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rsaritzky 05-10-2009 11:58 PM

Shower mixing valve replacement w/galvanized pipe

I have a house built in the early 40's. The main water supply lines (the "horizontal" ones under the house) were repiped with copper about 20 years ago, but the vertical "risers" were left with the original galvanized pipe. I don't know exactly how the copper was joined to the galvanized risers, but I assume that some sort of dilectric union connectors were used (I don't know for sure).

The shower mixing valve in one of the bathrooms is shot. I've tried getting replacement seals, but they don't hold for long. I want to replace the mixing valve, but have the following problems:

1. The shower is on an outside wall of the house, and the air conditioning condenser unit is directly on the other side of the wall - so I can't cut into the back of the wall to expose the plumbing. So my only choice is to cut open the ceramic tile inside the shower, which I'm willing to do.

2. Now, the risers coming from the copper supply lines are galvanized pipe (I'm assuming). I'll have to connect the new shower valve to these pipes, or replace the entire riser. However, getting to the supply lines is a real challenge from below - the crawl space is very small, and I'm a large guy.

Any suggestions for a workaround? I have a local plumber who is smaller than me, and he's probably used to crawling under houses - I'm thinking of just paying him to replace the risers (and install the new valve while he's at it. But looking for anyone's opinion as to other options.



wrangler 05-12-2009 05:42 AM

Personally, since the risers are 70 years old, I'd opt for the smaller plumber replacing the risers and eliminating that from being a problem in the future. Then a 'remodeling escutcheon' for the valve should take care of the access problem.

rsaritzky 05-12-2009 10:17 AM

Thanks for the reply. I've seen some articles on remodeling escutcheons, just haven't seen them at my local home centers (but not looking for them either). However, just found quite a few online.

I may bite the bullet and cut out a section for the pipe above the valve that feeds the showerhead, since THAT's galvanized pipe, too. But thanks for the advice.


wrangler 05-13-2009 10:11 AM

I think Lowes has the escutcheon, though it may have been HD. If the showerhead is above the tile you might be able to run pex down to the new valve as well without having to bust open your wall.

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