View Full Version : Transition from galv supply to copper

10-22-2009, 06:28 PM
I'm trying to remove obstructions from the ceiling area to finish my basement. I have some galv supply pipes that go up to the 2nd floor and I cannot replace them without major surgery. They currently transition to copper in the basement.

Problem is, they extend down past the floor joists and mess with my proposed ceiling. They are close to a floor joist and I'm fairly certain I will not be able to re-thread them if I cut them up closer to the floorboards. Is there some type of reliable transition to get to copper without threads? I'm guessing it would have to be a compression fitting but the porous, somewhat irregular surface of old galv pipes leaves me wondering if this could work.

What can I do if I want to shorten the lines and cannot re-thread?

Thanks for any help.

10-22-2009, 06:31 PM
You would need to cut and rethread.

It may be time to repipe.
PEX can be real handy for repipes.

10-22-2009, 06:44 PM

The original plaster in the 1950s house is pristine and I just can't imagine that I would be able to magically drop the pipes down to the basement and pull pex behind. It might work but that is one hell of a scary might. I guess I could disconnect both ends and see if there is any play up and down. I imagine that a coupler would be my demise though eh?

It drives me nuts when you see senseless things like this but I guess nobody thought about using the basement as a living area back in the 50s.

Doherty Plumbing
10-22-2009, 06:59 PM
I don't know what your code would allow but if you want something that will work you can get transitional couplings that are compression fittings. They will allow you to cut the galvanized pipe and couple onto some other pipe.

I have used them a few times on old galvanized water mains where the home owner doesn't want to pay to replace the whole line.

Don't ask me who makes them though but find a plumbing/irrigation whole-saler and call them up! They just may have what you are looking for!

10-23-2009, 10:57 AM
one thing to keep in mind if u remove the plaster is to put a built in shelf unit in to hide the opening. that why u do not have to match the plaster

10-25-2009, 05:02 AM
If the galvanized is already that old. A new transition to PEX would be a wise investment now. Run it alongside the Gal and disconnect the gal pipe and leave it in the walls. I did mine, and the biggest part of the Job was breaking up the bathroom floor to access everything...but it will be done and you,ll have peice of mind. Close it all in, then get a leak and you,ll wish you did the replacement.

10-25-2009, 12:21 PM
Galvanized that old is a ticking time-bomb...you'd be smart to replace or bypass it before you spend the money on closing up the ceiling. you're right, though, it is highly unlikely you'd be able to pull the galvanized out as it will have couplings and fittings on it to branch to the fixtures above. the beauty of pex is that it is flexible and you may be able to fish it in the wall with minimal holes. It just depends on the layout.

10-25-2009, 03:32 PM
What is safe to use for flexible lines though? Last Jan (I think thereabouts) everything seemed to disappear off the shelves at the big box stores. There was a lot of confusion as to the reasons why. Right now I'm not sure if I can even buy this type of product in Canada. I may be mistaken.

Gary Swart
10-25-2009, 04:58 PM
This may come as a surprise to you, but "real" plumbing supply houses usually have better products than are available at the Big Boxes, and moreover, they often are not much more expensive. In addition, the quality of their advise is usually superior to Smock Man's. If you decide you need some professional assistance, they probably can steer you in the right direction.

10-25-2009, 08:19 PM
What is safe to use for flexible lines though? Last Jan (I think thereabouts) everything seemed to disappear off the shelves at the big box stores. There was a lot of confusion as to the reasons why. Right now I'm not sure if I can even buy this type of product in Canada. I may be mistaken. There is pex available everywhere. Or you can order kits that give you a certain amount of everything you need to do the job. You just need to know what you need. I would not close up any ceiling like you suggest with gal pipes.Disconnect it at the fixtures and run the flexable pex. Do some research on what types are out there and the tools required...you can buy the tool used or new on E-bay. Another option would be to get a plumber to quote you on an upgrade to a solution of the galvanized pipe. Might cost you a little more than doing it yourself....but will be way cheaper than tearing it all apart later.

10-26-2009, 01:11 PM
Well I had a real good look at how the pipe is routed and what I would have to do to destroy to change it.

It's really not an option for something that is working perfectly.

I purchased a threader and checked out the geometry of where I would have to swing it, and the ratchetting angles and it looks like I will be able to rethread the pipes up between the floor joists. This was a huge relief.

I know I have to address galvanic reactions. I believe I can either use a dielectric union or just use a brass fitting correct? If I turn horizontal with a galv 90 ell and use a threaded brass -> sweat am I doing OK?

Thanks again,

Doherty Plumbing
10-26-2009, 05:22 PM
Woah woah woah woah.... you'd better make sure you have someone big and strong back you up while you threads those pipes in place.

It takes quite a bit of force to thread steel and you're gonna start snapping stuff in the walls. If you are able too you can place a pipe wrench so that it's locked in and wedged between the joists. This may work for you.

Use dialectrics if you can.

If you're really stuck I'd suggest you check out my earlier comment for a quick solutions. Knowing now that you're from Canada the solution I offered is perfectly acceptable according to the National Plumbing Code. As the fitting I describe is simply a compression fitting.

This may save you lots of headaches.