1949 waste lines : any life left?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by seattle_helo, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    Have a small, 1500 sq. foot home in north Seattle. Recently had all of the original 1949 supply lines replaced with 3/4" type-L copper fed by a new 1" line from the meter. Made a huge difference in flow rate. Wish I had done it sooner. The guys who did the work mentioned that some of the waste lines looked fine and others were not great. I've been down in the crawl space a lot lately doing various things and I've looked at all of it as best I can. It appears that galvanic corrosion is taking place between some of the galvanized and cast iron connections. How bad does this stuff look to you pros? How much time, if any, do I have left with this system?

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  2. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
  3. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
  4. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    561
    Location:
    Rosedale, Md
    It depends on how many problems you have been having, like stopped up drains. If the drains are ok you should be allright for now. The main thing I don't like is that cross you have down there, it dosen't have any directional flow, the drain from one end can flow into the trap thats showing and may flood the fixture it's connected to.

    If you decide to replace some of it, I would only replace the galv and leave the main cast iron alone, looks fine. :)
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I see one error. You should use a banded coupler where the ABS p-trap is connected to the drain. Neoprene sleeves are only to be used under ground. I would agree about replacing the galvanized pipe. The cast is probably still OK.
  6. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I seen this advice given before. Underground around here needs to be banded as well. One brand we use is called No-Shear couplings.
  7. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    Guys, I'm just a dumb homeowner so please forgive my lack of knowledge. I didn't do any of this work- we bought the house this way back in 2002.

    We have never had any problems with our drains, thankfully. No backups or odors or anything unusual. The crawl space is dry and I have never noticed any leaks from any of the drain pipes or fittings- even the ones with the corrosion. I guess the appearance of the corrosion is what concerned me most.

    That neoprene coupler is from the bathtub. It does not leak and appears okay to my eye- should I replace it immediately anyway? The cross connection seems to be the clothes washer drain entering from the left, the tub from the right and the vent line going up- as nothing else is in that vicinity.

    Do I have a few more years before I need to worry about replacing the galvanized? And what would the proper replacement be- ABS? And finally, what might the cost be for doing that kind of job and making everything right?

    I'm grateful for all the help.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,396
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The reason for a banded coupler is they provide a ridge connection. There is no immediate danger, it just should be included in the rest of the work you will be doing. You should realize that local codes can be more restrictive than the code books. That's why the comment by SewerRatz is a good reminder that we may give you advice that is code in most areas be may not be correct in yours.
  9. D'Brie

    D'Brie Apprentice Plumber

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    With 60 year old pipes, why not put yourself at ease and repipe DWV system with ABS pipe? One of the Journeymen plumbers I work with likes to say "it's like a bald tire, you may get 1000 miles or 10 miles out of it"
  10. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    Here, too. Not sure why the stores even carry plain ones, there is no situation where they can be used.


    ABS, when he has cast? Not following that logic, at all.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,255
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    dwv

    The "Fernco" type couplings CAN be used underground outside the building. They sell them because they can. There is NO galvanic action between the cast iron and galvanized pipe. The threads are rusty because they are bare steel in a humid environment. The exterior of the pipe tells you NOTHING about what the inside looks like, and the interior is the only thing that matters. At this stage, unless something happens to indicate the steel pipe is deteriorating, I would do nothing.
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the ground clamp on the drain line is going to your electric box it needs to be moved to a water line OR a ground rod if there is none...If you don't have a ground rod install one and move the ground cable to it then also install a water pipe ground...

    Many older homes in this area had a length of 1/2" or 3/4" iron pipe driven into the ground as a ground rod years back...if this is your case I would get and install a real ground rod...

    If you don't know anything about electric you need to call an electrician to check things out...

    Is your electric box fuses or breakers or a mix...?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  13. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    Hmmm... Interesting. Well, it seems that most of you think I don't have an immediate problem on my hands. At this point I am inclined to do nothing. I was mostly curious to get professional opinions and I appreciate all of them.

    The electrical system was totally upgraded the year we moved in. It's a 200A square D panel with a ground rod. The clamp in that photo has connections to both the hot and cold supply lines as well as that waste line. Is that a problem? In our utility room there is another set of three clamps near the hot water heater from the natural gas pipe to the hot and cold pipes. He seemed like a very competent electrician- but now you have me concerned. Are all these ground clamps dangerous?
  14. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Now with your discription of the electrical system it should be fine...I just have never seen a ground on a drain line like that....
  15. seattle_helo

    seattle_helo New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    Thanks, Cass. And thanks all.
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