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Replacing copper water lines

Randy2's picture

I am remodeling a bathroom in my two story 60 year old home. Having pulled up the floor, I now have access to all of the plumbing that runs between the first and second floor.  I have about 24" clear to work in.

 

1. All of the copper lines are suspended by U-shaped wire hangers with their points driven into the ceiling joists. Will the slight movement of the lines eventually rub a weak spot/hole where the lines touch the hangers?

2.  I had one pin hole leak in a copper line not at the hanger.

3.  I would like to replace all that I can reach.  I am comfortable working wiht PEX. Is that the right way to go?

4.  I am concerned about having a number of sharkbite joints between the floor and ceiling.  Will they leak after 10/20/30/40 years?

5.  Is there a better way to do this?

1) The wire-type hangers, (post #194841, reply #1 of 11)

1) The wire-type hangers, properly used, are about as good as you can have.  No sharp edges to abrade the pipe, and they have some "give".

2) One pinhole leak isn't much evidence one way or another.  60 year old copper may still have another 40 years of useful life, or may be on its last legs, depending on water quality.

3) PEX is good, but unless you use the fittings you install with a special tool then the fittings reduce the diameter and cause restrictions.

4) No one knows how Sharkbites will hold up long term, though experience so far has been good.  However, see (3).

5) I'd probably leave the copper alone, or else buy the PEX tool.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Plumbing remodel (post #194841, reply #2 of 11)

I have and have used the PEX tool.  My real concern is that the more fittings in put in (i.e. sharkbites), the higher the probability of a leak.

Why use the Sharkbites? (post #194841, reply #3 of 11)

Why use the Sharkbites?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Just a homeowner.  Is there (post #194841, reply #4 of 11)

Just a homeowner.  Is there another way to transition from copper to PEX?

The way they did it before (post #194841, reply #5 of 11)

The way they did it before Sharkbites.  Solder on a PEX-to-copper transition.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

got some this morning and am (post #194841, reply #6 of 11)

got some this morning and am on my way. Thanks for the help.

 

So you would leave the wire hangers?

Don't forget that the i.d of (post #194841, reply #7 of 11)

Don't forget that the i.d of pex will be smaller then the copper, you have to up-size the pex to match.

"If all else fails, read the directions"

Replaced about 80 feet of (post #194841, reply #8 of 11)

Replaced about 80 feet of 3/4" cold water Cu line a couple of years ago with PVC. Why did I replace the CU? Simple, the price of new Cu was outasight! and I needed 80 feet for a ground source heat pump evaporator I was building from scratch, and I'm really cheap. Copper would have lasted another millenium as a water pipe with my well water. BTW, if you wonder how one can use used Cu pipe on a vapor compression refrigeration system, the trick is to rotate the pipe for a few hours when 1/8th filled with a mix of quartz sand and dilute ferric chloride, then wash/rinse and blow dry, pull thru a lint free rag - followed of course with a 200 micron vacuum overnight....

art... (post #194841, reply #9 of 11)

yer killin me with yer brilliance. Don't you have a space station you're supposed to be working on? lol


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who do not.


Ya gotta understand -- he (post #194841, reply #10 of 11)

Ya gotta understand -- he actually lives in a 500 sq ft apartment ... and he's a dog.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

1. All of the copper lines (post #194841, reply #11 of 11)

1. All of the copper lines are suspended by U-shaped wire hangers with their points driven into the ceiling joists. Will the slight movement of the lines eventually rub a weak spot/hole where the lines touch the hangers?

There are two problems with the wire hangars:

1. They do tend to rub holes into the lines over time, given the differential expansion and contraction due to dissimilar metals.

2. They create a "battery" where the dissimilar metals touch, which can cause corrosion.

I've recently had to replace several pipes in my old house due to this issue.  At the very least, the hangars should be replaced with copper hangars.

2.  I had one pin hole leak in a copper line not at the hanger.

What is your water quality?  Do you use a water softener?  Given the age of the pipes, some corrosion is to be expected, but often pinholes are a result of electrical effects caused by contact in dissimilar metals.  Do you have dielectric unions on the water heater?  Was the leak in the hot or cold?

3.  I would like to replace all that I can reach.  I am comfortable working wiht PEX. Is that the right way to go?

PEX is a LOT easier to work with than copper.  Many old houses have been burned down by plumbers working on plumbing isn somewhat confined spaces.  Having just done a major plumbing repair with copper, I wish I had used PEX.  HD has the PEX tools for under $50 - the cost of the tools was previously a major obstacle.

4.  I am concerned about having a number of sharkbite joints between the floor and ceiling.  Will they leak after 10/20/30/40 years?

I have looked at the Sharkbite and related fittings.  They can be a good short term repair, but I wouldn't rely on them long term.  Haven't seen a failure analysis report, just my professional opininion as an engineer.