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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    4

    Default Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    I'm in an early 50's house in the California Bay Area with galvanized steel pipes in the basement crawl space and an irrigation system that branches off from the house plumbing. I know for sure that the galvanized pipes are at least 18 years old, and maybe they even date back to when the house was built.

    The water pressure is fine, and there are no leaks in the house plumbing. There's rust in the water when I first turn it on after I've been away for several months, and there's some rust stain in the toilet.

    When I was on the opposite side of the country for several months a year ago, a huge water bill alerted me to a leak. This caused me much consternation until I was able to get the water turned off at the main valve at the house, and determined the water meter at the street was no longer turning. This cut off the irrigation, but fortunately the winter rains were reliable. When I got back I discovered the leak was due to a clogged irrigation valve.

    I am soon to be far away again for several months. I don't want the worry of whether a leak will occur in the basement crawl space, but do want to keep the irrigation going. Turning down the pressure regulator at the main house valve low enough to protect the house plumbing may result in deficient irrigation. So I'm considering separating the irrigation system from the house plumbing. That way I can turn off the house water and keep the irrigation available.

    But I'm wondering: could vibration from doing this work on the old plumbing in itself cause a leak to develop?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    Let me put it this way. I had a small leak in gal. pipe at a lavatory. By the time I got the leak fixed I had replaced all the plumbing in the house.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    Thanks, Jack. I need a little clarification. Do you mean you replaced all the pipes without fixing the leak because of the risk to the rest of the old system from fixing the leak?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    When I tried to remove the bad piece of pipe the threads broke off in an elbow, when I tried to remove the elbow the pipe below it cracked. Add to the the fact that the 3/4"pipe had deposits that cut it down to less than 1/2" and the frustration of having one break after another, I decided it was easier and faster to replace it all.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,161

    Default Re: Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    I have to agree w/ Jim. Working on the pipes won't cause deterioration, but don't be surprised if things break.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Will working on old pipes cause deterioration?

    Thanks, Jack and ed21.

    I've figured out where the old galvanized pipe could break due to having this job done: (1) where new irrigation pipe gets connected to old galvanized main from street, close to house; (2) where new irrigation pipe gets connected to old galvanized irrigation pipe under the house; (3) where old galvanized house pipe gets capped off; (4) where new irrigation pipe gets connected to old galvanized irrigation pipe exiting the house.

    This job would be done by a professional plumber. Am I safe in assuming that the plumber could successfully deal with any breakage without doing an entire repipe?

    The plumber who came to do an estimate never mentioned the possibility of breakage. The old galvanized pipe, which may date back to the early 50's, may be of better quality than what was used later. But I don't really know for sure.

    Please see my new posting related to this.

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