Home Owner Advice: What is a “Hot Tap” When Installing a New Water Service Line?

A Hot Tap is a technique that allows the creation of a new connection to an existing, pressurized water line without cutting it and disrupting water flow.

The process to perform a hot tap is as follows.

  • Expose the Water Main
  • Measure the outside diameter or “O.D.” of the pipe. We need this to order the right sized clamping device.
  • The water utility provider will determine the spot for a clamping device (e.g. a saddle or a tapping sleeve).
  • The clamping device is paired with the appropriate valve (e.g. a ball corp).
  • With the clamping device and valve in place, the water utility or a tapping specialist will use a hot tapping machine to drill a hole into the water main while keeping the pressurized water under control.

In the first picture below, you see City workers, in this case, Redwood City, performing a hot tap on a water main. In this job, a tapping sleave was used along with a large valve to tap for a new 6″ line. This is a larger tapping machine than would be needed for a single residence. The second picture shows an installed saddle, ball corp and HDPE 1″ pipe that was installed for a single family home. The hot tapping process is similar in both cases.

CIty Workers' using a Hot Tapping Machine performing a hot top into a 10" water main.
CIty Workers’ using a Hot Tapping Machine for a new 6″ line.
Saddle, Ball Corp and new HDPE Pipe for new water line
Saddle, Ball Corp and new HDPE Pipe for new 1″ line

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