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Thread: Really dumb pipe questions...

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Default Really dumb pipe questions...

    These questions are dumb so please don't laugh too hard. I'm replacing my well pressure tank and the related plumbing. My existing indoor plumbing to the pressure tank is galvanized pipe but it is pretty rusty so I was thinking of replacing it with brass. Then I read here that plumbing codes in some areas ban brass pipe for water pipes because of lead content. (I'm not sure if that applies to my area and I'm not too concerned about it anyway.) But before heading out to buy the new pipe and fittings, I also checked out galvanized pipe online and I see that some galvanized pipe is approved for drinking water pipes and others are not. I didn't know that before. So I have four questions:

    1) What type of pipe (and fittings) is recommended?

    2) If I choose brass pipe, are there types that do not contain lead? Again, I'm not really worried about that anyway but if I go with brass, I figure I might as well ask about this now. In other words, if I go with brass, is there something I should look for?

    3) If I go with galvanized pipe and fittings, is there something I should look for to make sure it is approved for drinking water?

    4) I just found a website about pressure tank installation and the person who wrote it recommends PVC pipe. I hadn't even thought of that because I didn't think I could use PVC for this purpose. Can I?
    Last edited by ZoneIII; 01-11-2012 at 01:29 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Member mliu's Avatar
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    I would use type "L" copper (with lead-fee solder, of course). It's much less expensive than brass pipe, no lead leaching, and will last much, much longer than galvanized.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Galvanized with (good) quality well water might last a long time...in other situations, could start rusting in days. You could always use copper with a fitting soldered on, and it would probably outlive you and several replacement tanks. You can get some brass with acceptable lead content, but it may be hard to source. in general, it's normally not an issue, but is becoming one with new regulations. Many new faucet designs are now switching materials so that they are entirely lead free and that's carrying over to other fittings, etc. as well.

    Most of the galvanized stuff readily available is no longer made here in the USA, and, quality is quite variable. Plus, when the nipple are threaded, it cuts through the galvanized, and that part is the first to degrade. To keep rust out of the system, avoid it.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! I'm going to edit my original question to ask about PVC pipe. I was suprised to find a website that recommends using that. I didn't think I could use PVC for this purpose. If I can, that would be great and much easier. Is PVC OK for this installation?

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    CPVC can be used, but PVC is not allowed once your water lines get inside a building. The plastic pipe can become somewhat brittle with age, especially if it sits in direct sunlight. With the pressure swings of a typical well system, I'd feel better with copper and/or brass. Personal feelings, not from experience.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Why not Pexify it. It's fast, cheap and easy
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  7. #7
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You would be well served by reading a little on how to sweat copper and then buying a few fittings and a section of pipe and trying it. It's not rocket science, and IMO it is a much better product than anything else on the market.

    Once you do a few practice joints, you will be ready to replumb the whole house.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the useful replies.

    As far as practicing with sweat fitting, believe it or not, I have done quite a bit of sweat fitting in my time. It may seem funny because of my basic questions but I'm pretty much an all-around handyman. In fact, I do just about everything up to and including rebuilding engines, etc. It's just that I ran into some conflicting information and some stuff I didn't know about for this particular job. I did install my existing tank 20 years ago but the galvanized pipes are rusting more than I like to see so I wanted to get suggestions from experts on what type of pipe is best for this application. I'm inlined to go with metal.

    Thanks again for the help!
    Last edited by ZoneIII; 01-11-2012 at 04:32 PM.

  9. #9
    plumber/piping designer cad-cat's Avatar
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    copper or pex. why go thru the hassle of cutting and threading. when galv. pipe starts to break down it tears up your faucets and clogs aerators. i have done quite a few re-pipe jobs,mostly all copper. last few years pex is starting to get more popular because of cost.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Pipewrench's Avatar
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    Pex!!!!!!!!

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