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sobro 11-04-2010 03:12 PM

slow hot water lines
I have a house that I have recently purchased. It is a duplex that is about ca. 1920s and has separate water lines for each side. I have complained about it on DIY before! It has old galvanized lines and a water heater that is about 10 years old (it had a 6 year warranty).

When I first connected the city water and turned it on, the hot water lines stopped almost immediately due to rust. After messing with it for quite some time, I was able to clear the lines (so it seemed) by connecting a garden hose to the shower head stub and blowing everything backwards down into the basement. Very messy! Occasionally I would get rather large chunks of rust (about the size of the tip of a pencil) coming back out through the hot water lines. The cold water had plenty of pressure, but the hot water was never very impressive.

Now the hot water line has again slowed up significantly. I know that there is copper leading up to the upstairs bath, but I'm not sure exactly where the transition is made. The upstairs sink is still galvanized. Everything in the basement is galvanized.

Here is my question: Should I...

A) Replace only the water heater
B) Replace all of the hot/cold water lines in the basement with PEX
C) Replace only the hot water lines with PEX
D) Do both A+B or some other combination...
E) Do something else that I'm not thinking of

**I would rather not have to rip out plaster walls and ceilings to do this. It doesn't have to be perfect - just enough so that it is functional and will not keep getting clogged in the future.

Thanks again all!


Just Bill 11-05-2010 06:11 AM

Get rid of all galvanized. Doing it piece meal never works for long, if at all. Murphys law would state that the part you replace is never the part that is blocked.

plumber666 11-05-2010 07:32 AM

I'm with Bill on this one. Recently repiped a 1937 house with pex, myself. Was a fair bit of work, but worth it. Old galv. systems are not only a pain in the butt, are disasters waiting to happen. All the crap coming out of your taps is your pipes wearing out. It's not good for health reasons, and it's not good for financial reasons when a joint breaks and ruins your home (and the folks in the other side of the duplex's).

sobro 11-05-2010 10:44 AM

...and the water heater?
Should I go ahead and replace the water heater as well? I noticed a lot of lime coming out of the hot water line. Plus it's 4 years past the warranty.

I will just get rid of all the galvanized piping - shouldn't take too long (just jinxed myself, didn't I?)

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