Copper drain lines

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by thebozer, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. thebozer

    thebozer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Hello,

    I am a remodeling contractor based in Boston. We are in the midst of a kitchen renovation project.

    The existing drain line from the sink is PVC and transitions to copper just below the floor and continues back to the stack, as such. The small section of PVC was presumably installed during the last renovation.

    My plumber is insisting that the entire run of copper drain line needs to be removed and replaced with PVC. FOr the life of me, I can't understand the reasoning behind this... copper (as we all know) is a great material, there are no signs of corrosion, everything is in good working order, blah blah blah.

    He says it's a "code" issue. I am almost tempted to call the Plumbing inspector myself. Can anyone speak to this???

    thanks,

    Nick
  2. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    I don't know your specific plumbing code, but I have a feeling that the only "code issue" that he has in mind is the code to his bank account so he can cash the cheque!
  3. thebozer

    thebozer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    sigh. my thoughts exactly.
  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    It's not code but if it's DWV copper he may be right in advising you to replace it. There is a good chance the section of PVC was a repair on failed DWV copper. Here in Florida were replacing failed copper drain lines quite often.

    John
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If it is in an accessable area then there is no need unless it is failing...if on the other had it is in an area that will be closed up after the reno then it may be a good idea to take care of it now...

    How many feet of line are we talking about here...
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    What part of Boston...The Hill...Back Bay...Southy...are you a Dot Rat...:)
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,247
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    copper

    Squeeze, or tap, the bottom of the copper. There is a good chance it could be eroded on the bottom. If it is not, then there is no reason to change it. IF he thinks it is a code issue, then either he does not know the code, or he is an unethical tradesman, not necessarily a plumber.
  8. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Here is the reason: 1-1/2 copper has a smaller inside diameter than 1-1/2 PVC. The code says you can not reduce in the direction of flow. Mass Inspectors will be all over that, especially in Boston.
  9. thebozer

    thebozer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I'll add a few more details to this. This is a first floor kitchen in a 2 family home. The drain line, in question, is completely accessible from the basement.

    The copper is fine... I know this for a fact. When my plumber quoted the work, he itemized running a new vent for the sink and redoing the drain line with it. As it turns out, when we opened the wall, there was a buried vent line that he was able to tie into. My suspicion is that he wants to replace the drain line so that he can charge me for the full amount of the vent/drain work.

    Is the inside diameter of the pipe the real issue here?
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    As someone mentioned, copper drain pipe can look great, but depending on your water and what is dumped down the drain, you could have a thin line of corroded pipe along the bottom edge. If it is solid, and open in the basement, I don't see a good reason to replace it at this time.
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