Plumbing Question - Galvanized and Copper


Hello,
I had a question/concern. I have a 60 year old house that I recently had the majority of the plumbing replaced on. The house is small with just one bathroom/kitchen/spicket/utility tub to supply. This weekend, I had everything replaced but the horizontal pipes, since they were all in good shape and made the job much quicker/easier (cheaper). The charge was only $1200 to install the new copper, and now I'm a bit concerned after reading about connecting galvanized pipes to copper. There are four spots where this was connected directly - the kitchen (hot/cold) and the shower (hot/cold). The water main and the water heater both have dielectric unions to prevent the materials from corroding.
Anyway, everything is working great and in most areas, the pressure is noticably better. I've read in some spots that connecting the two metals will cause the galvanized pipes to deteriorate quickly, even if the entire plumbing system is grounded. I have seen several cases like mine where the connection was done in the same fashion (directly), but reading phrases like "rapidly speeds corrosion" has me a bit nervous and wanting to just have the remaining pieces converted.
Any suggestions/input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks! Eric
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I have been told that a brass fitting connected between the copper and galvanized will avoid the problem. I have also heard it doesn't help. Did they use brass fittings to join metals?
Bob
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Hi Bob,
After looking at photos online of different brass fittings, I believe they may have. The only photos I had viewed before were of dielectric unions, which they definitely didn't use..but brass is a possibility not that I think about it. They screwed the fitting in to the galvanized section and then welded the copper to the fitting..so hopefully the fitting is brass..it looks pretty similar to copper and I have no idea how to tell the difference visually, but I can't imagine the brass fitting would cost that much more than copper to the point that they would simply not use it. I will ask them tomorrow since they are coming by to fix a slow drip. Eventually, I'll probably just have the 4 remaining pipes replaced, but it seems somewhat common to just redo the horizontal piping.
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Brass is a little "yellower" than copper.
Bob

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This is not correct. You won't have a problem with galvanic corrosion between the copper and brass (anodic index difference of 0.05V), but you will have a problem between the brass and the galvanized steel (0.80V). An anodic index difference of 0.50V or less is recommended in a controlled environment (like a house) to avoid corrosion.
BRW
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On 24 Oct 2006 12:59:04 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bennetwilliams.com

Funny how all those houses built with galvanized pipe and brass fixtures worked for all those years...
sdb
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Bob F wrote:

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In theory, you can have accelerated corrosion at the junctions, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. I've taken some piping out on rehab jobs that were pretty old, and the corrosion wasn't a big deal. You could check the joints in ten years or so, and if you see anything going on, you can always change out to dielectrics then. The galv pipe is more likely to fail first due to calcium clogging. Bill

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My suggestion would be to do the rest of the piping. Also anyone that would do a quality job would of used a Dialectic Unions or better yet a dielectric nipples for the transition.
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section of galvanized with copper. The copper fittings corroded much faster than the galvanized did and in fact failed after less than 10 years. Now there are a lot of factors there, such as the quality of the work, the quality of the pipes, etc however I couldn't mistake the massive corrosion at the junction.
Get the rest of it done when you have the chance - otherwise it will eventually fail (10 years, 5 years, ???)
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Thank you to everyone for the input. I actually had the plumber complete the job when he was out here for a quick fix on the utility tub. $200 for about 2 hours of work, but the entire house is now completely done and my anxiety has finally returned to normal. Better safe than sorry, it certainly isn't worth the worry for $200 since I plan (hope) to sell in 2-3 years. In a buyers market like this, I'd have to have something small like that be a deal breaker when the remedy is/was fairly easy.
Thanks again.
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On 24 Oct 2006 11:05:28 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I dont understand what you said. Did they, or did they not use dialectric unions? They MUST be used or you will have problems in a short time. If not, call them back and insist they install them.
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