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Piping Q's & A's

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New pipes

I just bought a older house and am renovating it , one question though right now I have galvanized pipe ,which I never liked and I am replacing it with cpvc mostly ,some copper but is there a specific chart of what pipe sizes to use in different areas of the house ?

 You can check with your local building inspector for your local code, but these are the general sizes:

Supply is 3/4 inch mains for hot and cold with 1/2 branch lines to faucets, etc.


4 in sewer lines

3 or 4 inch main drains and vents serving toilets and groups of fixtures

3 or 4 inch toilet drains

2 in shower drains

1 1/2 inch drains for sinks, tubs, washers dishwashers

1 1/4 inch drains for lavatory sinks



Sweating copper pipes

I need to replace a gate valve connecting two copper pipes. What is the best way to remove the current valve without damaging pipes or surrounding plumbing?

If the pipes have some give in that area (meaning you can pull them out of the gate valve, you can heat the valve and pull it out, one side at a time. When installing the new valve, you will have to heat up all that solder on the pipe just to get the pipe into the new valve. If the pipes have no give, then you should just cut it out using a pipe cutter, and install the new valve sweating the pipes back together using two couples to rejoin the pipes.


Copper to PVC piping 

We are attempting some bathroom remodeling and can't find this answer. How can we join the existing copper piping to PVC piping? Can it be done? The old fixtures had copper piping, but as it is more difficult to work with, we would like to transfer to PVC. Also, when soldering copper piping, how long should the new joint cool before testing for water leaks. We have read wait until pipes are cool, but how long is that? 5 minutes? 1 hour?

There are nohub clamps made especially for your needs. Check with your local plumbing wholesaler or plumbing supply house.

As far as letting the sweat joint cool, it's just a couple of minutes or more, depends on the size of the pipe.

Water pipes leading into the house

Here's my scenario - I have well water. Therefore, I have a line running from the pump to the side of the house. There is small concrete slab in front of the kitchen door, which is right next to where the water pipe comes in.

The original owners then added a wood deck that extended out from the house. The wood deck is bad and I am thinking of getting it replaced with a larger concrete slab that in time I can build a sunroom on. If I do that - then part of my water line especially leading into the house will be under the concrete - is this a bad idea? Any ideas for alternatives?

No problem with putting that slab on top of your water line. If some day you had to replace it, you will need to dig it all up anyway, and at that time, you can just move the pipe run over to a different entry point. However, you may not have to ever replace that water line anyway.

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Waiting for hot water in kitchen

It takes a long time for hot water to arrive in our kitchen faucet. It is the furthest faucet from the dual hot water tanks. Those faucets closer to the hot water tanks disperse hot water very quickly. We have city water and natural gas heated hot water tanks. Any suggestions for correcting this problem?

You can install a return pipe to the hot water tank and put a small pump in the line. This pump circulates hot water all the time and will give you almost instant hot water.

Other ideas:
1. You can get an on-demand water heater that mounts under the sink. This will give you instant hot water.

2. They sell a gadget.. it is a small pump that moves a tiny amount of hot water from your hot water line to you cold at the farthest faucet. This keeps the hot line full of hot water. It doesn't use too much energy. HOWEVER, it does make your cold line warm. Then you need to run the water a while to get the cold water cold. It seems like a no win!

You can insulate the hot water pipes, but that really won't keep them warm for long. In short order, they will still cool off and you will be running the water a while to get to the hot stuff.

Frozen brass water pipe

Please help me find a solution to a frozen copper water pipe, on an out sidewall of the house with out any insulation. The pipe goes to our up stairs bathroom shower. The hopper works and the sick has water but the shower does not.

I don't know of a short term solution to your frozen pipe dilemma. Only if you can get at the pipe to warm it with a heater or something can you get it unfrozen. Certainly the problem will recur unless you do a long term correction to the problem.

There are at least two things you can do.
1.Properly insulate the wall in which the pipe runs. Your exterior walls should be insulated anyway if you want to save heating costs.
2. Run a heating coil around the pipe. Both of these projects can be done by the homeowner.

Flexible PVC pipe?

I am installing a Fiberglas shower pan in my basement. The shower drain rough in had been done by the home's previous owners and I do not want to get out the jackhammer. The drain in the pan does not exactly line up with the drain sticking up out of the concrete foundation.

My question is, if I put the shower pan on a wood platform over the floor drain, can I use a flexible piping to attach the shower pan drain to the floor drain? Does such a thing exist? The drains are only offset by about two inches.

I looked at using standard sized PVC elbows, but the platform would have to be too high to accommodate their lengths.

No such animal exists.
You need to either alter the framed walls (assuming they are wood framed) so that the RO (rough opening) for the drain sits over the desired spot, or get out the jackhammer/sledgehammer to remove and lengthen the old drain...(which is really no big deal)

If you chose the latter (which is usually easier), the only alteration you need to make apart from closing the concrete is to extend the 1 1/2 to 2" PVC drain that exists in the floor. A 1/2 bag of Sakcrete should do the job of replacing the jacked out concrete...Quite cheap...

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