I've got two pipes that lead to and from a small size water heater in
my garage. The pipes coming out of the water heater are copper and
converge to lead. There is a 90 degree turn from the in/out's on the
water heater and I've been able to get the 3 foot section of lead pipe
unscrewed from the next 90 degree turn that bends into a 10" section
of pipe that is screwed into a "T" junction on the water lines. It is
this 10" section and 90 degree turn that I can't remove from the "T"
Looking at the lead pipe, there appears to be some sort of white paste
that was used on the pipe when the pipes were joined many years ago.
I've tried to torch to pipes to loosen them, but nothing. I'm using a
Pipe Wrench to try and remove the pipe...
I want to replace the pipe with less than 1" extension from the "T"
and make it CPVC to a 90 degree elbow on a new raised platform the
small water heater will be on.
Can anyone suggest how to "FREE" this pipe? Is this some sort of
bonding agent between the "T" join and the 10" pipe?
BTW: The pipe is less than 1" thick, 10" is the length.
Lead pipe? I hope this isn't potable water...I suspect that it is just
black iron since the pipe wrench would have destroyed lead pipe if you put
any significant torque on it.
The white stuff is thread sealant and nothing to worry about.
In order to unscrew the pipe you may need to do a couple things:
1) soak the joint in a corrosion dissolving agent such as PB Blaster
2) heat the "T" with your torch. Do not apply the torch to the 10" nipple
since the idea is to get the "T" to expand slightly more than the nipple
which will break the corrosion bond in the joint.
Heating nearly always works. It may be necessary to improvise a heat shield
to protect any flamable material which happens to be nearby. Some folks
keep a fire extinguisher (or even a bucket of water) handy just in case.
If all else fails, cut the 10" nipple in the middle and use a Sharkbite
fitting to make the transition to CPVC.
Galvanized steel pipe.
It might be cost effective (if you value your time) to tear out a bit of it
and replace it with some type of plastic. The plastic fittings can be
"pricey" but the tubing is just down in the noise.
Peweter/gray sounds like galvanized iron pipe which used to be commonly
used for potable water systems. A Sharkbite wouldn't be a good idea for
that pipe since the water would be exposed to the zinc. Avoid breathing any
fumes if you apply heat to break the joint loose. Zinc poisoning is not
fun. If you do breath fumes and wake up tomorrow with aching joints, drink
lots of milk. Don't ask how I know this...
Heating might be tough to do if you're using a common propane torch. It may
take several heating/cooling cycles to break all the corrosion. You could
try rapid cooling of the nipple to help develop differential expansion.
Just a note here about zinc poisoning. You are not going to
get zinc poisoning from heating a galvanized pipe. If you cut
it with a oxy/acetylene torch, and you cut enough of it, you
may get poisoning. To counteract the effects of zinc
poisoning, you must drink milk BEFORE any symptoms appear, or
it is too late. You won't die, but you will be sick. It
takes quite a bit of cutting of galvanized materials to get it
however and unless one is super susceptable to zinc, one pipe
will not do it.
And you MAY ask me how I know. I have cut ALOT of galvanized
materials in the industrial world and have suffered the
effects only once, but that was enough for me.
Educational mode off!
I believe it because it was what I experienced and was taught
while employed by Brown & Root, Valkem, Payne & Keller, just
to name a few. We were given safety classes in the hazards
that we would and did face on a day to day basis while working
in chemical plants, oil refineries and power plants.
Although the safety personnel and the medical personnel that
gave us our safety instructions were careful to point out that
milk is NOT an accepted treatment for metal fume fever, we
were told to come to the safety office and drink milk under
the supervision of a safety officer BEFORE we were allowed to
torch cut, grind, or weld on galvanized. Typical CYA in action.
Here is a bit more safety info on this condition for those
that may be torch cutting or welding galvanized metal:
You may notice that no mention is made about milk. That is
because it is NOT considered a valid treatment. Milk works
great if you drink it before ingesting fumes. The half gallon
that I drank after the fact had no effect whatsoever and I had
symptoms for 24 hours after exposure.
No treatments at all are mentioned at that link so I'm not suprised that
milk isn't there. Since the typical zinc poisoning lasts much longer than
24 hours perhaps the milk did do some good? The welders I worked with
believed in milk.
I know that you will believe what you want. I will do the same. As usual,
the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.
You may believe what you will. For the others in here that
may have the occasion to cut (with a torch), burn or weld on
galvanized metal, it would be in their interest to NOT believe
as you do. They may get sick.
For the record: If you must work with galvanized metal
(cutting, burning welding) then you should drink milk before
and/or during exposure. If you wait til you get symptoms, it
will be too late. After all, we are not talking about heroin
here, just milk. The rate of 1 pint of milk per hour of
exposure has served me well for the last 35 years. I have
only been sick once. I will not be doing that again. The
trip to the emergency room, the pain, the discomfort is not
worth saving the price of a pint of milk, or waiting til the
symptoms occur to test Clarks hypothesis.
Provide adequate ventilation, avoid the fumes, wear breathing
apparatus in enclosed spaces and drink milk.
I have been exposed to months of cutting and welding
galvanized steel in the fabrication of handrails, grating,
platforms, catwalks, galvanized stairways, demolition of
industrial plants, etc. I am not guessing here. I have been
to at least 20 safety orientations that have discussed this
Metal fume fever (or as we called it: fitters fever) will not
occur with incidental exposures, but if you are exposed to
fumes for more than 15 minutes, then you are susceptible. It
is no fun. If you go to the emergency room, they will give
you an analgesic (aspirin) for the pain and perhaps a
cortisone shot. Then you just have to wait for it to go away.
I have seen it last from 12 to 48 hours. It usually starts
about 6 to 24 hours after exposure. Mine set in about 12
hours after exposure and lasted 24 hours. That was after milk
and a trip to the ER.
I don't like to see info that may make people sick when they
don't have to be.
Then you wear an respirator approved for zinc exposure. That's not so hard
now is it? Yup the respirator is a little uncomfortable but it is better
than the poisoning yourself.
Look Robert, you said if people did what I said they would get sick. That
is clearly a false statement. In other words Robert, you are clearly
incorrect about what I said and any harmful effects of following my advise.
If you wish to misconstrue things that is your business but I will expose
your false statements. Got it?
Which one of my statements is false? If you wait to drink
milk until symptoms are present, you are already sick,
correct? Even if your theory (which I have seen proved wrong
in the real world) were correct, waiting to drink milk until
you are sick, by definition means that you are already sick.
If you advocate doing that, then your advice is going to make
people sick, needlessly.
Do you stand by your recommendation to wait until symptoms
appear before drinking milk IF you are exposed to fumes?
Perhaps YOUR need to be correct is overpowering your cognitive
Which one of your statements is false? Show me where I said wait until
symptoms appear before drinking milk. I never said that at all. Go back and
re-read every post and you will see that I never said "wait". Do you see
your error now?
Here is summary of your position and mine.
You: If someone is going to be exposed to zinc fumes it's ok if it's for
less than 15 minutes. Drink milk before the job if the exposure is going to
Me: Avoid exposure. If you are exposed, then drink some milk because it
will reduce the symptoms.
Now Robert, how will someone who believes as I do be more likely to get
sick when I advocate avoiding exposure entirely? That's right, they aren't
more likely to get sick. In other words: your claim that if someone
believes as I will get zinc poisoning is false. Do you get it now?
About the only thing I can add is that I could have used the word
"accidently" in front of "exposed" to make it clear to you. Clearly I
failed to take into account your ability to misinterpt what I typed.
By the way, only one of the URLs posted even mentions treating the
symptoms. In other words, your post didn't support you claim that drinking
milk after the exposure is not helpful.
You can appologize any time you want.
If you are changing your story now to agree with mine, then I
have no problem with what you are advocating. But previously,
"Zinc poisoning is not fun. If you do breath fumes and wake up
tomorrow with aching joints, drink lots of milk. Don't ask how
I know this..."
I take this to mean that if you are exposed to fumes, then if
you should feel any symptoms, drink some milk. Or are you
trying to say that one should NOT wait to feel symptoms to
take precautionary steps to avoid them entirely? If that is
what you were trying to say, then you failed in your
presentation, this is a misunderstanding and you agree with me.
I then responded:
"...To counteract the effects of zinc poisoning, you must
drink milk BEFORE any symptoms appear, or it is too late...."
To which you replied:
"....Also, milk helps even after the fact."
It may help, but only in the sense that you only think you are
dying for a shorter period of time.
Incorrect. I advocate avoiding fumes entirely. (Look at the
websites.) Sometimes you can't. Incidental exposure will not
cause problems. If you are exposed for 15 minutes or more,
then you are at risk. That is different than your summary.
Correct summary of your statements: Avoid exposure. If you
are exposed and you feel symptoms, drink some milk, it will
lessen the symptoms. (I assume that this means you will only
think you are slightly dying.)
If they avoid exposure, there is no problem. But if they take
the rest of your advice after being exposed then they may get
sick. If you believe that you should wait until you feel
symptoms to take precautionary measures, then you will ALREADY
be sick. If they take my advice, then they can avoid any
symptoms at all. IOW, they will not get sick.
I don't need support. I am telling you what I have learned
from experience. You are challenging my statements. You are
the one that needs support. You won't find it. And you will
find very few references to milk as an antidote from anyone
except people like me who have a lot of experience with this.
For some reason, you don't want to hear it. You have your
opinion and you are sticking to it.
If you are saying that this is all a misunderstanding and that
you totally agree with me, then I apologize.
What you may not realize (and I just noticed that this may be
the case) is that by drinking milk after exposure, you can
avoid being sick at all. That has been my experience.
Perhaps you believed that drinking milk will lessen the
effects. That is not the case. Drinking milk during and
after exposure absorbs the metals in your system (according to
some theories) and keeps you from feeling any symptoms
whatsoever. Once they start, though, there isn't anything
that will make them stop. Maybe milk shortens the time that
you think you are dying, but who cares? I would rather not
feel like I am dying at all. So I do what works. You can do
what you want.
I have sat with many young kids that thought this was all
bullshit and given them aspirin and told them it would all be
OK in a while. I have taken many to the ER. From then on,
they drank milk and got a lot more careful.
I think that the ones in here that may be watching this thread
have already gotten the message. I just wanted to make sure
about that before I bow out of this argument. I have had it
many times before and I have been proven right by many people
that did not want to listen. They learned the hard way. Some
people will listen to experience, some won't. They just want
to be right. I even had one guy tell me that I should have
FORCED him to drink milk! What I should have done is fire him
for not taking the proper precautions.
Everyone is free to test the theories. I suggest you try it
both ways and then get back to me. I already have. Numerous
I am not changing my story now you whacko. Quit trying to make my
statements into something they are not.
This is a misunderstanding on your part. Not for the reason you stated. On
the other hand you have made assumptions and accusations based on those
assumptions. That is unacceptable behavior on your part.
All I ever said was avoid fumes and what to do about it if you were
exposed. Period. A person may not realize they were exposed and wake up
sick. If they do, drink milk. Don't even try to make anything else out of
what I typed.
No Robert, my summary is correct. You clearly stated that exposure up to 15
minutes is fine.
Robert I'm not responsible for your assumptions. Got it?
You are one hard headed person. I never said anything along the lines of if
you know you've been exposed wait until sysmptoms appear. Never. You are
just making that up.
Get real Robert. Go back one more time and re-read my posts. I never
challenged your statements to drink milk before exposure. What I have done
is pointed out that your assumptions about what I have written are baseless
So I've demonstrated which of your statements is false and now you've
accused me of changing my story. In fact it is you who is changing your
story. Now you say that you advocate avoiding exposure but you have already
said that up to 15 minutes exposure is fine. Here is the quote:
"Metal fume fever (or as we called it: fitters fever) will not
occur with incidental exposures, but if you are exposed to
fumes for more than 15 minutes, then you are susceptible."
Like I said before Robert, you can appologize any time you want.
It is not fine, but you will not get sick from it. You are
not going to get sick from incidental exposure to zinc oxide
Great! I assumed that you disagreed with me. Since I was
wrong about that, I apologize.
Fantastic"!, I am glad to see that this was all a
misunderstanding on my part. Since we both agree that one
should drink milk upon being exposed to zinc fumes before you
feel any symptoms, I again apologize. I thought you were
argueing with me to disagree with me. I never would have
thought that someone would argue with a person to agree with
them. My bad!
I agree. Since you now point out that I am completely correct
and that you were just agreeing with me. I apologize. I
misunderstood your statements. I thought that you were
disagreeing with me and advocating a dangerous position.
This is confusing to me, but I will trust you. You said that
I am making false statements that you were disagreeing with me
and that I should apologize. I did. Since my initial
confusion was that your statements which appeared to
contradict me were actually in agreement with me, I will
continue to honor that predilection and assume that where you
are now saying that I am wrong you are actually agreeing with
me, again. Great!
I am mistaken, I apologize. I thought that you were
disagreeing with me. Since you have now shown that you agree
with everything that I said, there is no further need to
continue this argument. What a waste of time, huh?
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