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Old 04-18-2014, 10:26 PM  
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Default Rust in flange connecting iron and copper hot water heater pipe

Hello All,

The picture is of a flange that connects an iron and copper pipe (hot water heater) which has started leaking a few drops. The rust seems to be on the edge of the flange and the iron pipe. The flange is probably soldered to the copper pipe side(?). I would appreciate any opinions on whether this is a DIY job or better to get a professional. Also, any idea of how much cost I should anticipate ( I live in the SF bay area) if I go the latter route.

Thanks very much for any info!

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Old 04-19-2014, 01:11 AM  
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The "iron" is most probably galvanized pipe. This is bad. You might be looking at removing it and adding copper or PEX plastic piping. The wall needs to be cut out to reveal the piping behind it.

Can you change the pipe between what is inside the wall and the heater? Maybe. A few more pics would help. What is below the pic? Your best bet is to eliminate the old piping as best you can.

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Old 04-19-2014, 02:12 PM  
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Thanks for the reply.

I have attached another pic (sorry, i need to get on a ladder to get the pics, and most are ending up out of focus). This pic shows there is a flange (or bolt) attached to a copper pipe. On the other side is the iron pipe which is attached to this flange via another iron ring which is rusted badly. The pipe goes into the attic possibly or may also be going down through the wall (its on the garage side). The iron pipe is feeding into the hot water heater and the rest of the pipes are copper; my guess is that this is coming from the main water supply (those parts are iron ), and the rest are copper inside the house.

Thanks again for any opinions!
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:58 PM  
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Cutting a hole in the wall by hand to view the pipe is a low skill job and may have to be done anyway but first probe through the wall with a dull ice pick and if you hit something you can caulk the hole and try somewhere else.

The trick is not to do something that can't be reversed until you absolutely have to.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:33 PM  
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I found this picture from

Can I get away with replacing the rusting iron ring or would the pipe on that side need to get replaced too? My first pic does not indicate that the galvanized pipe itself is rusted, only the ring connector to the di-electric union seems to be.

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Old 04-20-2014, 08:54 AM  
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The rust indicates that the seal wasn't perfect (no leak=no rust)
In the pic you found, you'll notice that there is a sweat connection on the copper side. If you are going to get into this, consider how you could make the whole connection better. Sometimes the bandaid approach isn't worth the effort.

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