Iron water pipe question

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I'm having the foundation replaced on a house we just bought. The existing water line is now exposed and is 3/4" (what was originally galvanized iron). IF I can't cut this pipe off clean and re thread the end, what are my other choices for adding on to it? Going all the way back to the meter is not really an option due to distance, expense, and a sidewalk it goes under.
thanks for any and all ideas.
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Steve Barker









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If you can't get the pipe out completely, and you can't rethread it, you're out of options. You can't connect to iron pipe without threads. It won't solder, and it won't take any sort of compression fitting.
I suppose you could get it welded, but they have to be real good at it, and it won't cost much less than excavating to the meter. Having a weld joint fail later means you dig it up again.
If you really can't get that pipe out, get it rethreaded, and go directly to thickwall copper at least to the first accessible point in the basement (eg: so you can reestablish at least part of the building ground via the pipe). You'll need a dialectric union between the iron and the copper.
You should run something like a skewer or a screwdriver into the end of the pipe and see what the inside of the pipe is like. Chances are that the insides are so badly crudded up`that the flow rate is quite restricted. I've seen 3/4" pipe crudded to an inside diameter of 1/4" or less. That's why people don't use iron any more.
It's sometimes "fixable" without removing the pipe (water company has "thumpers" to jar crud loose), but that:
1) Doesn't always work 2) Sometimes doesn't last very long 3) May rupture it and you have to dig it up anyway.
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Chris Lewis,

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speaking as someone who just had to do it, bite the bullet and go all the way back to the street. . My house was built in 1967 with galvanized iron coming in. By the time 2006 came around it was leaking at every joint. When you thread a pipe you strip off the galvanize. So rihght at the joint there is no rust protection. It took 40 years to rust thru . You'd be surprized what they can do to not disturb the landscape. THese guys drilled thru the basement wall, and dug a hole at the connection point (it was straight shot) andf they sledge hammered a pipe thru from the basement. THey said they had a machine to do it but they left it at the shop. I now have a blue plastic pipe going out. Estmated cost $3000 but I havent got the final bill yet.

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Thanks for the reply.
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Steve Barker







"jmagerl" < snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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Thanks Chris for your reply. I haven't really taken a real close look at it yet, and the foundation man and I haven't talked about it yet. It's just folded back (by the track hoe) and smashed right now, so I can't see the condition of the inside of it. I was going to hacksaw it to get a good view. Also,I was going to consult with the foundation man, then proceed. He MAY have an idea about going to the meter after all.
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Steve Barker







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Steve Barker wrote:

I didn't see you mention how old the installation is, but I'd pretty much echo Chris's take. If you're going to the effort of replacing a foundation and have the gear there plus the investment, makes a lot of sense to me to replace this at the same time -- the incremental cost would seem likely to be pretty small in comparison.
You could go plastic for the feed rather than copper, though, if it's a question of containing cost.
--





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On Tue, 24 Jul 2007 13:27:24 -0500, dpb wrote:

I would if at possible replace that iron to the demark where the water supplier is responsible for the pipe.
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House was built in 1907. I don't know when the town brought the water in. And yes, I'm starting to lean towards going to the meter.
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Steve Barker







"dpb" < snipped-for-privacy@non.net> wrote in message news:f85gds$vcj$ snipped-for-privacy@aioe.org...
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Steve Barker wrote:

I just finished commenting to Chris on he might be being overly aggressive here, but this pretty much confirms the hunch that probably would be a good investment. This house built about that time and was last redone sometime in the 40s/50s. Every time we have reason now to touch any of the buried (and there's a lot, it's a farmstead, not just the house) it's a problem to find a good place to quit and replacing it all when it doesn't (yet) leak is a needless expense and waste of time more valuable elsewhere.
It's all 2" w/ 1-1/4" distribution side lines, though, and I'd guess altogether there could easily be a mile or perhaps even more. One of the things I always intended was to get Dad to make a drawing of what he remembered of where all the lines run, but of course, one thinks there's always time "later"... :(
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dpb wrote:

You can rent the locator units from United Rentals and others. A days rental and some ambition and you should be able to map all of it.
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Pete C. wrote:

...
Far better/more pressing things to do -- when a leak appears it lets me know where it is... :)
And since everything is flat and grandfather and Dad both _always_ laid everything out "dead square with the world", its never hard to tell which direction the run will go from any given point. The real trick is where there have been either crossfeeds or bypasses in the past that end up with surprises of which way the feed actually comes, for example.
Of course I do add to what is known whenever work is done, however.
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If you have digging equipment there, take advantage and have him trench a new line either beside the one you have to avoid damaging the meter set or possibly you would prefer a better location in the house so dig the trench back to the meter, if you go across a sidewalk, it should be easy to punch a hole across and under the sidewalk to get the pipe through.

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Folded back by the backhoe?
Oh my. By all means hacksaw/inspect it for curiousity, but I'd lay odds that if you were to cut off the bent back bit and pressure test what's left, it'll leak like crazy. Iron pipe _does_ get fragile, and having it yanked around like that won't have done it any good.
I don't think you have a choice any longer. Replace back to the street. You're already partway there. The rest won't cost nearly as much as it would later, and a new supply line will almost certainly vastly improve your water flow rate (that people taking showers when you flush the toilet will appreciate ;-).
Good burial rated plastic is fine too, and will be less fussy than copper. But remember you'll probably have to restablish your grounding electrodes from scratch. Not too difficult or expensive, just don't forget to factor it in to the budget ;-) Now that you have the foundation out is a good idea to consider a Ufer ground. [Grounding laid inside the foundation footings. Consult electrician.]
Good luck.
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Chris Lewis,

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Chris Lewis wrote:

I know galvanized gets a real rap at ahr and for some reason, but I think it gets to be otoo k&t wiring and other witch hunts as excessive.
While I've already recommended OP strongly consider replacing it given the amount of other work apparently already undertaken it can't be _that_ much additional expense, unless it's in really bad shape I'd expect a few feet back from the damaged section it'll be just as good as it was before they began digging...
I'd at least want to know more about how old it actually is before being _too_ assertive.
imo, etc., etc., ...
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I helped a friend replace his kitchen counter top, sink and faucet in a upper-ish end apartment building built in the late 50's. Tenantship tends to be handed on across generations. He had "inherited" it. Vacancies seldom on the open market... Nice place.
Three floor building I think. The building was only ~30 years old at the time, and Toronto water isn't known for being nasty to pipes.
"Come on over, it'll take only a few hours, and we'll have wine and cheese afterwards" (What, you think I work on other people's renos for free? ;-)
During the previous year (and expected for the next one or two years) the building owners were slowly replacing all of the iron/galvanized pipe in the building. Not because iron pipe was getting a bad rap, but because it was leaking. They may have been trying to schedule sections to do, but they ended up having the leaks themselves determine what parts to redo next.
Most units had at least one or two leaks. My friend had just had the bathroom replumbed and tile wall redone. Water damage visible on the corridor walls in several places.
Friend gets key for utility room, warns neighbors, goes downstairs, and shuts off supply valve for his and a couple adjacent units.
Got the old faucet, sink and counter out. Installed new counter. Install sink. Going quick, lots of time for refreshments afterwards. Gotta have my cheese. At least the SOs haven't eaten it all yet.
Install new faucet, I attempt to connect fittings...
Me: "Er, are you sure these are pipes? Looks solid core to me... You gotta see this...".
Him: "Wha? Holy s**t!" (swearing is rather unusual for him ;-)
The iron pipe was crudded up to the extent that you could barely get a pipe cleaner (not a plumbing pipe cleaner, a smoking pipe cleaner!) The wire would barely fit. Had to start the hole with a screwdriver, and spent more than an hour reaming them out. Messy - the kitchen was clean up until that point.
Another hour+ trying to get connections we _think_ might work.
A 1-2 hour job has turned into 5+.
Didn't get to the wine and cheese, because it took so long, and we had to leave. "No cheese? Aw........"
At that, we didn't get to hear about the final event until the next day:
Friend goes downstairs to turn on the valve. Cast iron valve _body_ cracks, commences to flood basement. He turns off water for the whole floor. 24 hours later they get water back. And another few pipes spring a leak somewhere else.
Much deserved bad rap. And this stuff wasn't buried or yanked around by backhoes.
Most iron/galvanized installations existing today are near the end of their expected lifespans, or are probably within 10 years of it. If you're halfway there, it's best to finish it.

Which may not be saying much. And a few feet back from the damaged section is all that closer to the street ;-)

Etc. True.
Without seeing it, I'd assume it's in or close to the state where it really should be done. If I were the owner, I'd have to be persuaded by a really competent plumber to _not_ replace it. Given he already has earth moving equipment available, finishing it should be cheap.
To paraphrase the Queen: "Never pass up a chance to replace old plumbing".
[She is known to have said "One thing that helps me cope with my schedule to never pass up a chance to go to the bathroom" ;-)]
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Chris Lewis,

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wrote:

My house was plumbed with steel pipe about 1976. This spring I had to replace a steel nipple that would not flow water. Literally, valve on, end open, no water. It was the feeder for a frost proof hose bib. Last fall it flowed a decent amount of water, but after no usage all winter, nothing came out in the spring.
sdb
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Good point about the grounding. I'm going to have to re do the ground(s) anyway since the original rod was dug up. The footing are already in, but I can take advantage of the big hole all the way around to put my ground rods in before backfilling. That way less pounding on my part.
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Steve Barker







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Loose burial may not count. Generally speaking, ground rods have to be driven vertically into relatively undisturbed soil, or buried _inside_ poured concrete. Consult electrician first. A plate electrode might be a good idea instead.
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Chris Lewis,

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wrote:

I've seen them fasten a polyethylene pipe to the end of the old galvanized, and literally pull the old pipe out of the ground, dragging the new one behind to replace it. requires a pit at both ends. Sounds like you already have one. :) Also requires a straight run (no elbows) between the pits.
sdb
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sylvan butler wrote:

And this is one of the tools I mentioned at the beginning of this: http://www.griceindustries.com/about.html
In applications where the service lateral length is long or deep or passes under obstructions, you can not beat the savings over brute force ditching.
If this job meets some of those criteria, call around for a contractor who does this work.
Jim
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