I was having one of those days when even the simplest tasks bring out the worst words in my vocabulary. I had just finished hand-digging a trench up to the house foundation wall and was attempting to install a roll of 3/4 in. PVC pipe. The pipe was rated at 160 psi, so it was the stiff, thick-walled variety. I needed the pipe to exit the trench vertically at an exact spot and, naturally, be plumb as it did so.
This simple task soon degenerated into what seemed like a wrestling match against a snake with an attitude. Everything I tried, including heating the pipe, wouldn’t allow it to make the necessary 90° turn without kinking. It was clearly time to consider my options. I could dig the trench deeper to give the pipe more room to make a smooth bend, but I vetoed that idea in another flurry of oaths. I thought about cutting the pipe and installing an elbow fitting, but abandoned the idea because the area was to be covered with concrete and I wanted to avoid any opportunities for future leaks. The elbow idea, though, did lead to a final solution.
I rummaged through my supplies and pulled out a 1-1/4-in. dia. PVC electrical-conduit elbow. It was fairly easy to push the 3/4-in. line through the larger diameter elbow. As shown in the drawing, this gave me the 90° turn I needed without kinking the pipe.
I set the bent pipe in its final position, encased in its conduit sleeve, and carefully backfilled the trench. Since that discovery, I’ve used this technique several times with good results: smooth bends, no kinks and better language.
Andy Beasley, Hillside, CO