Need help: Rotted pipe in ceiling

Old 12-02-03, 11:09 PM
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Need help: Rotted pipe in ceiling

Hello everyone, i was about to go to bed when i noticed some drips coming from the ceiling -- i Cut open some holes and trailed the problem to a rotted pipe. It looks like the pipe is galvanized steel, and it is going to a copper pipe then split. The steel is 1" it looks and the copper about 1/2". Im not sure of the length of the galvanized pipe -- what is the best way to fix this? My assumption is to replace the entire galvanized peice and then reattach the copper peice. Altho i am not sure of the connection -- galvanized to galvanized should just screw in, and gal to copper, i will need a reducer then solder?? here are the pics. Thanks for any help, i appreciate it.

closeup of the problem

closeup 2 -- You can see it is all rotted, and goes to a copper pipe then a split. I cannot see the other side of the pipe, but i assume the copper is soldered

thanks again for any help. i am an amateur but willing to learn. i have tools available (wrenches, butane torch, teflon tape, rotozip saw for cutting pipes if needed). thanks agian

Old 12-02-03, 11:30 PM
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First, welcome to You figured out how to get the pictures to us -- you must have been lurking around here for a while! That's fine!!

This must be a supply line, rather than some sort of a drain. The pictures are decieving -- it LOOKS LIKE the copper is probably 3/4" -- but that's neither here nor there.

To connect copper to galvanized, you need a dielectric union. NEVER thread the copper directly to the iron!! (Otherwise, you end up with a corroded mess, just like you are looking at. Somebody got you on that one!)

Get rid of as much of the galvanized as you can. Put in a dielectric union and convert it to copper. From there, it's just soldering the joints together. Sweating copper isn't that difficult. Make sure that the pipe and the fittings are cleaned and that the flux is clean. (Just a little bitty bit of dirt in the flux, and you AREN'T going to solder anything!!) And make sure that the pipes are DRY -- You won't be soldering a pipe with water in it.
Old 12-02-03, 11:43 PM
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thanks for such a quick response, your comments are excellent. I have another question though, just want to make sure i do everything correctly. Ok, so i remove the entire gal pipe -- do i replace it with the same thickness in copper piping, ie 1"??

heres a crude drawing

what i have now

CopperY --- gal pipe ----- Gal pipe

what i will have

copperY --- copper pipe -- gal pipe


you say to get rid of as much of the gal pipe as i can -- i was under the impression that i should disconnect the entire length of pipe (looks to be about 10ft), meaning i would have to cut down more of the ceiling -- or are you suggesting that i just cut the gal pipe, rethread and attach a dielectric union, then solder the new copper? For connecting the new copper pipe to the gal pipe i need a dielectric union, and for the copper to copper i need a reducer and just solder the connectios?

also, is this the correct procedure for the dielectric (link )

and is this what i would use for the copper reducer


Old 12-03-03, 05:15 AM
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Chris - is this plumbing in an attic and accessable from above? If so, why not just cut the corroded end of the galvanized pipe and unscrew it at the first available connection. Install a dialectric connector and run new copper tubing back to the location of the leak and solder it onto the old copper tubing.
Old 12-03-03, 09:00 AM
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it is not the attic - it is the basement, but yes that is what i am going to do -- thank you for all your help. this is prlly a very simple thing but i like to make suyre. thanks again for the information

Old 12-03-03, 05:20 PM
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ok guys i have it all fixed -- btw, when i was doing all this research my parents called a plumber and had him come check it out -- i told them i would do it -- anyway, he wanted $780 for it -- so after they told him no thanks they turned to me again, i bought $13 of parts and finished it in 3 hrs after chasing 1 extra leak -- thanks for the help guys, i appreciate it very much

Old 12-03-03, 08:44 PM
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and now an aftershot of the aforementioned problem area

i used a heating material that would not flame up when i was soldering the ends, i was afraid to start a fire ya know -- worked out well.

Old 12-03-03, 09:19 PM
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Looks good.
Old 12-03-03, 10:42 PM
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Not just good, that is exceptional... First, the fact that you were able to reuse the existing copper tee is impressive as you probably had to heat out the old piece and had to really clean up the old tee to make it work... Second, you cleaned out all the trash under the piping... That is something I can't get helpers to do sometimes even now... They don't see the point... And finally, you didn't even leave the little bead of solder on the bottom of the fitting which I still see some lifetime plumbers do... Functionally, it doesn't mean anything, but it sure makes the joint look neater... I will be really impressed if you take a picture of the same joint right now and it doesn't have green crud growing on it because you didn't wipe the excess flux off when you were done... ...

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the most important thing... You didn't get burn marks all over the surrounding wood, and the spot you were in was certainly not easy to prevent that... Lot's of plumbers don't give proper attention to that important detail...

Last edited by Ragnar; 12-04-03 at 09:55 AM.
Old 12-04-03, 09:04 AM
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An excellent job in a PITA location.

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