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    Thread: Replacing Old Galvanized Water Supply Lines

    1. Member Eye Candy White's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 11:54 AM #1
      All,

      I'm in a 1937 cape cod with galvanized water supply lines.

      I'm planning to remodel the first floor bathroom soon, and am wondering how involved it is to run new water supply lines. My pressure isn't the best with 70 some years of buildup on the inside of these galvanized lines.

      I know that a lot of people are using PVC or flex piping in lieu of copper these days. My question is, how hard would it be for someone to install this new piping themselves? My pipes all run visible to the eye in the basement. How do these new pipes tie back into my copper supply, etc?

      Any good advice or literature, and even information on pricing would be much appreciated.

      Thanks in advance.


    2. 03-01-2010 12:22 PM #2
      Quote, originally posted by Eye Candy White »
      All,

      I'm in a 1937 cape cod with galvanized water supply lines.

      I'm planning to remodel the first floor bathroom soon, and am wondering how involved it is to run new water supply lines. My pressure isn't the best with 70 some years of buildup on the inside of these galvanized lines.

      I know that a lot of people are using PVC or flex piping in lieu of copper these days. My question is, how hard would it be for someone to install this new piping themselves? My pipes all run visible to the eye in the basement. How do these new pipes tie back into my copper supply, etc?

      Any good advice or literature, and even information on pricing would be much appreciated.

      Thanks in advance.

      Its time consuming but really it is very easy. Remove old lines, replace with new section by section making sure your joints are PERFECT everytim, and then turn back on. I redid a whole mess of old threaded copper pipes in my basement and replaced with all new copper. Took a day or so but the flow is much better now.

      You also may want to consider CPVC. Very easy to work with, and there is no flame to work with. you do need to let it cure for a day or so however unless using fittings like sharkbite (which I hate) so that may not work if you need the water asap.


    3. 03-01-2010 12:33 PM #3
      I've replaced all the old galvanized pipe in my 100 yo craftsman with either copper or PEX. The toughest part is figuring out where to make the switch. Obviously, the more galv you can remove the better. I went all the way to my main shut off valve and un-threaded the house side galv and used copper to do the main floor. It was easy to do because I was remodeling the kitchen at the time so everything but the bathroom was exposed. I adapted back from copper to galv at the bathroom.

      I turned the attic into a master suite so I ran PEX from the basement to the attic. I did that because it was easier to fish flexible PEX upstairs through the walls. I then ran all the fixtures upstairs in copper.

      I'm now doing PEX in my downstairs bathroom that I had left as galv. PEX has come a long way since I first did it (15 years ago). It's a very DIY friendly process. You can use barbed and crimped connections or you can use push connect fittings - I've only used the barbed stuff so I have no opinion on the push types.

      If I was to do it all over again I would use PEX for the entire package. If I was to make a recommendation, I would look at using a manifold PEX system and do all the fixtures as home runs (one continuous pipe from manifold to fixture - no tees). A friend did that in an application similar to mine and it worked really well.


    4. Member Eye Candy White's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 12:52 PM #4
      Appreciate the input thus far.

      Depending upon the price of CPVC or PEX, I would love to just replace everything.

      I am in a 3 bed, 1.5 bath cape cod. I only have the master bedroom upstairs - no plumbing.

      And even though I have plaster walls and ceilings in my basement, all of the plumbing is run below it, so I really can access everything. I only have the kitchen sink, toilet, bathroom sink and shower on the first floor. I can see everything. I would only need to maybe enlarge some holes in the basement ceiling to really see and fish stuff in/out, but everything is very accessible. I'm thinking the CPVC might look nicer in the end, since I will still see all of these pipes from the basement. Thoughts?

      I'd love to get rid of the galvanized for flow and also water quality reasons.

      Any more recommendations for PEX vs. CPVC?

      Thanks again everyone.


      Modified by Eye Candy White at 12:53 PM 3-1-2010


    5. Member IJM's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 02:37 PM #5
      I've always been of the impression that CPVC was not a very good long-term solution.

    6. Senior Member spockcat's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 03:26 PM #6
      You will have better flow/pressure if you use a system that doesn't have 90 degree bends (ie. PEX).

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      03-01-2010 03:49 PM #7
      I have no experience with PEX; can't comment on it.

      I plumbed a house using PVC for pressure and drain piping. It is easy to use; about all that you need for tools is a measuring tape, a hacksaw, a pencil, a utility knife to remove internal burrs from a cut and a coarse file to remove external burrs.

      You can buy adaptors to transition from PVC to galvanized or copper.

      The plumbing is about 16 or 17 years old now; works fine and makes no trouble. It's easy to break into a line and set up another run such as for an outside hose tap, insert whole house and drinking water filters or plumb in a water softener. If you change your mind about the layout at any time, it is a simple matter to remove what you don't like and do it over.

      While doing the work you can stop where you are, cement a cap on the end of a pipe run and turn the water on after an hour. The next day you can saw the cap off and continue where you left off.

      My neighbor left his house for the winter after blowing the pipes out with air. He did not do one run quite well enough so the water in the pipe froze and split the pipe. It was a cheap and simple matter to graft in a repair section using sleeves.

      A large array of fittings is available including sleeves, hose bibbs, corners, tees, transition pieces etc. The piping and fittings are inexpensive.

      The cementing of joints process was totally reliable for me, no leaks.

      I have no complaints about water delivery speed. Our bathtub fills a little slowly but that is due to the small orifices in the temp controlling faucet.

      Make sure that your code permits PVC piping.


      Modified by Tinker Toy at 2:50 PM 3-1-2010


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      03-01-2010 03:49 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by IJM »
      I've always been of the impression that CPVC was not a very good long-term solution.

      My Parents have had CPVC in there house for 20 plus years and never had a leak.


      I think it's alot like what car you like. I like VW's but the next guy will say he's never heard of anyone that has had a good VW experiance and he only buys Chevy's. Then some one else will chip in with how they prefer Ford over both. Just replace the Car Manufacture with Copper, CPVC, blah, blah , blah

      here's a link that shows the Copper VS CPVC arguments.
      http://www.buildings.com/Artic....aspx

      I replaced all the old falling apart copper in my old farm house with CPVC. I wasn't going to spend 2-3 grand on copper piping vs 400 bucks for CPVC

      Plus The money I got for the Copper pretty much paid for the CPVC and then some. Whatever you go with good luck and don't forget to post up some pics


    9. Member Eye Candy White's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 05:12 PM #9
      I appreciate the feedback.

      I definitely think that CPVC is sounding like what I'm interested in, although I'll have a look at the products and prices when I go to purchase.

      I'd love to get rid of all of the galvanized piping, and I can't wait to see how small the inside of the supply lines to my shower have gotten. I'm pulling good pressure from the street, but my shower is borderline terrible.

      Thanks again, and I will certainly post some before/during/after shots once I decide on a plan of attack.


    10. 03-01-2010 05:24 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by 883sportster »

      My Parents have had CPVC in there house for 20 plus years and never had a leak.


      I think it's alot like what car you like. I like VW's but the next guy will say he's never heard of anyone that has had a good VW experiance and he only buys Chevy's. Then some one else will chip in with how they prefer Ford over both. Just replace the Car Manufacture with Copper, CPVC, blah, blah , blah

      here's a link that shows the Copper VS CPVC arguments.
      http://www.buildings.com/Artic....aspx

      I replaced all the old falling apart copper in my old farm house with CPVC. I wasn't going to spend 2-3 grand on copper piping vs 400 bucks for CPVC

      Plus The money I got for the Copper pretty much paid for the CPVC and then some. Whatever you go with good luck and don't forget to post up some pics

      both have their merits, and in my house I actually installed both copper and CPVC for a couple reasons. For my basement supply lines I used all copper. I did this because copper is naturally antimicrobial making it more difficult for germs and bacteria to live in the water systems. Also with the vales used for CPVC they often are restrictive and go to smaller diameter, whereas brass valves used in copper systems do not. Third, I like the way it looks

      Now for my third floor bath I used CPVC. I did this because the old lines that were run up to the third floor were tapped directly off the 2nd floor baths lines. This meant that flow to the third floor would be drastically lower if someone was using the second floor bath. To run new lines I was using an existing laundry chute. I could use solid copper because it was too rigid to get into the chute, and flexible copper lines are silly expensive. I ran the new 1/2 cpvc lines up to the third floor, and plumed it up there in cpvc too as to avoid any hidden copper to cpvc fitting that could one day leak.

      Both work very well IMO. I have never used PEX piping but it is also supossed to work very well, however it does use a special crimping too for the fitting and because of that I never used it.


    11. Member Craige-O's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 06:43 PM #11
      PEX only for me
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    12. Member schwank's Avatar
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      03-01-2010 07:01 PM #12
      Oh man... we just did this in most of my house. The original stuff was nasty. Our water was incredibly hard. Seems to be a bit better on the routes with all plastic now...

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      03-01-2010 08:39 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by Eye Candy White »
      I'm pulling good pressure from the street, but my shower is borderline terrible.

      Before you redo your piping, be sure that the showerhead is clear of rust particles.


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      03-02-2010 02:21 AM #14
      Quote, originally posted by Eye Candy White »
      I'd love to get rid of all of the galvanized piping, and I can't wait to see how small the inside of the supply lines to my shower have gotten. I'm pulling good pressure from the street, but my shower is borderline terrible.


      I removed galvanized piping in my 100 yo house, and I could not see through a 3 feet long pipe.

      I used copper.

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    15. Member Eye Candy White's Avatar
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      03-02-2010 09:00 AM #15
      It is unreal the buildup in these pipes.

      I removed/replaced the drain pipe for the bathroom sink in the fall, I'll post up some pictures later today hopefully.

      There may have been a pin head's worth of room for water to drain.


    16. Member IJM's Avatar
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      03-02-2010 05:40 PM #16
      Here's a few pictures I snapped when I ripped out the 60-year-old galvanized pipe last year.


    17. Senior Member thewhitsnpt's Avatar
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      03-04-2010 11:10 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by Craige-O »
      PEX only for me

      Bingo. Just did a washing machine hookup on the 1st floor of a house. Used Wirsbo Aquapex. No 90's just bend supports. Plenty of hangers so it looks good. When done right, pex is not just faster but a better product than copper.

      Check out this site.

      http://www.uponor-usa.com/

      Good luck man.

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    18. 03-04-2010 11:27 PM #18
      Use sharkbite, it's a little more expensive but it's virtually fool proof. Have used numerous times in my 1920 home.
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      03-05-2010 02:54 AM #19
      you need to verify what is required by local codes and install as needed. some jurisdiction require copper for supply, others allow alternate materials.

      not installing per code can and will come back to bite you if/when you sell. do it right the first time and follow the rules/regs as they are there for a reason more often than not.


    20. 03-06-2010 11:58 AM #20
      PEX is awesome! I constructed a 1 bedroom basement apartment and used PEX for everything. It's easy to work with, safer, cheaper and more reliable

    21. Member MN6845's Avatar
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      03-07-2010 02:05 AM #21
      Most of my old plumbing has been replaced with copper except in my kitchen. Make sure that the old galvanized pipes do not have asbestos wrap. If they are wrapped (looks like an off white insulation secured with metal bands), you need to have a professional remove the asbestos before removing the old pipes. Just a heads up.

    22. Senior Member thewhitsnpt's Avatar
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      03-07-2010 10:57 AM #22
      Quote, originally posted by Massecar »
      PEX is awesome! I constructed a 1 bedroom basement apartment and used PEX for everything. It's easy to work with, safer, cheaper and more reliable

      Yes it is. I am a licensed Pipefitter and have been using it for well over 10 years. Very good product.

      There's several brands but 3 basic types. Potable water Pex for water lines only. Heat Pex(HePex by Wirsbo) that has an oxygen barrier for use on heat lines. Can be used for water but is more expensive than regular Pex. And then there is the granddaddy of PEx, lol. The aluminum wrapped pex. Can be used for heat or water lines and has an aluminum outer skin. Reduces the amount of movement when it heats and cools therefore reducing noise when in contact with wood,etc. Also is easier to make straight runs when exposed since it is more rigid.

      Check out Uponors website for more info as they produce most of the brands of Pex.

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    23. Member Eye Candy White's Avatar
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      03-07-2010 11:36 PM #23
      Appreciate all the heads up info.

      Fortunately, the pipes are all exposed, no insulation. It's only the HVAC ducting that is wrapped in asbestos , so those aren't going anywhere.

      I'll definitely have a look into PEX - it sounds like a great product, and don't have to worry about cement setting, etc as with CPVC.

      Thanks again.


    24. Senior Member thewhitsnpt's Avatar
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      03-08-2010 07:21 AM #24
      Your welcome. Good luck with your project.
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    25. 03-09-2010 10:29 AM #25
      Question, sorry to thread jack, is it ok to use the white PEX for hot water rad lines? Just a short run to a reloacted rad, not the whole house. Thanks!

    26. Senior Member thewhitsnpt's Avatar
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      03-09-2010 12:54 PM #26
      Must be rated for heat. Has the oxygen barrier built in so it doesnt absorb oxygen into the system.
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    27. 03-09-2010 01:55 PM #27
      Cool. I'll check to see if it does. I'm assuming if it doesn't have that, that would lead to extra air getting into the system? Is that what that means?

    28. Senior Member thewhitsnpt's Avatar
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      03-09-2010 02:03 PM #28
      Yes, which would cause problems with piping and equipment.
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