Pipe Threader

I want to replace a large section of the galvanized pipes in my 70 year-old house. I'm comfortable with all aspects of the project except I've never used a pipe threader.
I have easy access to the galvanized pipe after it comes into the basement (there's no meter). There's two joints where I can start the new piping (with a di-electric union). The plan is to start with the more distal joint and hope it comes apart without breaking. If it breaks, then I'll go to the more proximal joint (and pray). If that piece breaks, I'll have to learn to use a pipe threader (which I can rent).
So my question: How difficult is pipe threading? How likely is 70-year-old pipe to stand up to pipe threading? What's the best way to cut pipe before threading?
Would anyone recommend changes to the plan?
Thanks, Mike
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mike wrote:

Hmmmmmmmm. 70 yo galv and you're only going to replace *part* of it? Chances are good that the parts you *don't* replace are the worst ones.
You plan to re-thread old pipe in situ? Presumably up on the ceiling? I wouldn't unless there were no other possible way.
There are existing di-electrics which you plan to uncouple? Or you plan to add them? I ask because it was very common 70 yrs ago to use the galv pipe as the grounding means for fixtures, switch boxes, etc. throughout the house. Introducing di-electrics or abandoning runs can result in electrical hazards which don't become immediately apparent.
What's the motivation behind this project? Are there specific sections which now leak and must be replaced?
My experience on lots of re-piping projects tells me that this one isn't going to go well. And this post wasn't intended to be offensive.
Jim
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Parts have already been replaced with copper. I'd like to now replace the remainder. After pipes take off for the second floor, a di-electric was installed on the main feed and copper was run to the first floor. I'd like to run copper to the second floor as well (basically converting the whole house to copper - except the city's supply which is galvanized still).

It's galvanized pipe coming into the house. Is there a better way to change to copper rather than cutting, threading and di-electric? I'm open to suggestions.

The electric system has been or will be updated so this should not be a problem. Good point, though.

No leaks, but terrible water pressure up to the second floor. The areas that have already been replaced revealed build-up obstructing nearly all of the pipe. I was amazed we had any water getting through the pipes.

I'm here to learn. Any suggestions?

And it wasn't.
Mike
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mike wrote:

<SNIP> You *might* get away with hand-threading the stubout from the street. If the pipe starts to rotate, have a helper put a pipe wrench on it. I would have a backup plan for water in acse things go wrong...
There is an alternative to threading- mechanical compression couplings. But I'll bet they are prohibited by the utility for services.
Finally, you may go thru all this and *still* find that the pressure/flow is less than needed because the service line is clogged. 70 yrs is a *very* long time for a galv service. I would be putting pennies in the piggy for a service replacement.
Jim
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Are you going to install new galvanized piping? Why not go with copper or PEX?

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PEX is obsolete because the fittings are prone to catastrophic failure.
OP is already going with copper just needs to make the final connection. IMHO Copper is the gold standard of modern plumbing. PVC may be just as good under the right circumstances (and generally easier to install) but I just can't accept plastic as being as strong as metal.

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No, it is not and they are not. You are thinking about that disaster with polybutylene pipe. PEX is fine and is being installed all over the place - vastly easier to work with.
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wrote:

Thanks Ed, you beat me to it.

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Piece of cake as long as you are not prone to accidents, and as long as you consider yourself to have good common sense.
Keep one thing in mind. The pipe threader is extremely powerful. The gear reduction is tremendous and will not even slow down if you get something caught up in it. It also takes a while to coast down.
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Not very difficult. I learned to do it when I was 12 years old.

Now that's funny. I would not even THINK about it.
What's the best way to

Pipe cutter?

I'd not use galvanized pipe.
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I don't understand how I can get copper to the rest of the house if I can't thread the old galvanized (or use an existing joint). How does one accomplish this?

The galvanized pipe is already there. I'm trying to cut it back to the city supply line (galvanized) to install copper.
I'm open to suggestions for easier/better ways to accomplish this.
Thanks, Mike
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I think that IS how it is done. You need a copper fitting threaded to mate with the galv pipe on one side and slip fitting to solder to the Cu pipe on the other. Threading the feeder in situ is probably your only choice under the circumstances. Use pipe dope not tape.
I have seen pipe threaders that work like large ratchet wrenches. Use a large monkey wrench to stabilize the pipe and lots of oil when making the thread cut. Probably a 2 man job.
Worse that can happen is you dig up the yard replacing the feeder with copper to the meter at the street.
wrote:

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Guys how about a ccompression fitting to connect to the old galv pipe?
btw i have an 1930's house that still has some of the original galv steel pipe in service.
I rethreaded a leaky section about 25 years ago with a ratchet handled threaded. When you thread a pipe it will tighten any fittings, up or down stream; think about it.
Twenty five years ago when I had the yard redone, I put in 1" copper from the meter to the house. I plan to re-pipe with PEX (just got hand expander on Ebay)
OP, hand threading is easy (if you're young & strong enough)
The few times I did it in the crawlspace I used a Sawzall (not enough room to swing a pipe cutter). Cut the end as square as possible, debur with a file. When attempting to start the threader apply as much axial (in-line) force as possible until the threader grabs.
But serious you might consider a compression type adapter fitting so you wind up with a galv, plastic, copper sandwhich.
http://www.tps.us /
Series 6000 Long Body Compression Fitting
The Series 6000 Long Body Compression Fitting fits steel tubing and PVC pipe (IPS sizes). It is made from tested components including a reinforced NBR gasket and a galvanized body. The Compression Fitting installs in seconds and can be easily adapted to fit copper sizes.
cheers Bob
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Be gentle. Apply heat to the joint if it doesn't want to come apart easily.
I changed a couple shutoffs in a house about that age. Came apart fairly easily, and went back together, too.
Use two wrenches. One to steady the pipe you are saving, the second one to turn the fitting. Commonly called "crossbucking" or cross bracing.
Incidentally, are you a doctor?
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Christopher A. Young
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Did the "distal" and "proximal" give me away?
Mike
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Yes, I was wondering. Not many folks use anatomical terms on plumbing. I wonder, though, if I were to use heating and AC terms during cardiac surgery?
"I think we need a compression fitting for that 1/4 OD length of vein. Hang on there, well, I guess a nylon flare would do better. Pass me that utility knife, I've got to slice out some of the gunk that's clogging the ventricle. Wow, what a pressure drop there. He's hardly got any PSI, nor any GPM flow through that ventricular vein. Hand me a 1/4 fitting brush, and let me see if I can polish that out, a bit. Oh, gosh, vibration again. Hand me that length of 440 watt one phase, I've got to devibrate the heart. CLEAR!!!!! OK, now, would the gas and electric department give me a report on the gage pressures? How we doing for return airflow? Maybe we oughta pressurize the intake air, you think?"
On second though, maybe I'll stick to heating and AC?
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Which naturally leads into the inspector/permits/paperwork : HMO analogy.
Mike
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mike wrote:

Have you considered replacing the galvanized pipe at the shut off, where you can unthread what is left of the iron and insert a short nipple plus a dielectric union - or perhaps just a brass fixture, threaded at one end and sized for a copper pipe at the other.
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That would be ideal.
What's keeping me from doing it is a fear that if things go wrong there, there's no where else to go (without help and $$).
If I start a little distal to that, I have some extra space to get things right. That's why I figured I'd start at a joint, if that goes wrong I'll have room to cut the pipe and try to thread what's left.
If, however, I get the first joint apart easily (I can dream, can't I?), I may get brave and take it back to the shut off.
Thanks to everyone for their help. As always this group is a great resource.
Mike
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Please remit $47.50 consultation fee. Unless we come out to the house and help with the work, and then it's $197.99. Who's your plumbing insurance carrier, and policy number? We'll have to call for verification and validation of your policy limits, and the applicability of this coverage in your state. In the meantime, would you please take this clip board and fill it out in duplicate on both sides, sign and date, and return to the receptionist?
Oh, remember -- use two pipe wrenches. Turning in different directions. The one on the "staying still" pipe keeps the stationary pipe from coming out of the fitting which is out of sight. I've heard this called crossbracing, or cross bucking. It's kinda like having your anaesthetist hold the pt's leg while you saw on it. Keeps things from moving. I'm guessing you don't want a leak way into the wall where you can't get to it.
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