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Old 01-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #1
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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? Donít they make galvanized any more?

Loretta

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Old 01-26-2009, 01:08 PM   #2
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Types of Pipe


Galvanized steel pipe was the original water supply pipe. After a few years, it built up corrosion and the inside diameter became much smaller. Since it was steel pipe, under the galvanized coating, it started to rust. Copper was the "savior" of water piping. Unless your water or soil was high in acid type chemicals, it lasted a long time. Plastic type piping came along and made DIY jobs much easier since there was no need to learn to solder and no danger of burning your home down. There have been some problems with plastic, including the change to CPVC over PVC for hot water. I am not aware of cancer risks from plastic piping. Yes, they still make galvanized pipe, however, the installation costs (must be threaded) and shorter lifespan make it a bad choice.

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Old 01-26-2009, 01:38 PM   #3
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You can't go wrong with copper. It is time tested and proven. Connecting it to a dissimilar metal (galvanized) can cause electrolysis and subsequent degradation of the pipe if not done properly.

I feel your concerns regarding CPVC and PEX are unfounded. Opinions like that are based on rhetoric probably promulgated by hypochondriacs! Both are excellent potable water plumbing systems that have been used for decades with great success.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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Types of Pipe


I've had CPVC in my last two homes and I love it. It's inexpensive, there's no pipe sweating, the pipes are quiet and... frankly... it's so easy to work with, it's like Fisher Price got into the plumbing business.

As for health risks... HERE is an article.

However, for your problem, it sounds like copper would be the way to go. The plumber probably has a truck full of scrap copper already from previous jobs anyway.

Not to insult his intelligence, but make sure he uses the proper coupling (dielectric union) between the galvanized and the copper... those two materials don't get along.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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Types of Pipe


BGM,
Here is something else to think about, almost any water purifier or RO system I have seen has flex vinyl or Pex type tubing. If it is that bad a risk, why would it be attached to purifing devices?
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:36 PM   #6
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Types of Pipe


majakdragon, thekctermite, skipjack, and Chemist1961,

Is it really pretty easy to repipe your own house with plastic?

The plumber says he would prefer using Pex over copper in the area he has delineated he is going to replace. I think it just leads into the basement bathroom. He said he had to buy some kind of a special tool to install the Pex.

I am kind of afraid, though, that after he replaces that small section, 5 minutes later someplace else will just start to leak.

I read about Pex being possibly carcinogenic on a State of California website, I believe. When I looked it up in PubMed, I couldn't find any studies that showed it was, just studies dealing with biofilm.

According to another site I was reading from, the copper had a thinner layer of biofilm up until after 200 days, when it became about equal with the Pex. Galvanized had the thickest biofilm of all.

I know there are different types of plastic, but we drink milk from plastic containers poured into plastic cups all the time.

Do pipes that are parallel to the floor rust faster than those that are perpendicular to it (galvanized, I mean)?

Thank you all!!

Loretta
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:48 PM   #7
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Types of Pipe


Loretta,
Most of the rest of the free world takes California's health warnings with a grain of salt. Actually, I'm sure they have issued health warnings on grains of salt too. PEX and CPVC are not new and are no longer innovative products that rarely get used...They're time-tested and are safe.

Plumbing a home with CPVC is not a difficult task and requires about $15 in tools. Very, very, very DIY friendly. My favorite CPVC is Flowguard Gold. Good stuff.

Plumbing a home with PEX is easy as well, and requires a tool that runs in the $100-140 range. Fittings are crimped onto the pipe using copper or stainless crimp rings, and it is very reliable and easy to do without leaks. If your plumber doesn't have that tool, that isn't your problem, it is his. A plumber in 2009 that doesn't have a PEX tool on the truck is not much of a plumber, regardless of his opinion of PEX...It has become very prominent and a lot of homes he probably works in have PEX in them. That's like a mechanic that won't work on fuel injectors because he thinks carbueretors are better.

If you want to do it yourself I'd suggest getting a DIY plumbing book that will help you understand the best ways to lay the system out. Take detailed notes of the existing system's layout and the pipe sizes and you can usually install a plastic system in the same size and general layout.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubblegummom View Post
Do pipes that are parallel to the floor rust faster than those that are perpendicular to it (galvanized, I mean)?
Not in my experience. The only potable water pipes that could possibly rust would be really old galvanized.

I've inspected THOUSANDS of new homes and THOUSANDS of remodels, and I have never once seen anyone install or re-install galvanized plumbing systems. In remodels, most will either eliminate the galvanized or transition from the galvanized to another material.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:10 AM   #9
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Types of Pipe


thekctermite,

Thank you for the info and help!

I am starting to worry now that if the plumber replaces a section of pipe going into the downstairs bathroom, it will increase the pressure on the bathroom pipes and cause problems in there.

What do you think?

Loretta
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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The home's water pressure is fixed. It is what it is and you can't change it. The only thing that a new pipe will change is the volume of water that is delivered to the fixtures. So no, replace pipes at will with no concern of increased pressure.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:49 AM   #11
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Thank you for the reassurance, thekctermite!

We had a good laugh at your "grains of salt" joke. Cute!

Loretta
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:00 AM   #12
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Types of Pipe


No problemo. I should clarify that higher volume is often mistaken for higher pressure, so running new/clean/unclogged pipe to a fixture will often significantly increase the volume.

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