My in-laws live in an old house that originally used galvanized plumbing.
About five years ago I replumbed the house using CPVC, except for a short
section where I installed new galvanized pipe. I didn't trust plastic pipe
here as it is in a vulnerable location at the bottom of the basement
stairs. It frequently gets bumped when hauling things up and down the
stairs. The metal pipe is also used as an electrical ground where it enters
the basement wall.
Since the new galvanized pipe lasted less than five years (already
developing several pinhole leaks along a two foot length of pipe), I am
thinking of using stainless steel pipe as a replacement.
Does anyone know if stainless pipe will hold up better to corrosive water
than galvanized? If so, do you know where I might purchase a couple of
precut and threaded lengths of 3/4" pipe (1 two foot, and 1 three foot)?
Local suppliers only seem to carry galvanized or copper.
I don't think copper would hold up well in this situation either, as their
water seems to eat through anything metal in short time. I would also think
copper would be vulnerable to physical damage as well.
On Fri, 17 Jun 2011 22:12:22 +0000 (UTC), HerHusband
How old was the galvanized you replaced with CPVC?
Pinholing so fast seems real odd.
Probably either bad pipe or there's some electrical anomaly.
What I would do is replace the galvanized section with CPVC.
Protect it with a larger galvanized shell pipe bracketed/clamped so
bumping won't hurt it.
Then run the electrical ground to the supply stub entering the house,
or run it to a copper rod ground driven outside.
WARNING: I am not a licensed plumber.
I SECOND THAT SOLUTION!
I have a friend with a well he had stainless parts and one steel band
clamp. The band clamp just touched and eroded away a big part of the
stainless fitting it had been down the well 5 years.
He replaced the parts and totally seperated the band clamp from the
remember theres non magnetic stainless, its highly tough
magnetic stainess isnt much better than steel
Unknown. The house is 100 years old, they've lived there about 50 years.
As far as I know the pipe wasn't changed the whole time they lived there.
When I replaced it the whole system was plagued with pinhole leaks and
the usual rust corrosion clogging the pipes severely.
They are on city water but the water is very harsh. It ate through their
kitchen faucet, as well as eating out the bottom of metal cups they used
to keep on their counter.
The water is really hard on rubber seals too. I have replaced the seals
in their faucets every few years. I just put a new seal in the outdoor
frostproof faucet last year and it already needs replaced again (it's
only used a few times a year).
Needless to say, we don't drink the water when we go to visit... :)
The incoming water line is in a stupid location next to the stairs. I'm
not sure why it's located there since the water comes from the front at
the street. But, there are many items that don't make sense in that old
My wife noticed it last week and I blew it off as condensation dripping.
I couldn't believe a five year old pipe would already be leaking. But
sure enough it has about 8-10 pinholes in it. My first thought was some
kind of electrical corrosion because of the grounding, but only the short
horizontal pipe has developed pinholes. The longer vertical pipe (and
the remaining original galvanized) seems to be fine. So, it may just be a
bad section of pipe. It has a sticker that says "Made in China" :) I
hadn't planned on replacing that pipe originally, so it's just what I
could find at the local Ma and Pa hardware store in town.
I ruled out some kind of protective guard for CPVC pipe because the
stairway is so narrow. A galvanized shell pipe would take up less space,
but installing it could be tricky in the given area.
I already installed two copper ground rods when I rewired the house a
couple years ago. But, the electrical codes require the pipe to be bonded
to the electrical ground as well.
The prices for stainless are a little more than I wanted to spend, so I
might just replace it with new galvanized. For the cost of stainless I
can replace the galvanized pipes several times. :) Thankfully, it's out
in the open where it's easy to access.
When I moved to this house, I replaced the seals every six months. I put in
a whole house filter with sediment element and have not change them in over
25 years now. The very fine invisible particles in the water was killing
On Sat, 18 Jun 2011 01:49:49 +0000 (UTC), HerHusband
Well if you're thinking of doing that, I'll tell you a story, from
1967. I lived in a frat house with 18 members that was just a big
old house from the early 20th century, and my roommate had taken the
metal shower stall out of the 3rd floor bathroom and all that was
there was the galvanized pipes, hot and cold going up to the valve and
then one pipe to the shower head.
While 3 or 4 of use were talking, he was rocking it back and forth an
inch or two, and I thought, Isn't that a bad idea? but he was the
House Manager, did most of the repairs, and grew up on a farm. I
figured he knew. 45 seconds later one of the pipes snapped, sending
water everywhere. He got to turn off the water and work on the
plumbing for the next four hours, and got to miss the freshman coming
over for rush that night. Maybe that's what he wanted.
The pipes were 1946 or newer (because the fraternity was much more
crowed after the GI bill was passed, so 21 years or less.
So if this spot gets banged by various things going up and down the
stairs, I don't know if that's as bad as rocking a 40" piece of pipe
back and forth 2+ inches or not. I don't know if rocking is as bad
If it were my house, yes. But, they're on a fixed income ruling out an
expensive softening system. Even with a simple filter the maintenance
chores would fall back on me. :) No thanks.
They've lived with the water for 50 years (longer than I've been around),
so I'm not too worried about it now.
If that main line was the only thing wrong with the house, that would be my
first choice too. But, with all the other projects we have going on around
there, that leaky pipe is a minor distraction. We're starting a major
kitchen gut and remodel, so I don't have the time right now to deal with
replacing a main water line. Not to mention, they're bad hoarders so access
to anything is a nightmare.
I usually try to overbuild (no cheap shortcuts) when we fix things around
there. Unfortunately, fixing one problem usually leads to many other
unexpected issues. For example, fixing a leaky kitchen sink turned into a
complete replumbing of the house, thanks to corroded pipes breaking in my
I have to focus on one project at a time around there or it quickly spirals
out of control. :)
I will just install new galvanized pipes for now. If we have more issues
in a few years I may look into a more permanent fix at that time.
I used to change the faucet washers every couple of "YEARS", not months.
Also, since we replumbed most of the house with CPVC, sediment really
hasn't been an issue. The city filters the water which eliminates most
sediment, it's just heavily chlorinated and acidic.
We also installed new faucets in recent remodels so most of the seal
problems have been eliminated (no steel valve seats to corrode, ceramic
cartridges, etc.). The few remaining rubber seals tend to break down over
time just sitting, not from wear and tear caused by sediment (the faucets
are rarely used). There have been very few problems since I replumbed their
house with CPVC.
The short section of galvanized pipe that corroded is a small problem, I
was just investigating ways I might be able to make it a little more
durable. Stainless steel seemed like an easy option as it wouldn't take
any more effort to install than galvanized. But cost and limited
availability have ruled that out.
In the end, I can spend $10-20 and less than an hour of work to install two
new galvanized pipes. That is certainly an easier and less expensive option
than installing a $30-60 filter (housing, filter, associated brackets and
pipe) that needs to be maintained or a couple thousand dollars on a water
softener system. Keep it simple and don't overcomplicate things.
I'd say the likelihood is that there were, indeed, flaws. I've had any
number of Chinese plugs that had air holes in them to the point they
actually leaked and the quality of some the pipe I've seen isn't any
better. I'd almost bet the holes are in line and along the weld seam.
Can't imagine what could be _that_ corrosive in a (presumably) regulated
municipal water system supply; have you asked? Seems like there would
be so many complaints and failures all over a metro area something would
get done to provide relief...
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