A rusty burst of water everytime...

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Boink, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Oh oh... with the installation of a new master bath, we have a problem with the water to the tub. It goes through a Hansgrohe iBox then PEX to a filler and a separate hand-sprayer. We now get a rusty burst of water (not the first few inches but a big shot of brown for about 10" of water and then it runs clear). This happens after about 10 hours of non-use (and is worse if we let it sit un-used for more than 24 hours).

    My plumber thinks that maybe there is a galvanized failure at a nipple where the filler is hooked. I think it's a drywall nail used by the tile guys when hanging the backer board (right through a steel plate - and he did this before).

    There is really no leak because the water is only flowing through the supply during filling (so nothing is under pressure).

    Here's a photo of the area in question. The colored pink areas is where I think water is rusting and I'm suspecting a screw at the blue dot. The plumber wants to first replace the nipple (as that is easy - can't blame him), but replacing that PEX will be a beast.

    Seems to me that rust wouldn't build up this fast (even with an old galvanized pipe). This doesn't happen ANYWHERE else in the house and, again, doesn't happen with the hand-held sprayer that is coming from the same iBox.
    Thoughts?

    supply of tub filler.jpg
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    A nail or screw through pex may not leak immediately and is a possibility. Eventually, if it is that, the leak will become significant when more rusts away. But, while most of those valves allow pex as the inlet, often you'll run into problems when it is used to supply the tub filler and the riser. That aside, if you used galvanized nipples anywhere, throw them away and replace them with brass. Galvanized piping has no place in a shower.
  3. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks for the quick reply, Jim. I suspect there was a slightly careless use of an, on-hand, galvanized reducer for the tub filler. You can sort of see it in this photo. He plans to replace it with brass and then we'll regroup (to see if that resolves it). It was a difficult/crowded wall.

    Yes, the screw in the pipe (if the problem) may not leak now but surely will in time... and these folks doing the work will make good. :) So, I suppose they'll start with simpler solutions, and it's good to know that there should be no galvanized pieces anywhere. The fitting the reducer is in looks like brass or bronze (also in the photo).

    [side-bar: the tile guy did screw on a ledger and a screw went right through a nailer and into a 3/4" PEX pipe under pressure but with no leaks until he removed it... so I wouldn't put it beyond the guy to have done it here too]
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,414
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    A galvanized nipple or bushing will give you that little burst of rust when the water is run.
    If there is a screw in the PEX for the tub spout, in time, that will rust out and leave a hole. It won't be pretty.

    I use brass on my tub spouts if I'm using nipples.
  5. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks Terry. Here's hoping the easy solution (removal of the galvanized fitting will make the difference).

    Saw you at the last high school reunion (there in Kirkland). Here's hoping we all make it to #45. :p
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Why did he have to use a galvanized bushing? The valve comes with FOUR brass bushing for use with 1/2" piping. How do you "divert" to the hand held? If you use a diverter spout, no competent plumber would have used PEX between the valve and the spout, but then he would also have not used a galvanized bushing in the piping.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  7. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    No bushings at the valve. Everything brass to PEX at the valve.
    As indicated, we used an iBox, so that does the diverter job and the temperature mixing. Pretty slick thing. But it seems that maybe one reducer for the actual filler spout (about 1' away) was galvanized, and it is about to be replaced.
    UPDATED supply to tub filler.JPG
    I guess I was curious, though, how that much rust could accumulate in one night... when old galvanized pipes don't do that. Maybe that's a stabilized rust, or maybe a dry-wall type screw will rust much faster. I'm just amazed at how much accumulates in a24 hours.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,414
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That little galvanized bushing there is it.
    I see it all the time. 99.9% of the plumbers do that, because it saves a buck or two.
    I don't, because I hate installing new piping and then seeing rust when the water is turned on in the morning.
    The only thing I use galvanized for, is the temporary stub outs for testing. Those get removed during trim, and replaced with brass.
    This isn't a new issue, it's as old as the hills above Bellevue.
  9. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks Terry. Maybe it's a dis-similar metal contact issue too.
    It's supposed to be changed out this week. Have my fingers crossed.

    Speaking of old hills, I guess they tore down the old BHS and replaced it.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,414
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I went to a football game there this fall, and I was completely lost. The year before, was pretty much what I expected, and then this year, I was like a stranger. A lot of the parking is now near 108th on the East side of the school.
    Bellevue did a pretty good number that night against Ferndale High. (Really good!) Ferndale did have an amazing halftime show.
    I let my grandson know both things. That will be his high school in a year or two. He plays linebacker on the Junior High team, and kicks off.
  11. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Frankly, I don't recognize 1/2 of Bellevue anymore (though I don't get back up that way very often). I read that the old First Congregational Church sold itself off... with the property selling at $30M. Don't think they'll be having any more rummage sales. ;-) And I just heard they tore down the Safeway in downtown (which I figured was the most valuable real estate for years).
    Oh well, time marches on.
  12. I suppopse the galvanized bushing is the problem , but we rarely see
    that much rust from one of those fittings....

    something else I thought i would mention is the crimp rings the guy used on
    the aquapex has been re-called a long time ago ... Wirsbo frowns on the use of
    those SS clamps and had a bunch of troubles with it a long time ago...

    some of them have given wirsbo problems and they only approve the use
    of the expansion rings now days.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Wirsbo doesn't approve the "cinch clamps" because they do not make them.
  14. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,794
    Location:
    IL
    I have to believe there is a significant stretch of galvanized pipe in the path before the water gets to the pex. It may be hidden in a wall or ceiling.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,414
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    It's not going to be hard to find out if it's the bushing. Pull it out, and you'll know.
  16. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks all. Much appreciated. We'll start with the bushing as that's easy (as Terry indicates).

    As for the early (good) comment about "significant length of galvanized pipe" somewhere hidden... it's interesting that there is none. On a previous job we'd replaced nearly all the main lines in the house with Wirsbo. There just isn't any, AND this problem didn't exist prior to the bathroom being done. It's intriguing and I'll report back. I'm still extremely suspicious of a drywall screw in the post-valve line (which isn't under pressure). Again, the other output of the iBox valve that goes to the hand-held doesn't have this problem. So, it must be in that measly 1' or so of line (mostly 3/4" PEX to the brass mounting elbow with the galvanized reducer). It's really an amazing amount of rust for a short 24 hour period.

    I'll report back (maybe with a photo of the burst of brown - that, again, always runs completely clear within 1 second). :)
  17. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    UPDATE (for the proverbial record):
    The problem was, indeed, that galvanized reducer. The plumber removed it and the end of it was very rusty.
    This was a brand new reducer (and he only put it in because he didn't have brass at the moment he needed it). It was a pain to get it out, but he agreed that he really shouldn't have used it. It was just the edge (not the interior)... and I guess sometimes the galvanization isn't so good. It was amazing how much rust could be produced in a mere 12 hours. I've attached a photo of it; it was brand new just 3 months ago! Also interesting, was the rust would drift down the supply to a lower spot such that the first few inches of water would be mostly clear (which is why I thought there might be a screw in that pipe a bit further back closer to the valve).
    Anyway, it was replaced with a proper brass one and there you are, no rust.
    Thanks to all for the feedback.
    - Mark bushing.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  18. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,414
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Yep.
    Right again!
    Loving it.
    It was a good day skiing today too.
  19. Boink

    Boink New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    You nailed it! And it was the FAR simpler solution (though the guy had a difficult time with his extractor).

    Man, I think it's safe to say I've given up skiing. Hurts too much when falling and bruises appear out of nowhere. :p Kind of a sad admission to aging.
  20. MIKE007

    MIKE007 New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Montreal
    So a plumber used an iron reducer for a copper pipe?
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