I have an old steel water supply pipe and would like to convert to
PVC (and then to CPVC). I had cut the steel line and used a PVC pipe
"repair" (I don't remember the proper name for that). That sprung a leak
on the steel side so I've replaced it with one for steel pipe, this
leaks on the PVC side.
What is the solution here?
Use a couple of pipe wrenches where necessary to remove the pipe back to
the nearest fitting (assuming you already cut the threads off the steel
pipe). In my experience, old galvanized steel pipe is usually rusted and
filled with corrosion (often down to just a pin hole), so it's very
possible the pipe or fitting will crack as you dissassemble it and you'll
have to keep removing pipe or fittings until you get back to something
Once you have a clean threaded fitting (or a threaded pipe end), pick up
the appropriate "transition fitting" from a plumbing supply or local home
center (Lowes or Home Depot). Basically, these have a brass fitting on one
side you can thread to your steel pipe, and a CPVC fitting on the other.
Then you can repair the plumbing with CPVC pipe as needed. Be sure to add a
few wraps of teflon tape on the threaded fittings before assembling.
By the way, according to code, you can only use CPVC for work inside the
building. Regular PVC is only allowed for irrigation or outdoor water
Depending on the age of your plumbing, you may fix one leak, only to have
another one pop up further down the line. This happened at my in-laws
house. After a couple of repairs, it was easier to just replace everything
with CPVC pipe.
That is my experience also and this is 80+ year old pipe. I am close
to the incoming connection which is buried.
I've got a dresser (that is the real word I was looking for) coupling
going to a piece of threaded steel pipe and then I have the CPVC
transition since I have threads now. Some day I'd like to get rid of the
dresser coupling but I think I will get a "good" plumber to do that.
At the time, since the stores were closed, I was looking for a temp
solution to stopping the leak.
Good. That is what I am doing.
It's all going to CPVC (except the parts that had been redone in
copper). Kitchen and bath are going to new fixtures. I may have had the
original sink, this is the time to get the house out of the 20's.
It's a zoo in the basement.
Yep, I can relate... :) My mother in-law mentioned her kitchen faucet
was dripping. I though no big deal, I'd just change the seal or install a
new cartridge. Turns out the faucet was leaking around the spout which
naturally crumbled and broke off when I tried to unscrew it. So, it was
time to replace the faucet.
Unfortunately, it was an old wall mounted faucet. After a week of
hunting to find an affordable replacement, the pipes in the wall cracked
when I tried to remove the faucet connections.
So, I bought some special inside pipe wrenches to try and remove the
broken pipe stubs from the elbows in the wall. Of course, the metal was
so corroded it just crumbled and the elbows fell apart.
I thought, OK, I'll just replace the pipes running down the wall to the
basement. I literally just got the pipe wrench on the pipe and fitting in
the basement and it cracked at the fitting. I didn't even have to apply
So, I decide to remove the bottom elbow where the pipe cracked off. I put
one wrench on the fitting, one on the pipe, and slowed tried to unthread
them. As you might expect, the next 8 foot length of pipe split
LENGTHWISE more than half way down the pipe.
After all this, it was obvious a repair was out of the question. There
was only a few feet of original pipe left, so I just replaced all the
plumbing. Thankfully, I was able to remove the last segment of
galvanized pipe at the shut off valve where the incoming supply comes
through the basement wall.
I installed a new kitchen sink so I could use a standard deck mount
kitchen faucet, then replumbed the entire house using CPVC.
As a bonus, we discovered why the bathtub had no hot water. The
galvanized pipe had completely clogged up with rust and corrosion to the
point that only a few drips of water could flow through.
Yep, sounds like my in-laws place. Old rusty galvanized pipes hanging
down from the floor joists, and big cast iron drain pipes sticking down
that we were always banging our heads on. (Not the mention the scary
looking, cob web covered, knob and tub wiring with missing insulation).
It has taken us a few years, but we replaced the supply lines with CPVC,
and cut out the cast iron drains and replumbed with PVC when we remodeled
the bathroom. I also installed a new breaker panel and underground
service when I rewired the entire house a couple of years ago.
What started out as a few "maintenance" items to help out my in-laws, has
turned into an ongoing project that has already lasted several years. Now
my mother-in-law keeps asking when we're going to remodel her kitchen.
Okay. The coupling is really a "compression fitting" or by name
Solutions to your problem:
1. Beg, buy, rent or steal a pipe threader and thread the cut end.
Pipe that old may not take the stress of threading though. Where I am
galvanised pipe will be nothing but a thin shell when that old (ask
how I know...well, okay, I had to replace every underground pipe in my
place due to pipe corrosion which included over a 1/4 mile run to the
well) This soil eats pipe.
2. Buy a 6" or so galvanised nipple and coupling, insert in Dressler
Coupling and then make the transition using a male PVC coupling.
Warning! Never, but never use a female threaded PVC fitting going
onto a galvanised pipe. Tightening them tends to cause them to split
on the casting seam - again ask how I know.
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