indiana 36
Iowa 58
Kansas 32
Kentucky 15
Louisiana 4
Maine 74
Maryland 30
Massachusetts 32
Michigan 42
Minnesota 80
Mississippi 8
Missouri 33
Montana 61
Nebraska 48
Nevada 23
New Hampshire 60
New Jersey 36
New Mexico 18
New York 50
North Carolina 10
North Dakota 75
Ohio 32
Oklahoma 20
Oregon 18
Pennsylvania 44
Rhode Island 38
South Carolina 4
South Dakota 64
Tennessee 12
Texas 10
Utah 30
Vermont 60
Virginia 18
Washington 24
West Virginia 32
Wisconsin 65
Wyoming 56

Additional Note on Burial Depth for Supply Lines

We’ve listed the frost lines for the 50 states above, but that’s not the only guideline you must follow. There may be other ordinances governing water line placement that are in effect in your area.

Your homeowner’s association may have rules regarding how deep water supply lines must be buried. Due to the characteristics of the soil in your neighborhood, the local government there may also recommend burying the pipes deeper.

Who Can You Ask about the Right Burial Depth for Water Lines?

Identifying the frost line for your specific neighborhood can be a bit tricky. Even if you know what the frost line is for the state, it may still differ for your property.

It’s best to be absolutely sure about the frost line before you start digging. The last thing you want is to set the pipes in place only to find out later that they’re too shallow.

To find out the frost line for your property, you can talk to your neighbors. They should know about the frost line especially if they’ve been in the area for a long time. If your neighbor doesn’t know, you can call a plumber in the area. You can definitely expect an answer for them.

Another option is to contact 811. 811 is the number to call before you initiate any type of deep digging on your property. You can also head over to 811’s website if you need assistance. After contacting 811, they will ask you to supply some information. They will ask you where you’re planning to dig along with some identifying landmarks. They will also inquire about the reason behind your digging project.

Make sure that you contact 811 at least a few days before you plan to start digging. Representatives for the relevant utility companies still need to visit your property and note where their lines are buried. It may take them a few days to show up so it’s best to call well in advance.

Both homeowners and contractors can contact 811. If you’re busy, you can ask your contractor to handle this part of the project.

What Type of Pipe Should You Use for Your Water Supply Lines?

The type of pipe you use for your water supply lines can greatly affect the quality of your plumbing for years. You need to think carefully about which type of pipe to install.

Listed below are some of the different types of pipes that are used as supply lines. Check them out to see which one will be best for your home.

Brass

A lot of homeowners like brass pipes because they are very durable. They do not rust over and friction loss is also not an issue with them. Brass pipes even excel at transporting hot water.

However, there is a chance that some brass pipes still have trace amounts of lead. You obviously don’t want lead anywhere near your water supply. Talk to plumbers about which brass pipes to use if you’re interested in them.

Cast Iron

There was a time not too long ago when cast iron pipes were the top choice for water supply lines. Considering how sturdy they are and how well they handle heat, you can easily understand the appeal.

So, why did cast iron pipes fall out favor? The simple answer is rust.

Rusting over is a serious concern with cast iron pipes. They need to be checked regularly to ensure that rust particles do not contaminate your water. Many homeowners didn’t find cast iron pipes to be worth that trouble so they went with other options.

Copper

Copper pipes work great if you need water supply lines. Those pipes can last for several decades without leaking and they also inhibit the growth of bacteria. Copper pipes also have no trouble dealing with very hot or very cold water.

Acidic water can be an issue for copper pipes, but that can be resolved easily. The real drawback to installing copper pipes is cost. You must be willing to make a significant investment if you want copper supply lines connected to your home.

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipes have gained a considerable amount of popularity among homeowners. Their durability is a big reason why they are so appealing. It also helps that they are affordable and easy to install.

Avoid using PVC pipes to transfer hot water though. The hot water can cause the PVC pipes to warp and your plumbing system will suffer as a result.

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Related Questions

Can You Put Water Supply Lines in the Same Trench Together with Electric Lines?

You may not have a lot of available space for trenches on your property. Because of that, you’re considering putting the water lines and other utilities in the same trench. You may be specifically thinking of putting the water and electric lines together.

But would that even be allowed? The answer is yes. However, you do need to keep them apart by some distance.

Water and electric lines must be kept at least 12 inches apart. You should be fine as long as you abide by that rule. You can also consult with a plumber to figure out how to put those lines in the same trench.

How Do You Find Water Lines Buried Underground?

Do you need to replace some busted water supply lines? Don’t just dig blindly in an attempt to find them.

Use a pipe locator so you have a better idea of where the water supply lines are. You can also hire a plumber to find the buried water lines.

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Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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