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Plumbing Question

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by seige101, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    I came home the other day to water pouring into the utility room in the basement. After shutting off the water and having to cut a few holes in the wall i found the problem. A copper pipe in the wall had corroded through.

    After locating the pipe in the basement and cutting it to cap it off for the night the fitting it was soldered to crumbled in my hand. The copper pipe is paper thin in spots especially around the fittings. This is more than likely from the years of hard and iron loaded water before we put in the softener and iron system 3 years ago.

    I guess i need to start changing all the copper in the house as it's only a matter of time before it starts happening else where.

    What would be best to replace the copper with? CPVC Flowguard or some kind of Pex. I am leaning towards the flowguard because i have concerns with the metal fittings on the PEx corroding in the future.

    I also prefer the Flowguard because it looks neater and seems easier to install, i don't have to buy a pricey crimper.

    Your thoughts and Opinions?

    Tim

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  2. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    About two years ago, I re-plumbed most of my house with PEX A (Wirsbo). CPVC had an iffy reputation at the time, not sure if that has changed. Pex A was considered the best way to go.

    The pex tool is around $300, but would last a lifetime, and makes plumbing a breeze.

    I know a few realtors who told me that CPVC in a home can be a red flag to some home inspectors, and might squash a sale, or lower the re-sale value.

    As for the fittings, I used no metal ones, because of the potential for scrubbing/leaks. All the fittings I used were thick polypropylene, I believe.
  3. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    PEX but I think type B is a better system and better buy.
  4. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I wondering if installing the treatment system didn't lead to the failure.
    The minerals that formerly coated the inside of your pipes may have been protecting them from both galvanic and erosion corrosion.
    Most water softeners introduce some salt into the water which may have caused galvanic corrosion of the copper.
  5. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    When we had different installers out to give quotes and test our water they said our water was some of most acidic they had ever seen. They said this could lead to replacing the water heater often and eventually the pipes corroding out. I was replacing the water heater about every 3-5 years. Bought the last one years ago (6 year warranty) haven't paid for once since that original install :) The whole system is supposed to neutralize the water.

    Also when i did cut a section of pipe away i did notice a pretty heavy coating of corrosion and crud built up in the pipes.
  6. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Depends on who you believe. PEX A is the most costly, and the least accessible to the DIY crowd, and the one most favored by pro plumbers on their forums.
    Swedishchef likes this.
  7. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Just for example, fire sprinkler lines are cpvc and allowed here in MA. At work I see static pressure on those sprinkler lines near 100 psi. Supplies for domestic are anywhere from 3/4" up to 2" for the main supplies and we have no had issues. Failures over the past years from what I am told from licensed sprinkler mechanics were due to glue-ups that were not left for 24 hours to cure.
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We live in an area with hard water and water heaters are replaced ofter also but not because of corrosion. They tend to fill up with scale to the point where they won't work anymore. The water heaters actually "soften" the water by removing the minerals that would otherwise end in the pipes.

    I'm confused by the statement above about the acidity of your water. Hard water tends to be basic (high pH) not acidic (low pH).
    We're going on 25 years with copper pipes with fairly hard untreated water without failure.
    Water chemistry is complicated.
  9. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I have Pex A in my house... I also know that is the system used for in-floor radiant flooring (with liquid). That has to say something....
  10. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    If the water is to blame, your neighbors should all have the same trouble. Is that so?

    Aside from the water quality, you might also check that somehow a very low electrical current isn't present in your piping. This can also cause widespread deterioration of the piping. Not hard to do, there are good descriptions of how to do it, online.
  11. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Two other things to consider with CPVC is it is sensitive to UV light and will degrade if not covered over and it is almost guaranteed to crack if left to freeze.

    Wirsbo has plastic fittings.
    fishingpol likes this.
  12. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    You are buying the crimp tool in wrong version, If you buy the steel one rather than the Gold plated one they run around $100, less if you do some shopping.
    PEX is the way to go!
  13. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    The one I bought is the one all the plumbers use. That's the right version, as far as I'm concerned.
  14. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have acidic water and need an acid neutralizer.. I have one here for this reason..

    Ray
  15. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    The crimpers USED to be in the $300 range, but with the popularity of PEX and the fact that there are more companies making them you can go to Lowes and buy both 1/2" & 3/4" crimpers for $60 ea. I bought a kit that covers 3/8" - 3/4" for $25 on craigslist.
  16. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    I used the Pex from Lowes and sharkbite fittings. No tool to buy and easy to put together AND take apart.
  17. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

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    X 2

    With Pex, you can put the few fittings you need in really easily accesible locations.
    That makes service and extending the system a breeze.
  18. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    I have had about 50% success with the push lock type. The cuts on the ends of the tube have to be perfect or it will tend to leak. I much rather crimp and and know it's right. I really don't like leaks inside of walls.
  19. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    I will try and find the water test reports. I think i might be confusing the results.

    I have a piece of pex and some shark bite fittings as a temp patch to have water in the rest of the house. Those things are handy but freaking expensive!

    Does pex come in 10 or 20' lengths of straight pipe? The few times i have saw it installed it looked horrible because of the memory effect of being coiled up.. What about the numerous kinds of crimps out there which is best? I have seen a hose type clamp that crimps around, a metal sleeve and a tool that expands the pex and then it goes over the fitting with a plastic band to keep it tight. Edit i have also seen a metal band that secures it also.

    I have seen white pex that was easily shaped and held what ever bend it was put in it, seen red and blue, and then white that was like the red and blue minus the color.
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, you can buy straight sections of pex. There are water softeners and then there are pH neutralizers, not the same thing. pH is what burned your copper pipe out.
    raybonz likes this.
  21. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    There are two types of pex tools. One expands it and the pex retracts for an interference fit. I can see how those would be expensive. The other is a copper ring that compresses over the pex and fitting. They can be had for pretty cheap.
    Also, one of the huge advantages of pex is that you can run it without a bunch of fittings. The coil memory is a little annoying, but you don't need to put in elbows (read, "potential leaks") in to go around a corner. In my house i have home runs, so there is a crimped connection in my furnace room at a manifold and one under the sink or other fixture its going to.
  22. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I have both, 1st an inline sediment filter, then into acid neutralizer (calcite) then into fine mesh resin water softener to remove clear water iron and also hardness which mostly comes from neutralizer. Have to be a mad scientist here lol..

    Ray
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Lately, this stuff has been my bread and butter. I'm developing a new well, a big well, and I have to remove manganese with a monster pyrolox filter, chlorinate a lot to eat up ammonia, then remove sulfur compounds. Seems nobody likes that rotten egg/swamp water odor. We're making our own chlorine onsite by taking salt water and splitting the sodium from the chloride with electricity.
  24. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I have some manganese but the softener is marginally good at dealing with it so you get some rotten egg smell. Pretty cool how you can create your own chlorine.. Is chlorine expense high that you would create your own? Wells can be a PIA around here iron is the biggest culprit..
  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Most of our wells and springs use gas chlorine from tanks the size of helium tanks. Easy enough to move around and dependable. This new well has a touch of ammonia which gobbles chlorine up and since we are required to produce finished water with 0.5 ppm of chlorine I need to chlorinate the raw water to 3.5 ppm which is like swimming pool water. When I'm running 2000 gallons per minute that will burn up a lot of chlorine. We would have been swapping clylinders every day. The onsite generation of chlorine not only saves in gas cost but also in labor and safety since moving and hooking up the gas cylinders is relatively risky. We are actually one of the last places to go to onsite generation. Seems to be the new rage.

    The manganese doesn't cause the egg smell, that's from sulfur. Often found in the same places though. My personal well has an iron and sulfur problem that I plan to fix up this summer.
    raybonz likes this.

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