Long nightmarish story short, I ended up breaking off the tub filler
pipe BEHIND THE WALL while trying to twist just the chrome filler
piece off. 26 years of corrosion won over solder. Gut-wrenching
sound...not good. Basically when I cleared a hole to have a look the
pipe coming down from the on/off handle was crimped and not happy.
Anyway since then I took the whole assembly down to Home Depot to get
replacement parts, consisting of a copper elbow joint and a 6"
Galvanized Steel tube to fit onto the new replacement tub filler.
I straightened the pipe and soldered the joint ok, (well it was a
messy job but it worked), used plenty of plumbing tape for the
twist-on joint, and after double-checking for leaks I just duct-taped
over the hole for a week's worth of observation before re-tiling.
Better safe than moldy.
When I turn the tub on after an overnight's worth of sitting, I get a
nice splash of rusty brown water. I don't have any other brown water
coming from any other place in the house, so it seems it's just the
little dabble of water that sits overnight in the filler tube.
Will this eventually resolve itself? The original pipe appeared to be
galv. steel and never puked rust since we got the house. Plumbing is
all copper otherwise. Isn't galvanized steel supposed to resist
rust?? If this is going to continue, and I prefer it doesn't, what
else should I have used?
Seriously, if they'd make cars that had joints based on something as
tough as corrosion we'd all be safer. Plus, you could just leave it
out in the rain to make it stronger. :)
You're right; a galv nipple should not corrode (readily).
Any chance they sold you a Black iron nipple? Sometimes the
outside almost looks shiny enough on them to fool you.
I prefer to make the "lookout" nipple out of copper.
Solder a male adapter on one end, tape it and screw it in.
Cut the copper longer than needed.
Put just a tiny blob of solder on the second male adapter
(to hold it in place) and screw the spout on.
Carefully measure the space between the back of the spout
and the tile. Cut exactly that amount off the copper pipe
and then permanently solder the adapter back on. The spout
will now fit tightly against the tile. Put some caulk between
the spout and the tile.
Eh.. not real likely. I've worked with an iron nipple adapter once
and the thing was beginning to rust on the way home. This was
actually labeled as galvanized.
<snip great idea>
I'll see about giving that a whirl. Maybe you'd like to see the mess
Before, just after ripping the tub spout assembly off. Note the
lovely hole I've got to work in and the crimpled pipe. Thank goodness
for the box of spare tile.
After, with new joint soldered in place and the new galv pipe sticking
out. Hopefully I can still get the damn thing off without breaking
something else. This time I'll start to work AFTER I have a shower.
All the fittings have an ungodly amount of space between them and the
wall, and previous owners have just caulked the hell out of it. The
custom pipe length would definitely solve this.
I'm not looking forward to working on this. Plumbing projects make me
swear like a sailor! However the wife's not enjoying the duct-tape
decor so I must press onward.
The original pipe appeared to be
Can you spell GALVANIC CORROSION?
If there's water puddled up inside there touching both the copper and
the steel (galvanized or not.) and the water isn't pure as the Virgin
Mary, the zinc galvanizing and then the steel will start to corrode away
faster than you can say Jill Robinson.
Here's a picture of half of a galvanized steel nipple that corroded
right through on me and started weeping about 6 months after
installation. The photo shows it after I scraped out all the thick brown
rust that almost blocked it completely:
FWIW this nipple was one of a pair screwed into the top of a replacement
electric water heater I installed in our home. Sitting on top of those
two nipples were a couple of dielectric unions I slavishly bought and
installed because "everybody" said to use them between the steel heater
tank and the copper house piping.
After both unions corroded badly I turned on my brain and realized that
those dielectric unions weren't doing anything other than making my
wallet a little lighter because they were shorted out by the electric
ground through the power wiring to the heater and the bonding ground on
the copper piping.
I replaced those dielectric unions with all copper unions standing on
If you dig around the web you can locate a fairly recent technical
memorandum by the Rheem water heater people advising AGAINST the use of
dielectric unions or dielectric couplings when installing their water
heaters, for the very reasons I just mentioned.
> If this is going to continue, and I prefer it doesn't, what
> else should I have used?
A brass nipple of the appropriate length, or as others have suggested,
"roll your own" from a length of copper pipe and a couple of male adaptors.
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in public
My guess is that the new fitting opened up the water flow
considerably and you are getting sediment from the lines that has
built up over the years. It will go away so don't fret.
On 10 Aug 2004 12:23:45 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Steelskin)
I've had the exact same problem. Going on 7 years now, still not gone...
I don't use the tub much, so I just ignore the problem. I also suspect
corrosion in the short filler tube.
I'd be interested in finding out what you find and how you fixed it. Please
post here. Thanks.
OK. Today I went to Home Depot with hopes of doing it the way Jim
proposed with the copper pipe & soldering. Well as I stared blankly
at the selection of solder-on nipple parts and tried to fit them with
the copper tubes, my patience level dropped a few notches, as I was
going to be late for work. I went back and forth a dozen times
(nobody was handy) and I eventually decided to pick up a brass 5"
nipple pipe instead, since brass was mentioned by several people. The
nipple it had before was 6" and it stuck out like mad. It cost around
To my delight, the tub filler casing unscrewed politely from the
nipple, and the tip of the galvanized steel pipe had a bit of rust on
it. It's been not even 2 weeks.
When I unscrewed the end near the elbow and my solder fix (VERY
carefully I might add) I was shocked to see this:
It's eaten a groove! Naaaasty!! This was definitely not sediment
especially since the entire line of pipes aside from the elbow was
vertical. So anyway I cleaned out the threads with a paintbrush and
wrapped the brass nipple with lots of tape, and lo and behold it's
secure and not the slightest bit of water leaking. I'll give it a few
days of testing just to make sure though. The tub filler casing
screws on securely and without a spacer ring goes and right to the
The original ring got pretty banged up when I got mad the first time
so it's useless anyway. Once I get the tile all fixed up (I'll
probably have to replace 4 tiles by the time I'm done) I'll just
discretely clear caulk it and that's that.
So anyway, if your problem's been going on 7 years now, it's probably
because the water hasn't eaten ALL the way through the pipe yet. I'd
look into it. I work in a real estate office and mold is nothing to
I'll post pics when I get to the tile part. It'll be my first tile
Yep! I had the same rusty water problem on my shower. Instructions for the
new valve I installed said use a black iron nipple. So I got rusty water.
Had to tear into the wall again and replace with a brass nipple.
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