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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    3

    Default Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    Can anyone help me identify what is this pipe/conduit could be in my wall? The picture is through the hole where the old electrical box used to be.



    I don't really need to do anything with the pipe, I just found it while working on replacing an old electrical box in the bathroom. So I'm just wondering what this pipe is. Also, I'm not sure it has to do anything with plumbing, but since it's a "pipe", I had no better idea which forum to use. Please feel free to redirect me.

    I was working on replacing an old electrical box in the bathroom, and I found a horizontal pipe, about 2 inches diameter, running in the wall, about 44 inches high from the floor. This is the wall between the two bathrooms. While most walls in my home are using 2x4 studs, this wall is using 2x6. Most of the cross section of the stud is sawn out to let this unidentified pipe pass through.

    I don't see more than a few inches of this pipe. One end is going towards the outside wall, but there is nothing on the outside of my house that would help me identify this pipe. The other end is going towards the cabinet where the furnace is, but there is nothing visible inside the cabinet. The furnace is gas, but the gas pipe is attached from the bottom, through the crawl space. So I don't think the pipe I'm seeing would be gas.

    To my untrained eyes, the material looks like EMT tubing, but I'm unsure.

    The house does not have knob-and-tube, it has 12/2 ungrounded cables, so I don't think the pipe is related to electrical either. On the picture you also see a bare copper wire, that was (I think) used as makeshift grounding for the old metal electrical box, and probably goes to some water pipe.

    The house was built in the 50's, and this is in California.

    Thanks for all the tips,
    Balint

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    Your guess is as good as mine, but the pipe looks like it is brass in which case it may be a plumbing vent pipe.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South*East
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    From the height of the pipe my guess would be it's a vent line. Horizontal vents must run 6" above the flood rim of the highest fixture which puts them at 42" or more. It's evidently an older home using galvanized pipe for the waste and vent system.
    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    This pipe looks galvanized, which was commonly used years ago. Being 2" galvanized, it has to be a vent or a vent connection.

    The loose copper wire in the picture could be a grounding wire like you thought, or could be just a scrap wire left behind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    Thank you all. I can totally accept the vent explanation. I just was not aware, that a vent can go horizontal. I thought those are always vertical right through the roof. But now it makes complete sense: the pipe is probably running between the two sinks in the two neighboring bathrooms, so that there is probably just one pipe to the roof for the two sinks. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    blac1175,
    Horizontal vents are widely used for connecting between 2 vents and as offset vents in places where a vertical vent is practically impossible (window, header in the way, etc).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,356

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    You could always cut into the pipe.

    • If sparks fly, it's electrical conduit
    • If you get wet, it's water
    • If you get scalded, it's hot water
    • If it stinks, it's a vent pipe
    • If you get wet and it stinks, it's a sewer pipe
    • If your house explodes, it's a gas pipe
    • If money comes out, it's the vacuum tube for the bank's drive-up window
    • If you hear voices, it belongs to the NSA

    You're welcome. Always glad to help.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    You could always cut into the pipe.

    • If sparks fly, it's electrical conduit
    • If you get wet, it's water

    You're welcome. Always glad to help.
    You forgot two things . . .
    (1) Shut off water so if it's water, you won't have 50 gallons in the house before you find the main shutoff (assuming it isn't frozen).
    (2) Then, call an appropriate service who will make the repair for $300 to $3,000 -- keep it less costly by doing the wall repairs and repainting yourself.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    tmanero, fencepost was just being funny. Don't worry, it's not a water pipe under pressure. 2" pipes are not used to deliver water in a regular size house. Could be used in a mansion...with 8 bathrooms.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Unidentified pipe/conduit in wall

    I wasn't throwing rocks at fencepost . . . one can take his "directions" to very interesting places.

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