Galvanized Pipe Question

     I'm going to replumb my house, and replace the 50 year old galvanized pipe with pvc. The only part I'm leary about is the initial connect from water line pipe to pvc. How difficult will it be to unscrew the galvinized to fit a threaded pvc connector?
According to what I've read on the net, I need to cut the pipe and unscrew the remaining pipe, put in a preferably male threaded pvc connector, and go from there. I know Fernco makes a connector for this kind of thing, but no one at Ace's/Lowe's/Home Depot seems to have heard of it..
Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehile, but I'd hate to cut the pipe, and then not be able to take apart the remaining pipe. After all, its been setting under the house screwed in tight for 50 years. Any tips for loosening this stuff?
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When Norm, Steve and the boys were remodelling an old house I saw them taking out old pipe by breaking the cast iron elbows with a hammer. I would try unscrewing them first. I used a side grinder to cut some cast iron drain pipe. I suspect you will be using a combination of methods before you are done. If you start with a fresh galvanized coupling or elbow you can get a PVC male adapter to seal but I have had rotten luck trying to get an old one to seal. You can probably get a new coupler to seal to old pipe on the other side. We can start a flame war about whether pipe dope is better than teflon tape but I'm not playing ;-)
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

Not a mountain out of molehill. There are some very serious questions that need to be answered.
First, if the service from the street is galv iron, you may be wasting your time; it could be so corroded inside that wholesale pipe replacement in the house will have little effect.
Fittings *can* be removed from the threaded end of galv. BUT if the fitting is brass (like a valve body), chances are that there has been serious erosion of the galv threads due to galvanic (dis-similar metals) action. Often the threads will break off or be unuseable. Experience counts for a lot here...
Best chance to remove a fittting from galv pipe is to heat the fitting first; that will expand it slightly. Then use 2 pipe wrenches to unscrew.
If that fails, make a saw cut lengthwise thru the fitting. Then use a cold chisel to split it open like ripe melon. Doesn't need to be a big split, just enough to release the forces on the threads. A Dremel tool works too to make the cut. Be careful not to cut into the threads.
I would *not* use a female PVC adapter; they have a tendency to split. Use a galv coupling and screw a male adapter in.
The threadless compression couplings are called "Dresser" couplings (to name one). I would not use them on a service.
You want to use CPVC on the Hot side, not PVC. Your city may have a say in what you can use.
You may want to consider either PEX tubing or soft Type L copper tubing. Both can be pulled thru difficult spots without disturbing the building finish.
Your electric service is bonded to the water service line as a grounding means. In an old house it may be the *only* ground. Be sure you don't interrupt it.
If the house is 50 yrs old, there is a chance that the Cold side of all the piping was used to ground switch boxes and receptacles. When you abandon the galv, all of those grounds will be rendered useless. (Your house may not have used it, but it was common back then.)
Just some random things to consider...
Jim
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Where is your water meter , all pipe to the meter cannot be plastic and for strength , your shutoff and main drain its a good idea to continue with copper before plastic be sure you have good support. At least that is my areas code. I found out the hard way and redid it before they would lock my new meter. The plastic has to much give for support. As said already ck your grounds first, copper can be a cheaper alternative if grounding is a problem. Your water utility wll answer your questions and even have good ideas . They come out for free.
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Stuck galvanized pipe joints nearly always respond to supporting the coupling or other female threaded part on a heavy steel block and hitting it several times on the opposite side with a good sized hammer. You do not want to break the coupling, just flex it. If possible, go completely around the coupling with this process. I have loosened some very rusty and corroded connections this way and have never had it fail. Don Young

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Good advice from all. One thing not addressed: before starting to undo the fitting, have on hand (buy, borrow or rent) a hacksaw and a pipe threader. Pick a fitting that isn't right against something. If it doesn't come loose or ruins threads, etc. Just cut the pipe off and rethread.
Harry K
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On Tue, 13 Jul 2004 00:09:08 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:

Should be very easy...if you start at the meter...or the first valve coming into the house. And that's where you SHOULD start.
Break that coupling...to be sure it'll come apart easily. Then put it back on...so that the piping has its original stability...and start removing the galvanized with a reciprocating saw.
Pick the area you'll be doing in a days work...so that you can pick the spot where you'll be putting in a temporary transitional fitting...usually into a female galvanized fitting. Then thread a PVC (generic term) male transition fitting into that female galvanized...and call it a day.
The next day, start cutting from there.
As Jim mentioned, make sure you use the proper plastic for the hot and the cold.

That's not what I would recommend. Start at the meter...unscrew the hookup fitting...and start cutting from there. Don't try to unscrew ANY of the pipe...just cut.
Remember...if you want, you don't even need to do ANY cutting. Just install the new pipe along side the old pipe...and make the change at the meter when yer done. Sometimes this is a good way to do things...sometimes not. And some inspectors frown upon it.

Yes...DON'T. There's very few fittings that you'll actually need to be concerned about...at the hot water tank, maybe at some of the sink locations, etc. Most of these will have unions on them...so they won't be that difficult.
DON'T try to take out the pipe by unscrewing it. Simply cut it...reciprocating or rotary cutter (ZipMate, etc.) Or you can use a pipe cutter...regular or 3-headed.
If you get in a jam...and for some reason can't make a connection at the end of the day...simply install a valve...or even a cap...where you're forced to quit. The next day, cut it off and continue.
P.S. Make SURE you put in a new valve on the house side of the meter.
Good luck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
What do you call a smart blonde? A golden retriever.
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Dont touch your water meter , inform the water co , let them see the seal is ok and give you permission. They will also help on the proper way. They then come back to lock it up.
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Dont touch water meter , read post home repair
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On Tue, 13 Jul 2004 00:09:08 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote:
Thanks to all for the good advice! I had'nt considered the electrical grounding aspect of replumbing, and will check into that. There is copper running from the end of the galvanized water line to the water heater, so I guess I can place the electrical ground on that, and connect the re-plumbed cpvc line to the copper with a compression fitting.
I have done some plumbing work on the house - this spring me and a friend replaced the old iron tub and mildewy surround. Gawd, that was a _heavy_ tub! Anyway, going under the house revealed a plethora of plumbing technology. Mostly galvanized, but some copper and a bit of pvc. The cold water pipe to the tub went from galvanized to copper back to galvanized, so it looks like tha plumbing has been patched and added to in an ad hoc fashion over the years.
I had thought that I'd initially replumb the house, and later the water line from the meter to the house, but I may go ahead and do it all at one time. Its only a 2 bedroom/1 bath house, so its not a huge job.
Hey, thanks for the input! I know I have a bit of a job ahead, but feel somewhat better informed about it.
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Hello Everyone
I also have a 50+ year old house. I do know that at least one outlet is grounded to the cold water pipe as is the phone wiring. This is not a problem for me I can always change the wiring around. My real question is this - wouldn't copper pipe be alot better then plastic piping? I would like to replace the pipes since I am getting rust stains in the shower. Also since I have a crawl space should I use type k instead of type L?
Thank you, Jeff Remove NoSpam to reply, Thanks
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Kahlua53 wrote:

The answer is: It depends.
Copper is not the best answer if the water is aggressive (acidic). You might ask neighbors if they successfully use it. Type K is way too heavy; Type L is available in both rigid pipe and soft (bendable) tube and more suitable.
PVC (CPVC for Hot side) is easy for the DIY'er to work with and a great range of fittings is available.
There is also PEX tube but I don't recommend it for a first-timer.
On the grounding issue, there may be many more things grounded to the Cold water piping. The switch box and the lighting fixture box in the bath, for example. When you cut out the old galv pipe and interrupt the ground to those boxes, you won't notice it until one day there is a fault in one of the devices and the faceplate is live as you touch both it and the sink at the same time:-(
I don't want to stir up the controversy about what grounding methods are allowed now vs. then, but just to point out that there are hazards in willy-nilly removing old piping...
Jim
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Yes. Cost a bit more, but much better IMO.
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wrote in message

Well I can buy 'better' but much better I doubt. Plastic is much easier to work with though.
Harry K
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wrote in message

Forgot to add: Both are better than galvanized IMO.
Harry K
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Well, I would like to thank you all who have replied to this post. As for the grounding. This is not a big deal since I do know about wiring. The bathroom was never on a GFCI untill I move in. As for the kitchen an the untility room they still are not grounded. I guess I will do that next year:) I have been saying that for 8 years now...
I have worked with copper pipes and fitting before, so I don't mine using copper. I know of one guy down the street that did his house in copper. He said that he changed his because the hot water would flow very slowly when the water started to get hot. As for the water, I think it's good compaired to other areas here.
I don't know how long it will take to change the pipes around so maybe I will start buying some fittings and a water regulator since the water pressure is very high (95-100).
Question- The water main is 3/4" I will make the main runs in the crawl space 3/4" for the out side watering and to the hot water heater.
Should I also use 3/4" in the crawl space for the hot water? (the water regulator will not affect the outside watering) Should the water regulator be in the crawl space or in the utility room.
Thank you for the replies, Jeff Remove NoSpam to reply, Thanks
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Kahlua53 wrote:

|--------------------------------------COLD ----|--------X--------|-----------------O---------------------HOT | Reg Wtr Htr | |-------------------------------------------------------Outside
You can run 3/4" to feed the heater and also for the Cold run. If you make the Hot run *from* the heater 3/4", it will take twice as long for water to get hot at end of run and waste water and energy. Better to branch off with (multiple) 1/2" runs. Of course a lot depends on your layout.
After you install the Reg (Pressure Reducing Valve) you will likely need to add a thermal expansion tank at the water heater: http://www.flexconind.com/html/wh-series_.html
Put lots of shutoff valves in (ball valves are good choice here).
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comNo.Spam (Kahlua53) wrote:

Only if that runs drives more than one outlet, otherwise it is just that much more water that has to flow before you get hot.
The place to use 3/4 is like to a bathroom, where you don't want turning the faucet on to take hot water away from the shower. Or cold water <G>.
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"Kahlua53" wrote

problem
healthwise pvc is supposedly the best, read everything on this page http://www.curezone.com/clark/high.asp which includes:
"copper [pipe] (which leads to leukemia, schizophrenia and fertility problems)"
"Cadmium comes from the metal [galvanized] pipes...If you find cadmium in your hot or cold water, you will never be able to filter it out...The toxicity of cadmium, in fact, the high blood pressure connection, has been known a long time."

shower.
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I'll just point out that many places still have building codes that don't allow plastic for potable water.
Health issues don't impress the inspector, who will say "rip it out".
A huge part of the country uses copper pipe for plumbing without notable health problems due to it.
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