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Thread: Pinholes in copper vent pipe

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  1. #1
    DIY Member chel_in_IL's Avatar
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    Default Pinholes in copper vent pipe

    I'm remodeling my bathroom all the way down to the studs. I was about to hang another piece of sheetrock, when I discovered corrosion on a horizontal piece of vent pipe. I wiped the corrosion away and found holes, which range from 1/5 - 1/3" in diameter.

    This is the top level of the house, and no water flows through this pipe. They are vents for a lower level toilet and sink.

    What can I do to stop the corrosion, and keep them from getting worse?

    As you can see in the picture, it would be difficult to replace this section. (Well, at least for me!)

    Michelle in Machesney Park, IL


  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking strong sewer gas

    that is not a good sign to see the top side
    of a copper pipe corroded like that....

    This usually happens on the bottom side of a pipe that
    is immersed in water all the time...

    you must have some very caustic sewer gas comming up those pipes and I suggest you do a little more
    looking around....


    I have seen some pretty rough patches of holes like that
    in the past ...people useing everythign from roof tar pitch
    to silicone to plug up those holes...

    it would be better to cut out that section and replace it with pvc... I would guess that that whole arm is probably paper thin




  3. #3
    DIY Member chel_in_IL's Avatar
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    Well, I've become pretty skilled with a Sawzall, and it's not a bearing wall, so I could cut out that section of the stud and the pipe and replace the pipe with PVC.

    I have septic, have had issues with plugged lines in the yard and a bad lift pump, and have heard that the previous owner had a pump go out every couple of years. So, who knows...

    Thanks for your input!

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You sure don't want to replace the corroded copper with more copper. It would be very costly at today's copper prices, and certainly for a vent line, PVC would be every bit as effective. I'd just cut out the bad copper and use banded couplings to connect the PVC. I don't know if regular Fernco couplers would be OK on an interior vent line or not. They're not OK on an interior drain line, but the banded would be for sure OK.

  5. #5

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    Copper DWV is lighter than copper for waterlines. The pipe may have been defective, but that's very rare with copper. I wonder - has anyone that you know of ever had a hair salon in the home? There are some very nasty chemicals involved in that. I recently replaced about 20' of cast iron that may have been about 35 years old because of that - it was completely rotted out for its entire length on the top.

    Another odd fact is that it's only the one piece - I have to wonder why. Was it the physics of the thing, or is there more waiting to fail? If you cut it up, you may look at the surrounding pipe to get an idea what's going on.

    PVC may be a good way to salvage this, but PVC is likely to have a larger outside diameter than copper. 3" PVC = 3.5" O.D. 3" cu = 3.125" O.D.
    2" PVC = 2.375" 2" cu = 2.125".

  6. #6
    DIY Member chel_in_IL's Avatar
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    Hair salon? Hmm, not that I know of. The neighbors knew the former owners, both who lived here since soon after the house was built.

    I did get a step ladder out and inspected the copper piping downstairs, and everything looks fine. The house was built in the early 70's.

    I bought the house almost three years ago, and I think anything that could leak, has. We've already replaced the J-pipes for both of the bathroom sinks. They were completely rotted out where it enters the wall.

    This bathroom remodel was alot worse that I had originally anticipated (isn't it always?)

    Michelle

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