Basic question: Replacing a leaking elbow.


Old 04-13-16, 08:46 PM
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Basic question: Replacing a leaking elbow.

I am a budding DIY'er so pardon my limited plumbing knowledge. I have a basic question. This elbow in the picture is leaking and i need to replace it.

First a little background, this line is old, hasn't been used in atleast 20 years. Pipe goes outside in the front yard. There is a garden faucet on the other side, which needs replacement as well. Now i want to fix this line and figure this should be a good beginners project.

The other day I turned on the valve (had to apply a lot of force) and realized water was leaking near the elbow. how would you suggest going about fixing this? Given my limited knowledge, could you walk me through the steps and possibly list the parts I am going to need and may be the steps? I ordered a soldering kit from walmart so i should be able to do basic soldering. Do i need to cut the pipe (near the elbow) to unscrew the elbow and replace the piece of the pipe i cut? Or should I just replace the whole thing with new copper pipes? Not sure if you can tell from the pic but the total length of the pipe should be around 7 ft if i have to replace the whole thing.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 04-13-16, 08:55 PM
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Can you step back and give us a wider picture so we can see what that pipe connects to ?

You could cut the pipe somewhere after the valve and unthread everything but that may not be the easiest thing to do.

In re-thinking this.... you could work your way backwards from the outside faucet and unscrew it and pipe 1. Then unscrew 2 and 3 together. Then remove and replace 4. When you remove 4, the 90, you'll need to hold 5 so that the valve doesn't spin.

You'll need two pipe wrenches for the repair.

When you reassemble the fittings use some teflon tape or plumbers dope on the threads.

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You could also replace the old iron pipe with copper.
Old 04-14-16, 05:34 AM
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I'll go one step further than Pete. Replace the valve also (with a ball valve) and use copper. You'll need a female copper adapter pictured here.

From there use solder copper or you could go with Shark bites.

Use plenty of TFE tape when you attach the adapter to the pipe nipple and be sure tighten securely.
Old 04-14-16, 05:42 AM
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I thought copper wasn't supposed to come in contact with galvanized pipe
Old 04-14-16, 05:48 AM
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I thought copper wasn't supposed to come in contact with galvanized pipe

Not my words...lifted from another site.

"The electrolytic conditions happens when connecting ferrous metals to non ferrous metals that contain zinc (galvanized) if you think about it EVERY SINGLE CAST IRON RADIATOR has a brass shut off valve, Most black steel gas line have a BRASS gas valve. Brass bolts are the best way to go when installing CAST IRON ROOF DRAINS
Also why use a dielectric union when there are dielectric nipples less chance of leakage"

"To safely connect copper and galvanized steel, you have two options. Since brass doesn’t react with either the copper or the zinc, one method is to make sure you have a threaded female end on both the copper and the steel pipes, and then connect the two by simply inserting a short threaded brass nipple between them.

The second method is to use a special transition fitting called a dielectric union. The dielectric union has a threaded steel female fitting on one end, which is threaded onto the steel pipe. The other end has a female copper slip (non-threaded) fitting, which is soldered onto the copper pipe. The two halves of the joint are then connected using a lock nut and two insulating washers that prevent the copper half from contacting the steel half. The fittings cost under $10, and not only is the transition easier to accomplish, but it also leaves you with a joint in the line that can be disassembled later if you need to perform other work on the lines."
Old 04-14-16, 10:51 AM
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I agree, I would not connect copper directly to the galvanized pipe, though there's an easier solution than a dielectric coupling (which would work too)

- Cut the pipe where PJ numbered 3.
- Unscrew alll the pipe back to the shutoff valve and discard
- Remove the shutoff valve and discard.
- Replace the shutoff valve with a brass 1/2" valve with waste (the waste plug allows you to drain the pipe in the winter if needed)
- Run new 1/2" pipe in copper or PEX.

The brass valve acts as a dielectric fitting so there shouldn't be any issue between the steel and copper pipes. BUT, I would consider using PEX for this. It's much easier to run, especially for someone who hasn't soldered pipe before. You could either get a PEX crimper if you foresee more plumbing projects in your future (and with galvanized piping, I think unfortunately that might be the case), or use shark bite (push-fit) connectors if this is the only plumbing you plan to do.
Old 04-15-16, 07:09 AM
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Some amazing suggestions here. Thanks PJ and Norm for numbering the parts and listing out the steps. Zorf, i had no idea about PEX. Had to google that one and then realized yeah i have seen this pipe before.

For this project i think i will just redo the whole thing with copper. I want to try out soldering anyway. Besides, there is something about the soldering smell, I get high, lol. I ll leave PEX for future projects with tight spaces. Thanks all, this is very helpful. You guys are the best!

Last edited by endeavour; 04-15-16 at 09:10 AM.

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