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Thread: Rust in water, galvanized service pipe

  1. #1
    DIY Member JAR8832's Avatar
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    Default Rust in water, galvanized service pipe

    We've noticed an increasing amount of rust flakes in our water lately, and I'm starting to suspect its coming from the galvanized pipe that connects the pitless adapter to the tank tee. This is the only galvanized pipe in the whole system, with the house plumbing being copper and the galvanized drop pipe being replaced with plastic when the pump was replaced in 1999. The galvanized pipe is about 12 feet long and is as old as the house (36 years). It is buried to a depth of 6 feet in gravelly soil. There have been no issues with water flow, so I doubt the pipe is close to rusting shut. Only about a foot of the pipe is exposed in the basement, and the only signs of rusting I can see are in the threads at the tank tee connection. (The tank and all fittings were replaced in 1999 as well)

    Should I be concerned this pipe is close to failure?

    Last edited by JAR8832; 12-19-2011 at 07:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    I guess it is possible that 12' of galv pipe is causing the rust flakes. However, it is usually from steel well casing, not the discharge pipe.

  3. #3
    DIY Member JAR8832's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. Would you recommend replacing the galvanized pipe?

  4. #4
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The pipe must be buried below the frost line from the house to the well. More often than not, the trench is dug with a backhoe.

    Like vm said, rust flakes are more likely to come from the well's casing, unless the casing is PVC also.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Put in a $18 whole house filter.

  6. #6
    DIY Member JAR8832's Avatar
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    I guess the wording of my question emphasized the wrong thing. The rust in the water doesn't really bother me, as it is rather insignificant. It's just what got me thinking about this piece of galvanized pipe. How long does 1" galvanized pipe underground last typically? At 36 years of age, should I consider a proactive replacement, or is it likely to last another 15-20 years before any chance of failure. I don't like the thought of this thing springing a leak in the middle of February some year.
    Last edited by JAR8832; 12-20-2011 at 01:20 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator valveman's Avatar
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    Because the pipe is that old, it is probably better than anything new you could put in there.

  8. #8
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It's a realistic concern, but most would wait for it to leak before they fix it. If you have the time and ability to DIY, then it might be more viable.

    Jobs like this do not always go off without a hitch. You might dig the line up and realize that the pitless adapter needs to be replaced also. Then the pump has to come up, etc, etc.

  9. #9
    DIY Member JAR8832's Avatar
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    If I went forward with this, I would definitely have the pitless adapter replaced by a professional. It's kind of a dilemma. On one hand, the area where the pipe is under isn't easily accessible due to landscaping, and a backhoe would cause a lot of damage just getting to the area. Being able to dig it by hand on my own terms would eliminate any landscape repair costs. But on the other hand, the pipe may have 20+ years left on it, and the cost of the replacement may be totally unnecessary. Good thing I have all winter to think about this.

  10. #10
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You will need a good back if you plan on digging by hand. The minimum depth required here is 4 feet, and will be deeper the further north you live.

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