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Thread: Help - Galvanized drain pipes/vent pipe in 2 story home is rusted, broken, leaking.

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Default Help - Galvanized drain pipes/vent pipe in 2 story home is rusted, broken, leaking.

    I have a 2 story flat. The galvanized pipes are rusted, and breaking, and leaking.

    The pipes are a combination of kitchen drain pipes for the upper level kitchen and lower story kitchen - and is part of what I think is also a vent pipe out the roof.

    My problem is the drain pipes coming from the upper level kitchen has rusted out right at and below the Tee connector, and is leaking water down between the walls, past the first floor, and eventually into the basement.

    I am looking for a temporary, and a permanent fix.

    Is the EPOXY putty (magic putty, jb weld, etc.) any good as a temporary fix. I think that is what was on the pipes already from a long time ago.

    What type of piping can I use to permanently fix. (PVC, rubber gaskets, etc.?)

    If I cut the existing rusted sections of pipes, what problem would I have with the old pipes being supported? Are these old pipes just sitting on top of each other, or would there be existing brackests/braces holding them up also from when the home was built (in the 1920's).

    Also, any ideas about cutting pipes if the solution requires it. As you can see from the pictures, these pipes are about 1" from the wall.

    Also, can anyone tell from the pics what the actual size of these galvanized pipes are?

    The basement pipe is also rusted where it goes into the basment floor, but not leaking, and I hope I don't have to do anything with that right now. I just want to stop the leaks.

    This started about 7 - 10 days ago. Is there anything I should eventually do, or worry about in regards to mold?

    I am going to try to insert a few pictures below, to best illustrate my challenge ;-)

    The first 2 pictures show the upper story pipes.

    It looks like there was some type of Epoxy putty on them in the 1st picture, and after I poked at it, it broke off as seen in the 2nd closeup picture.

    The last 2 pictures show the pipes in the basement.

    I don't know what the tee and pipes out of the 1st floor kitchen look like yet.
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  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    You will have continued problems and clogs if you try to patch this. It really needs to be cut out and new pipe coupled in with proper banded couplings. This is not a huge job for any plumber.

    If you want to try it yourself, get more details with further questions here.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Hi Jimbo,

    I would like to try and do it myself. If you know how I should do this, that would be great.

    What kind of pipe and couplings should I use?

    Also, any suggestions for cutting, since it is close to the wall?

    Will the pipe 'fall down' if I cut?

    Thnks,
    Matt

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Because the stuff is so rusted, it's hard to say what's really holding it up. Galvanized is not as heavy as cast iron, but is still heavy. Bascially, when it T's off to a horizontal run, the joint normally would hold the rest in place, but that's probably not a safe bet now. There are hanger clamps that could be installed to hold pieces in place while you cut out sections to rebuild. If the vertical pipes are that bad, the horizontal ones are probably worse, so you should consider replacing all of it. This can be a major project, as it could be between the ceiling and the upper floors.

    It's hard to tell for sure what size it is. Take a piece of string and wrap it around the pipe, then measure it and divide by pi (3.14). That should tell you the diameter. Pipe is measured by the interior diameter, so it would be probably 1/2" less than the OD to account for approximately 1/4" per wall.

    A sawsall or hacksaw will cut galvanized fairly easily. The parts you can see should be fairly easy to replace...it's the stuff burried in the walls that might be more of a pain. Without being there, it's hard to tell how much skill level it would take to do a good job, or determine your skill level.

    PVC is fairly easy to work with, and as long as you don't get high from the pvc cement and cleaner, making a joint isn't a big deal. The harder thing to get a grip on is you can't dry fit it all together, then glue it up. The fittings are meant to be tight, and until you apply the cement, which actually melts the plastic and welds it together, it is very diffucult to push the pipe down into the fitting fully so you could dry fit. If you do, you'd end up short since the pipe will go down more than when you dry fit. The magic here is to measure from the stop in the fitting.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I have to side with Jimbo's suggestion about getting a plumber. Although you have some very good questions, it is obvious that you are a total novice and this may be more of a job than you can accomplish without spending a great deal of time and extra effort than you realize. Also to reinforce Jimbo, forget about the patches. The pipes are way past the point of stopping up a pinhole leak or small drip with any kind of patching materials.

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Its sawzall time without a doubt!

    Running a pipe from the 2nd fl to the basement is guite a task for a newbie DIYer you will do well hiring a plumber. You could make sure that the walls are opened up to save $
    Last edited by Redwood; 06-22-2008 at 07:57 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    jadnashua,

    I did measure already, the outside of the pipe was 6 1/4, so if I divide that by 3.14, I get 1.99", then subtract 1/2", gives me a 1 and 1/2 galvanized pipe.

    The pipe is all in the wall running from the 2nd story to the basement, except for the stub outs that go under the kitchen sink area.

    I was hoping to just find a solution involving just fixing the pipe that is bad, at least for now.

    I saw a Fernco "Quick T" fitting (http://www.fernco.com/QT.asp), and thought that would not be too hard, but I'd have to consider supporting the vent pipes above this T (if they are currently just supported by the old "T" joint.) I can't see up the walls to see if there are any hanger claps there, so I guess I'd have to play it safe and put one in.

    With PVC measuring, isn't there a 'standard' insertion distance to arrive at the lengths the pipes need to be?

  8. #8
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    You do not want to use a fernco Qwik Tee!
    The pipe needs to be cut off above the leaking tee, connected to new 1 1/2" schedule 40 PVC, or, ABS your pick whatever is available to you with a coupling such as a Fernco Proflex Coupling #3000-150...



    Then replace all the bad piping with pretty much the same stuff that is there now. As long as what is there meets code and is installed correctly. I cannot tell if it is correct from the pictures you provided and you are not a plumber so you do not know!

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    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Gary,

    Yes I am a novice, but have done some plumbing stuff (hot water tank, kitchen sink and counter).

    I am not working, and it would be hard to afford a plumber, so I thought I'd try it myself. I am fairly handy, and learn quickly when I need to.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Redwood,

    So you are saying cut out above the Tee (after I put in a bracket to ensure it is supported), then use plastic replacement Tee, new plastic stubout, and new plastic "tail" below the Tee, and tie this new plastic above, and below, with the Fernco Proflex coupling?

    I could then repeat the same patch on the basement section?

  11. #11
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Yes, that is in effect what I'm saying but I wouldn't leave old junk in the middle... That pipe is hurting! Replace it all from the sink on down!

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    Redwood,

    Thanks for the advice. I would eventually replace the middle stuff. Would you use say PVC for that also?

    But for the first step I just want to get the sink functioning upstairs.

    I feel safer tackling one step at a time, as this is more than I've done before.

    Is this the type Tee you are thinking of? (Threaded?)


    or (unthreaded?)


    What does schedule 40 mean? Can the threaded PVC go to galvanized pipe, or is there threaded PVC lengths of pipe also (like threaded galvanized lengths)?
    Last edited by Terry; 06-26-2008 at 08:53 AM.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Seriously dude you do need a plumber! Also with the line shared on 2 floors I have serious doubts that it is vented properly!

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    On the horizontal arms, cut off maybe 3". Then, once you only have the horizontal stubs sticking out, replace the vertical sections with the appropriate SanTees (not a straight T, the inlet is curved). Install a short stub sticking out the arm, and use the connector shown to then attach that stub to what's left in the wall. A section of pvc (it comes in 10' lenghts) is cheap, so just replace all of the vertical stuff and stub out to the horizontal.

    I doubt any of the existing galvanized fittings that are threaded would be worth saving, but if you do find one, you can attach a pvc male fitting and thread it into the galvanized female, but do not do it the other way - the metal can eventually crack the female fitting if you screw it in too far. You'd probably need a couple of pretty good sized pipe wrenches, and I doubt you'd get any apart without twisting off other things, so I wouldn't try...just cut out the cancerous stuff and install new.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member mnalep's Avatar
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    jadnashua,

    I wish I had 3" of the horizontal pipe coming out of the wall. But there is only about 1" between the wall and the pipe, and the arm of the existing tee is butting up to the wall. I would have to get that whole horizontal section out by going under the kitchen sink, and then still would not be able to have it stick out 3", or it would be 2" past the existing pipes.

    I was hoping I could use that existing tee, clean the threads out (the old pipe is rusted right out of that tee), and then screw in a new piece of pvc there. The existing tee seems to still be ok from what I recall seeing.

    Thanks for more advice. I need it.

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