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Old 01-26-2009, 11:56 AM  
bubblegummom
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Default Types of Pipe

We have a fresh water pipe leaking in the basement (plumber told us how to put on a pipe repair clamp till he could get here) and we might have to have at least the one pipe replaced. The plumber says he would replace it with copper, but I've seen some posts in some groups by people saying their copper pipes have developed pinholes in just a few years.

Ours is currently is galvanized, I guess.

I have heard that PVC (CPVC?) and PEX have chemicals that can cause cancer.

Can you guys give me some perspective on pipe materials? Don’t they make galvanized any more?

Loretta



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Old 01-26-2009, 12:44 PM  
glennjanie
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Hello Loretta:
Yes, they do still make galvanized water pipe. Plumbers just hate to invest in the threading equipment to make it work.

I have galvanized pipe in my basement that was installed in 1956 and is still working just fine. We thought copper was the way to go but we found that in 20 years or so it would develop pinhole leaks especially in 90* ells using water with high mineral content. The minerals would wear thourgh the copper over time.

The best solution now, in my opinion, is PVC and/or CPVC because it is so easy to work, does not corrode, rust or fill with scale. Cloride is the dangerous chemical in these but it washes away in a coulple of days.

Pex is good pipe too but it is used on a supply header and a seperate run of pipe goes to each fixture. It just seems too redundant to me.
Glenn



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Old 01-27-2009, 09:50 PM  
bubblegummom
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Thank you Glenn!

I'm curious when galvanized pipe began to be used, and what was used before galvanized, if anything. Do you know?

The plumber wants to use Pex in the small area he's delineated to replace...I think it just leads towards the basement bathroom. He says he had to buy some kind of an expensive tool to work with Pex.

What I'm worried about is that some other area is just going to begin leaking 5 minutes after that one is fixed.

Is it possible for a homeowner to replace their own pipes with Pex? At $150/hour that plumber can get expensive fast!

Thank you, Glenn!

Loretta

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Old 01-28-2009, 01:16 PM  
riley
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Originally Posted by bubblegummom View Post
Is it possible for a homeowner to replace their own pipes with Pex? At $150/hour that plumber can get expensive fast!
Loretta
Hi Loretta,

New here, checking out the forums to see the quality--seems good, so far. I have an old home with galvanized pipe that's really messed up. Some has been replaced with copper so far. But, pending pricing and a conversation an expert plumber I know, I think I'll go with PEX.

Galvanized always, eventually, goes bad. I don't trust PVC/CPVC for potable water (or for food, as in plastic "cling wrap"). There's more to it than just chlorine, which probably, as Glenn points out, washes out. More importantly there is vinyl chloride monomer (the VC in PVC), and the plasticizers in it. Although the monomer is definitely a carcinogen, it probably doesn't stick around. But the plasticizers do, and leach out slowly. In spite of all the good things the American Chemical Society says about PVC and CPVC, they don't have a good track record at telling the truth about this stuff. It seems to me better to be conservative in this respect.

I've seen PVC get brittle after some years, especially exposed to sunlight--sunlight isn't an issue here, but age might be.

PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) has been around, is definitely considered safe in the food industry, and is very tough. It's been in service in Europe for 30 yrs with no problems, and has a projected lifetime of at least 100 yrs according to an industry site I just ran across googl'ing.

It sounds much better, all in all, to me. An additional factor is one can bend it around corners--fewer fittings to mess up or go bad. I plan on doing it myself.

My 2¢ after a little research on it. Oh, and PEX-a looks like the best for home plumbing.

Riley
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:59 AM  
bubblegummom
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Thank you for the good information, Riley. I would love to hear of your progress on repiping your house!

Loretta

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Old 02-01-2009, 04:29 PM  
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Loretta, You can do these repairs yourself, they do make some fittings that can be screwed together. the tool that he refers to is a crimper, this tool can cost 100.oo and upward, so he is right there but on the downside the screw fittings are not as freeze resistant as the brass fiittings and are also made of Plastic or pex. if you do it yourseld just make sure that you run the proper sizes. remeber that the pex is in Copper Tube Sizes. Good Luck Mike

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Old 02-03-2009, 11:52 AM  
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More Time,

Thank you! You mean there are screw-on fittings that don't require that tool? Also, I wondered it that tool might be rentable at Home Depot or someplace.

Did you do your own house?

The plumber has done his work now, and the Pex he put in has like black plastic elbows at the joints. Our basement gets really cold in the winter, too.

I'm going to check some plumbing books out from the library. I want to be prepared for next time, if I can.

Thanks for the info!

Loretta



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