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Thread: Old Flexible Lead Pipe, HOW to attach to?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member inertiacoupling's Avatar
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    Default Old Flexible Lead Pipe, HOW to attach to?

    I have an old building built in the 1920's.

    The main water supply line appears to be of flexible lead.

    It's about 1" OD, .6" ID, with wall thickness of .2".

    It's just used for the toilet, and a hand wash sink.

    It had been leaking where it was connected to by a union that is so frozen with age,
    that I had to cut it off just below the union.

    QUESTION:
    What's the best MODERN way to re-connect to this type of line?

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Surely you can't be serious? Lead pipe anywhere in a potable water system is forbidden.

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    In the Trades joemcl's Avatar
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    We still run into this in older areas, specially in the city. (philly) The only way to do this is completely remove lead. If it is your service it must be replaced.
    Last edited by joemcl; 03-07-2013 at 11:31 AM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The lead becomes more brittle as it ages, and could be a big problem trying to connect to. The insides of that pipe will be coated with stuff after 100-years, and introducing lead into the potable water isn't that big an issue, but your best course is to replace it with modern materials. Done right, it should last another 100-years.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It was pretty common to have a section of lead at the meter, but I have not seen an entire lateral. How much of the line have you actually seen?

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    In the Trades joemcl's Avatar
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    Lead water service from meter out to curb stop. All lead.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Replacing the lead supply line with a modern pipe should increase the volume of water for the whole house (assuming you're tapping off that supply and it isn't dedicated to that single, small use). Most modern codes want at least 3/4" and often 1" or even larger supply pipe to the main.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member inertiacoupling's Avatar
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    Replacement is not realistically possible.

    This is NOT a residence, and the water just feeds a toilet and small handsink.

    It runs from the meter by the street about 80 feet.
    The ENTIRE run is circa 1920's, under the original cement, then under the original slab in the floor of the building.

    So PLEASE, what is the best way to connect to this?
    Last edited by inertiacoupling; 03-07-2013 at 05:23 PM.

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Hopefully, one of the plumbers can answer this...most of us here have not had to deal with lead pipes...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    In the Trades joemcl's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the best solution for you is to replace the entire run. I have been in the trade over 25 years and would not attempt to connect to this line. I know it will be a big expense, but replacing this line is your only real option.
    Last edited by joemcl; 03-07-2013 at 05:24 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member inertiacoupling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joemcl View Post
    Unfortunately the best solution for you is to replace the entire run. I have been in the trade over 25 years and would not attempt to connect to this line. I know it will be a big expense, but replacing this line is your only real option.
    I do not have the thousands of dollars this will cost...

    There has to be a fitting to go from lead to copper.

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    Consultant cwhyu2's Avatar
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    Last edited by Terry; 03-08-2013 at 08:00 PM.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Not being able to see what the problem in replacing this would really be, but cutting 80 feet of concrete is not something that would cost "thousands of dollars". There are professional concrete cutting companies that could do this in a matter of a few hours including removing the pieces of concrete. After the concrete is cut, all that would be needed is to dig the trench and lay a new pipe then cover the trench and fill the top with new concrete. Cheap? No, but the only option that would pass code inspection.

  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member inertiacoupling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwhyu2 View Post
    google lead pack coupling.
    Thanks, I'll check it out.

    I understand the concern about lead that has been expressed.
    But in this application, this water line just supplies water to a toilet and cold water only hand sink in a small workshop.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member inertiacoupling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    Not being able to see what the problem in replacing this would really be, but cutting 80 feet of concrete is not something that would cost "thousands of dollars". There are professional concrete cutting companies that could do this in a matter of a few hours including removing the pieces of concrete. After the concrete is cut, all that would be needed is to dig the trench and lay a new pipe then cover the trench and fill the top with new concrete. Cheap? No, but the only option that would pass code inspection.
    10+ years ago I had a copper water line run from my side of the street into my house, which is on a slab.

    They dug a trench in my yard of about 35 feet, then went under my slab about 15 feet with some kind of air powered torpedo shaped thing.

    Even this cost me over $4000 10+ years ago.

    To replace the water line in this old workshop could easily cost over $10,000 or more.
    Just to supply water to a toilet stool, and one cold water faucet in a small sink.

    I DON'T have this money, and this isn't going to be inspected by anybody.
    I'm doing the work, and the coupling will be buried in the floor.

    Since the 1930's when my dad bought this place, he had employees who worked there since before WW2 up until the early 1990's when it closed.
    Nobody ever had any "lead poisoning" and lived to a ripe old age.
    I also grew up being there, and I have no signs of "lead poisoning", even though I drank the water there sometimes.

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