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Thread: replacing lead pipes and drum trap with PVC

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member austintx's Avatar
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    Default replacing lead pipes and drum trap with PVC

    Howdy,

    I am remodeling the bathroom in my 1951 house on slab. Once I removed the tub, I found a lead drum trap that I figure ought to be upgraded while I have the opportunity. I guess removing the thing was the easy part, my next step is connecting up the new PVC to the existing cast iron. I have read 2 different methods, one is to melt the "wiped joint" off of the brass ferrule, then cut the brass until I have a smooth straight piece to attach a no-hub fitting to. The other method I have read is to remove the brass ferrule and associated lead and okum from the cast iron, and use a "donut" to attach the PVC to the cast iron. Which one should I go with, or is there another option?

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    One more thing, the sink drains into a lead pipe that heads under the concrete and ties into the cast iron somewhere. I will be replacing the existing PVC for the sink drain, but would prefer not to go busting the concrete to replace the lead portion of the drain, which looks to be in good shape. Would it be kosher to leave the lead sink drain alone?

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  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Either method will work for you, though I prefer to remove the caulking ferrule and re-do the connection at the hub. If the lead drain for the sink is in good shape you can absolutely leave it alone.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I have been plumbing since the 50s and have NEVER "installed" any lead waste piping, but have removed a lot of it. I cannot believe that a house built in 1951 had lead piping installed in it, especially underground. As for the brass ferrules, you usually will NOT find a "straight" piece because they were tapered to fit into the lead pipe.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    You cannot judge the condition of a lead pipe by "looking" at it. It is inconceivable that that lead pipe is not long
    past its usual useful life. If it is not already leaking, it is certainly on the verge of doing so. It is also probably
    significantly undersized by modern standards. Nothing lasts forever: just replace it now while you have the area
    open.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member austintx's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, my plan is to remove the brass ferrule and tie the PVC straight into the cast iron. I'll go ahead and bust a little concrete and see where that lead sink drain goes, judging by everything else, it probably ties into cast iron close by, so might not be too difficult to replace. You're probably right about being it being undersized, the kitchen sink ties into the same pipe on the other side of the wall.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Philosophically, I cannot imagine WHY they used lead in the first place. If it is done the normal way, there will be a steel drain line under, and parallel, to the wall, so the sink should have been able to drop straight DOWN into it, instead of sweeping to the right towards the tub drain. And the tub drain WOULD have been a lot easier using steel, and definitely faster than fabricating that drum trap.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member austintx's Avatar
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    Removed some of the concrete last night and it looks like the sink drain ties into the same cast iron pipe as the tub drain. My plan is to go ahead and replace the lead sink drian while I am at it. I was thinking about pretty much following the same path as the original lead pipe, having the PVC run at a 45 degree angle down to the cast iron.

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  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member austintx's Avatar
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    Seeing as the drain for the sink services the lavatory + kitchen sink/disposal/dishwasher, I am going to need upgrade the 1.5" drain with a 2", correct? If so, looks like I will need to replace the cast iron wyes to accept the 2" drain

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