Updating interior plumbing service entrance


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Old 06-03-08, 12:16 PM
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Updating interior plumbing service entrance

Hello. I recently purchased a home serviced by a well. This isn't really a well-related question per se, as I'm mostly concerned with the house-side of the pressure tank. So, here goes:

There's the usual well arrangement; submersed pump, 3/4 or 1" PVC tubing to pressure tank assembly, which consists of pump controller, relief valve, drain valve, the tank, and then a service shutoff valve leading to the home plumbing. All this piping consists of threaded galvanized pipe. After the service shutoff valve, there's an adapter that goes from threaded 3/4" to soldered copper 1/2" piping.

Finally, the 1/2" copper leads to a bunch of bent tubing and T-adapters branching off to the hot water tank, laundry, two bathrooms, and the kitchen in a somewhat ad-hoc serial fashion.

What I want to do:

I'd like to upgrade the utility/service entrace from 1/2" copper to 3/4" copper, running it through some treatment equipment (5 or 20 micron filter, activated charcoal, and possibly also UV) and then onto the home. Instead of 1/2" pipe with branches, I'm thinking of moving to 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" T adapters in series such that each service branch 1/2" line is fed directly from a 3/4" line or "manifold". The hot water heater would be fed directly with 3/4" line and then have a similar 'manifold' scheme to distribute it to service branches.

Does this all sound sensible?
 
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Old 06-03-08, 02:14 PM
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Sounds like a good plan overall. Consider a stub out for a future water softener if the water in your area is hard at all. Also, you probably want to have the water tested to determine what kind of filtration would best suit your needs.

Also add in shutoff valves throughout your system so if you need to renovate the bathroom or replace a filter, you'll be able to easily without having to drain down another part of the system.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt
Sounds like a good plan overall. Consider a stub out for a future water softener if the water in your area is hard at all. Also, you probably want to have the water tested to determine what kind of filtration would best suit your needs.

Also add in shutoff valves throughout your system so if you need to renovate the bathroom or replace a filter, you'll be able to easily without having to drain down another part of the system.
Makes sense to me. I'll add 1/2 ball valves to each of the branches, can't stand multi-turn valves! The water is about 6-7 grains hard, and judging from the toilet reservoirs and faucet aerators I examined, has a bit of sandy/gritty sediment from time to time. TDS of around 70, turbidity clear at 5. Iron and Manganese within EPA recommended limits.

This was a foreclosed home; the well had stood dormant for over half a year. It failed a May 1st test for coliform, tho no fecal coliform. It has since been shocked with chlorine, but the NSF Class-A UV would mostly be there for my peace of mind in-between tests. I understand UV needs 5 micron filtration, but don't know if softening would be advisable to keep the quartz tube clear. That is probably a whole 'nother post right there, but I like the idea of putting in the hook-ups for other treatment equipment inline as a future option.

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-03-08, 11:01 PM
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Here's a picture as things stand today:



Some details: You'll notice a hanging set of capped pipes in the upper-left corner. They used to connect to a 50-gallon tank electric hot water heater. The heater was pretty badly corroded on account of no dielectric coupling between copper and steel, and perhaps also pooling water from the pressure relief valve lacking a blow-off pipe. Being 23 years old probably didn't help either. Maybe it worked, I didn't care. I drained it, disconnected it, and cut it out. If I put another tank heater in, I'll probably use threaded copper disconnects and a set of dielectric unions, but, I'm thinking of a Rinnai tankless gas hot water heater...

Other details: coming in, you see 3/4-inch PVC line from the well. There's a galvanized threaded T coupler with some sort of copper inline heat element slip-coupled in to a threaded copper adapter. Lots of corrosion where copper meets the galvanized material.

I'm not really a fan of the bent type-L copper tubing, but it's pervasive throughout the home. Honestly, I don't see what's so hard about sweat-soldering elbows in, but clearly the builder had an adversion to it. You can barely make out the rats nest of coupled bent copper tubing branching out to different points of use in the top of the photo. There was also insulating forced air ducting snaking through it all, which I've disconnected from the furnace and pulled away for the moment.

I'm debating specifics still, but thinking I'll put some sort of mounting plywood, primed against moisture, as a backing to secure my manifold scheme, as well as the basic filtration equipment. I'll probably pull down all of the individual branch pipes from what's presently a rat's nest of bent pipe and Tee couplers, although sorting that all out isn't something I'm looking forward to...
 
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Old 06-04-08, 08:57 AM
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I have to admit, my favorite is the saddle valve attached to the cut plastic pipe, with a short copper tee. The setup is certainly creative. Regardless, it looks like you have your work cut out for you.
 
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Old 06-04-08, 04:03 PM
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Best solution there is cut it all out and start over with a pex home run system.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 07:42 PM
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An update...

So, I've gone ahead with a copper line system. So far, I've done the cold water lines; above (and in front of) them, I will add a hot water manifold of a similar design and construction.

What do you think, sirs?

 
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Old 07-05-08, 08:00 PM
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Well, I gotta tell ya, I really like the striker holder...

It looks a whole lot better than it did before and will be easier to understand later. You may want to find another way to mark or tag the lines. Pencil will disappear over time. You can always make a valve chart on your computer and cover it in plastic, then hang it on the board.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 09:04 PM
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Hahaha, and here I thought I removed all the tools for the photo. If you hadn't guessed, the striker hanger will double as a supply line for a 40-gallon tank electric. I wanted a Rinnai tankless, but just can't afford the installation (and as bold as I am to take on complex tasks without prior skill, I don't think I need to be playing with and making mistakes on natural gas lines or exhaust).

Overall, I guess I'm happy with the results. It appears to hold pressure and, prior to this, the only soldering work I had done were a few end caps. Cutting, deburring, cleaning, and soldering all the pipes, elbows, couplers, and valves was actually kind of enjoyable work. Interfacing with the building's preexisting copper was not so much, but I really wanted to cut my teeth on copper work rather than a PEX system.

I probably should have used more threaded couplers, though, as someone suggested. If I do decide I need more inline supply treatment equipment, like a UV lamp, it's not going to be trivial. Ah well, I guess I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

I'm probably going to assemble the hot water manifold prior putting it up there, so I can instead just screw the whole thing down. The hot water tank will be 48"x22" IIR, and sit somewhere to the left, unless I have more bright ideas..
 
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Old 07-08-08, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chromal
I probably should have used more threaded couplers, though, as someone suggested. If I do decide I need more inline supply treatment equipment, like a UV lamp, it's not going to be trivial. Ah well, I guess I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.
Eh, copper's easy to cut and re-route if needed, especially now that you're so good at it!

One comment though, during your next project, I'd remove that piece of galvanized between the pressure tank and your nice new copper. Galvanized is known for degrading over time and either clogging up or developing leaks (or both!).

I'd also recommend pressure treated 2x4s next time. One of the 2x4 'legs' already looks wet, and will likely rot within the next couple years.
 
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Old 07-08-08, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt
Eh, copper's easy to cut and re-route if needed, especially now that you're so good at it!
Haha, well I definitely have 50x more experience with it now than before. It's sort of like electronics soldering, only on a larger scale and with open flames, and a free shower if you screw it up.

One comment though, during your next project, I'd remove that piece of galvanized between the pressure tank and your nice new copper. Galvanized is known for degrading over time and either clogging up or developing leaks (or both!).
Yeah. when I removed an old gate valve and galvanized section, it looked as though it had begun to clog up on the inside. Not too bad from what I could see, but I'll bet it has less than half its lifespan left. My thinking is that the well pump is about 17 years old, and so I figure I'll replace the entire pressure tank assembly when the pump goes out.

I'd also recommend pressure treated 2x4s next time. One of the 2x4 'legs' already looks wet, and will likely rot within the next couple years.
Yeah, I was thinking about that not long after finishing. I don't have a feel for how wet the basement floor is seasonally. It's actually concrete, just very dirty, and wet in this photo due to some spillage when I cut the old pipes to solder to the manifold. I'm also not sure what toll pipe condensation will have on the plywood...
 
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Old 07-09-08, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chromal
I'm also not sure what toll pipe condensation will have on the plywood...
Good point - if you get significant condensation, go ahead and insulate the pipes with a foam wrap or similar. Having all that extra water dripping in the basement will cause you headaches with mold and other undesirable things. The addition of the simple foam insulation will cut down on the condensation considerably.
 
 

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