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Old 03-26-2009, 02:35 PM  
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Default Working with Galvanized steel--Replumb whole house?

So, I'm hoping to start some of the more major renovations to my house soon. My plan is to do repairs in the order most likely to keep the finished products from getting messed up - so first the major remodeling, like bathroom and kitchen, then the walls and painting, then the floors. The bathroom is in major need of repairs, but the pipes are almost all 80-100 year old steel pipes. I'm willing to replace the entire house pipe system, and it looks like I might need to, but I have to admit, I'm worried about working with galvanized steel. From what I've seen on the forums, the process is typically:

1) Cut the pipe close to where it needs to be replaced
2) Curse as the entire pipe crumbles like a soggy tortilla chip
3) Cut the pipe further back
4) Thread the pipe
5) Weep openly as the threader turns the pipe end instantly into crumbs
6) Repeat until you're all the way back to the water main

I'm too new to the forums to post pictures or links, but I do have some online at Photobucket. My username is Moonsquares, and the photo album is "pipes in rear half."

So, should I just assume the worst, that I'll have to start where the pipe comes into the house and replace all the pipes with copper or pvc? If so, what should I keep an eye out for when I start? What is the point I should really start from: the first join inside the house, or the pipe that's still outside?

As is probably obvious, very new at most of this, so don't feel you'll insult me if you feel I've missed something blatantly obvious. Point it out because I probably DID miss it

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Old 03-26-2009, 03:54 PM  
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In my experience with antique pipes you are best to replace what you can with either copper (3/4" at the feeder that comes into the house) and branch off with 1/2" copper to the end devices. Many people ask about plastic piping such as Pex. You will need to do some research on pricing, tools, etc before deciding on how you want to proceed. Also you should check with local building codes and inquire as to the material they require in a replumb. I am not going to lie to you and tell you it's an easy job, because it isn't, especially if you have a two story home. I have had some luck with replacing just the section that has corroded away, but would have done it differently if it were my house. There again, if you have no experience using a torch, solder and flux, I would not attempt using copper without proper instruction. Look into Pex plastic pipe and let me know what you found out. Just type in pex pipe in your web browser and look at pexinfo. Good luck!

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Old 03-27-2009, 06:13 AM  
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I replaced all the horizontal runs on my 50 year old house with copper. Adapters to the galv pipe runs in the wall vertically. Some vertical runs may need to be replaced also. It is best to get as much of it out as you can because it will rust through and leak.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:57 PM  
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Thanks for the replies! Yeah, I'm thinking I probably want to replace the entire system, starting all the way back at the water meter. I'm thinking I will probably run pvc from the meter to the house, then use the pex to run to each area of the house. Since I'll be working in the crawlspace under the floorboards, it looks like the pex will save me from having to be down there too long or pull up too much floor.

I didn't think too much about the sewer connections. Am I looking at pretty much the same thing as for the water pipes? Best to replace whatever I can get to? Also, if i wanted to add a drain (I'm thinking about putting washer/dryer hookups in), can I just patch a line into the bathtub drain, or will this cause problems down the line?

I put up a tiny little drawing of the flow of the pipes in the half of the house I am going to do this work on. It's on Photobucket, user name Moonsquares, album Pipes in Rear. It's kind of nice and straightforward: all things needing water are in a straight line. Thanks again for all the advice!
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