Need quick advice for fixing galvanized horizontal hot water pipe in crawlspace (first time)

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Elmo wrote:

of pex. clamp, clamp. done.
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On Tue, 26 Jan 2010 13:06:01 -0600, Steve Barker wrote: Nobody told me that as of January 1st, 2010, Home Depot in California stopped selling the dialectric unions!
California law changed the guy told me. Dunno the particulars, but both Home Depots I checked had that entire section removed!
Will check Lowes tomorrow.
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On Jan 28, 6:27 pm, Elmo <dcdraftwo...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

My best guess is that the union that HD was selling ran afoul of Califonia lead content restrictions.
The are lead free CA approved units (I've seen them on the web).
Another reason to use PEX. Or get a union online
cheers Bob
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On Mon, 25 Jan 2010 06:49:54 +0000 (UTC), Elmo wrote:

Here's what I did:
1. I hacksawed the 45-year-old leaking 3/4 galvanized hot-water pipe to separate it about six inches from the fitting nearest to the leak.
2. I could not, for the life of me, get the fitting off, so I bought a really long aluminum handled pipe wrench that barely fit and even then, only horizontally, and after about 45 minutes, the pipe (which was now crushed flat on opposite sides) unscrewed from the fitting.
3. Surprisingly, the threads on the old fitting were still good. Amazing.
4. I followed the other end of the 3/4" galvanized steel pipe 25 feet to a fitting, yet, again, I could not remove the sawed-off pipe from that fitting. So I cut off that fitting and a couple of elbows and another 3'foot pipe and then unscrewed that pipe out of it's fitting. Again, it took about 1/2 hour with the much longer pipe wrench in a very tight crawl space.
5. Then I went to Home Depot and bought 30 feet of galvanized 3/4 inch steel pipe for about 15 dollars (plus 10% tax) each. Home Depot kindly cut the 3rd pipe into two smaller sections and threded both ends for me.
6. I picked up a couple of elbows, a "nipple", and a couple of couplings, one of which was meant for joining the last two pipes together. Also I picked up #5 thread paste, which was a yellowish gooey stuff.
7. I easily threaded the first 10-foot pipe, a coupling, and then the second 10-foot length. Then I started from the other end to bring the elbowed section to the original pipe. I was about an inch short in the end so I had to go back to Home Depot and have them cut and thread a pipe that was an inch longer than I had previously calculated.
8. The last pipe-to-pipe coupling went on relatively easily, but I had to take it apart four times to get it to not leak. It had a slow drip, maybe a drop every minute. I kept tightening it and taking it apart and repeating the testing process.
9. Finally, I went out and bought pipe teflon tape and wrapped that around the middle threads and tightened it up real good. This time it didn't leak.
10. By now, I was swimming in a mud bath. You can't believe how much water is in 50-feet of pipe when you have to break it open again and again!
11. Anyway, finally, that last coupling held tight w/o a drip but the shower ceased to work! Turns out it had "crud" that I must have dislodged, so I removed the inside filter and it worked again. I'm amazed those little rocks made it all the way to the highest point for water in the house, but they did.
12. I turned on the water and had myself a nice shower to clean all the mud and dust and spider webs off my clothes and body. Whew!
Thanks for all your help! The repaired pipes should last another 45 years, by which time I won't be around to worry about them.
I did have two questions though: a. I found out when I went back to Home Depot for the teflon tape that I used #5 goopy stuff but I should have used #2 apparently. Do you think it matters that I used the gas-line pipe goop instead of the water line goop?
b. Following the pipes while checking the others, I found a "ground" wire attached to the pipe but unconnected about where the hole to the water heater in the garage is. Do you think that ground was connected to the water heater (which was replaced about two years ago)?
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On Jan 30, 5:14�am, Elmo <dcdraftwo...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

was the old line restricted by rust inside?
I hate to tell you this:( and hope I am wrong but every person I know with galvanized started out like you.
Hey it leaks I will replace this area. nice all fixed:)
Uh oh another leak, oh well I was kinda rough on the lines getting them apart:( Well this time I will be more careful:)
Oh no now I have 2 leaks:( Geez this isnt looking good:(
At some point you will tire of peacemeal fixes and have to replumb your entire home.
Just be aware of it, its like cancer it SPREADS:( and all the lines are the same age and now at end of life.............
sorry to give you this bad news but you need to know..........
future plans and budget
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On Sat, 30 Jan 2010 07:06:58 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yes. The old line was almost totally plugged by globules of hard rusty stuff.
Hopefully it will last a year or two until I get back and get a job so I can afford the deluxe repair!
Do you think it's OK I used goop #5 (for gas pipes)?
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On Jan 30, 7:43 am, Elmo <dcdraftwo...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

Elmo-
Don't worry about the goop .....if it's not leaking now it probably will be fine.
I didnt quite follow your description....at some point did you use a 3/4" galvanized union?
cheers Bob
PS Owning a house built in 1930 (since 1979), I've gone through most of what you'll be going through. I fixed one leak in 1979 and never had another. Maybe 1930 galvanized was better than 1950? Who knows.
A trick to loosening old thread joints....tighten them just a tiny bit, just until you get relative motion. A trick I learned in 1980 (cost me $500 worth of pro-plumber work) , works every time!
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OP should consider turning main water valve off when not home... To prevent a flood if a line breaks completely. That happened to a friend of mine, he came home to a foot of water in his basement, stuff on floor floated and blocked basement floor drain.
he was lucky he has a nice shop in his basement and it all could of been underwater. he had come home early that day ill......
so if a flood can do damage turn water off.
hope OP gets a good job soon!
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On Sat, 30 Jan 2010 08:32:29 -0800 (PST), DD_BobK wrote:

Whew!

Yes.
I cut the pipe at the bad spot and removed about 25 feet of pipe. I ended up with a gap of about 22 feet in one direction and then about 3 feet at 90 degrees (and up about 4 inches higher so it was two more elbows and a nipple).
All that was easy.
The hard part was UNSCREWING the pipes from the two ends and then joining them at the 20-foot mark.
The single-piece galvanized union connecting the two ten-foot pipes was easy. The three-piece galvanized union which was the last piece that I put in was the one that kept leaking until I finally took it apart for the last time and gooped it up with the pipe thread sealant.
I ended up replacing about 25 feet because of the condition of the pipes.
|----10 feet ----||----10 feet----|{}|---2 feet---+ | 3 feet | | _
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On Sat, 30 Jan 2010 18:21:47 +0000 (UTC), Elmo wrote:

The picture got messed up. It was supposed to show what it looked like. All parts are 3/4" galvanized steel.
10 feet + 1-piece union + ten feet + 3-piece union + 2 feet + 90-degree-elbow + 2-inch-nipple + 90-degree-elbow + 3 feet.
The job was easy.
The hardest part was removing the old pipe (I crushed the first one before it finally came out with a 3-foot-long aluminum pipe wrench).
The most frustrating part was the 3-piece-union kept leaking. So I had to take it out multiple times and put it back. It was a swimming pool in that crawl space. I was amazed how much water was in the pipes, even after I bled them. The entire run is about 50 feet long so water poured out of both sides of the union even with the showers on and the faucets all turned on until they went dry on top.
But I learned they were soaking wet on the bottom.
Finally, around midnight, I was able to tighten all the parts.
Another problem was measuring. I learned that it's best to assemble everything EXCEPT the final piece. Then measure the final piece and have home depot cut it and thread it.
I first tried measuring the whole thing but came up an inch too short for the 2-foot final piece. Dunno what happened. I thought I had meausred twice but I ended up with a short pipe. Had to go back to Home Depot just before the 9pm closing to get that last piece.
Also, I should have bought TWO 3-piece unions because I would have swapped them out instead of trying to make the one I had not leak. Lesson learned!
Actually LOTS of lessons learned. - Buy a good drop light - Use a looooooong aluminum pipe wrench - Use #2 thread sealant (not #5) - Buy more than what you need (unions) - Measure the last gap at the end and have pipe cut & threaded to size
Also, I should have ADDED a shutoff down below! I only thought of that as I was crawling back up on the carpet above, full of mud and dust, time after time to shut off the water supply from outside the house.
If I had thought to put in a brass valve down below, I chould have shut off the water from below w/o having to get out of the house twice for each test (once to turn it off and once to turn it on). My back is sore from all the crawling. After a while, I had my own slithering style, with tools on my belly as I moved head first toward the opening of the crawl space in the bedroom closet.
Whew!
But it felt good, at midnight, to have it all working again! Thanks for all your help and advice. I'm STILL learning (even after the job is finished) from you guys!
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Elmo wrote:

maybe the phone line protector ground? (in/on garage)
-l
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