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Thread: Odd Pipes - Any Ideas?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rachees613's Avatar
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    Question Odd Pipes - Any Ideas?

    So ... we bought a foreclosure/fixer-upper in Austin, and have just ripped out some bathroom walls to reveal some very strange pipe formations. Please see attached. Name:  toilet pipe.jpg
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Size:  51.0 KBName:  weird pipes.jpg
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    (I hope those attached -- the attachment process is a little strange to me.)

    Any ideas? They just look crazy to us. And, in a house where someone used an extension cord to wire a ceiling fan, we figured they ARE crazy. But does that mean we need to hire a plumber to come fix them? Or do they need to be cut and capped off? Or can we just leave them?

    Thanks!
    Rachel

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Are you referring to the "stubbed up" pipes next to the cast iron? If so, they do not seem to have any purpose so you can probably just ignore them. ANyone who would install a manifold that far out of level and plumb and use that soft copper to the toilet, could have done anything when they installed the piping.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Looks like normal Texas code to me.

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    DIY Junior Member rachees613's Avatar
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    In the top photo, I'm referring to the small skinny one, and in the bottom, to all the copper off-shoots -- there are seven extra ones beside the main two coppers that are next to the big middle one. Is the big middle one cast iron?

    What's a manifold? I'm sure my husband knows more than I do, but I'm the one posting this, so I have no idea, and it just looks nuts to me.

    So, hj, do we cut them and cap them off? Or do we just leave them?

    Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!
    Rachel

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    DIY Junior Member rachees613's Avatar
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    @Gary -- ha! But if that's the case, what are all of them even for?

    Merry Christmas!
    Rachel

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    It is hard to tell but the pipe next to the cast iron drain may have been driven into the dirt to hold the other pipes in place until after the concrete was poured. I assume there are other water pipes to a kitchen etc. Since the house is on a slab they may have used the manifolds so there would be no branches in the pipe under the concrete. If you cap them off you may not have any water in the kitchen or at other faucets.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Only cut those "extra pipes" off if you do NOT want your faucets elsewhere to work. That is the main distribution point for the whole house and each of those pipes goes to a specific area. It was, and is, done that way to eliminate pipe connections under the floor, which are NOT permitted. The big black pipe is a cast iron drain line for the sink. It looks "nuts" to you because you did NOT spend years learning the plumbing business and how things HAVE to be done to do them properly.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Only cut those "extra pipes" off if you do NOT want your faucets elsewhere to work. That is the main distribution point for the whole house and each of those pipes goes to a specific area. It was, and is, done that way to eliminate pipe connections under the floor, which are NOT permitted. The big black pipe is a cast iron drain line for the sink. It looks "nuts" to you because you did NOT spend years learning the plumbing business and how things HAVE to be done to do them properly.
    Like hj mentions, a typical manifold to spread water to the plumbing fixtures. That has to stay.

    Black pipe is the cast iron drain.

    The open pipe was likely used to stake the copper in place while the concrete was poured around the manifold and the drain line to keep them from shifting out of the wall during the pour.

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    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    Looks like normal Texas code to me.
    Yep, the southern building code -- a beer in one hand and a shotgun in the other.

    It actually looks quite normal for the slab on grade houses in north Texas. I would sister in another stud by the toilet stub out to stiffen up the wall, but that's me.

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    DIY Senior Member kcodyjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    t looks "nuts" to you because you did NOT spend years learning the plumbing business and how things HAVE to be done to do them properly.
    Please, educate us about why exactly it's necessary and proper to install a manifold so far out of plumb/level that it looks like the job was done by a blind one-armed man during his lunch break. Even accepting the normalcy of a manifold, which I do, it still looks nuts.

    Also, what's all that crap all over the sole plate? I can't tell from the photo if there's some kind of flaky mess, or if that's actually concrete.

    Jumping on people again, hj. He came here asking what to make of it. There's no good reason to castigate him for not knowing what to make of it. Yours is exactly the expert opinion he was seeking. Be flattered, not annoyed.
    Last edited by kcodyjr; 12-25-2013 at 06:53 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member houptee's Avatar
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    Are you planning to do all the work yourself on this house?
    If so you could clean up that mess with blue and red PEX tubing.
    Carefully cut each copper pipe and solder on pex adapters to each, extend them up to a new PEX hot and cold distribution manifold in a location that can be accessed in the future so you can shut off the individual water branch circuits.
    That's the way the majority of new construction and most repairs are done, PEX tubing.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member kcodyjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    done that way to eliminate pipe connections under the floor
    hj, could you clarify? It's not obvious to a noob how strictly "connection" is defined.

    Does that mean it has to be copper flex where it goes in the slab, or are ells and bends allowed to support the use of hard pipe?
    Last edited by kcodyjr; 12-25-2013 at 08:50 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member kcodyjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by houptee View Post
    each, extend them up to a new PEX hot and cold distribution manifold
    Not that I don't agree that it's ugly, but what would be the profit in bothering to replace it at all? In what way is it functionally deficient?

    Generally, whether PEX or copper, I do like the idea of having a bunch of valves located together for shutting off individual circuits. I'm professionally biased to prefer star topologies over bus topologies even if I can't see a benefit, and for water distribution, I can plainly see that it makes tracing a leak easier as well as letting the rest of the house function while the licensed pro is actually executing the repair. However, I'm not sold that it's worth the trouble to fix what isn't yet shown to be broken.

    If there's anything I'd be (possibly stupidly) tempted to do, it'd be to cut off that open-ended piece at the slab, grind it down below flush, and plug/cap it with some mortar to keep any bugs out. Even if they're not coming up through it, they've gotta be using it for condo space.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Whoever did that forgot that the first word in plumber is plumb.

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    Whoever did that forgot that the first word in plumber is plumb.

    It's pretty typical for southern slab piping. Behind the wall, under the floor, nobody will see it so save time and materials and just get it done. Not a whole lot different really than all the PEX being strung like spaghetti these days.

    HJ, you do seem to be getting pretty cranky these days. If you're not careful Slusser will call you anti-DIY LOL
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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