material confusion - red, blue, etc etc

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by alhurley, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. alhurley

    alhurley Guest

    well, we have the master bath gutted, and just when I thought I knew what I was doing, I get conflicting opinions and confusions from too much reading and asking a question (or 2) down at Homer's. So here it is in a capsule (well, sort of :D :rolleyes: ).

    It's a fairly small bath (5x10), with shower, toilet, and single sink. Not really moving anything from original, but new plumbing for shower, and don't like how they did the sink so replace that. Currently everything is 1/2" copper from 3/4" supply lines. Another bath (main, in hall) backs up to this one and shares supply to tub; this bath to be remodeled much later.

    My thinking is to replace the 1/2" (they used tubing, not pipe) to new shower and vanity with 3/4" from the 3/4" supply lines, using rigid copper. Would leave the 1/2" to other bath tub/shower alone for now (connect to new 3/4 with reducer).

    So the first thing I run into is - RED or BLUE?? It's been a while since I've done this, and I thought thinwall (red) was fine for residential. But the guy at homer's says "if it's inside the wall you want to use BLUE." I dunno - but the stuff they used 30 yrs ago was flex tubing, so even red seems to be an upgrade. :confused:

    TIA!!
  2. thezster

    thezster New Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Why do you want to go from 1/2inch back up to 3/4? All my new plumbing connections (shower/bath/lav) use 1/2 fittings -- seems little point to increase your 1/2 to 3/4 - only to reduce it again at the end product.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tubing

    There is little benefit increasing the size to 3/4" unless it was a very large bath with extremely long pipes and maximum flow rates. Around here red type "M" copper is used almost exclusively in residences. Blue type "L" is used in commercial buildings and under the floor. And all copper is tubing, not pipe. Pipe would be brass and very expenisive.
  4. Type M is the red you are describing

    Type L is the blue you are describing

    Codes in my area allow for type m copper in all areas involving residential plumbing. I prefer type L to M due to its thickness and the fact that type L piping was used in the beginnning when copper was introduced to the plumbing industry 70+ years ago. Depending on your area you will find that copper still remains without problems in homes that are in the older historic areas. The piping usually turns black with age, has turns in the piping that was hand rolled instead of using fittings, and when fittings were used, they used brass fittings. Not the case today though with the costs incurred to use brass in this fashion.There is no need to increase pipe size. Tell that homer that his internet plumbing license has expired.
  5. alhurley

    alhurley Guest

    first of all, thanks for all the quick replies!
    sorry, should have said "rigid" instead of "pipe."

    I'll use the M - looks like my memory (and instincts) was good (this time :D )

    My thinking (which often is the root of my troubles :D ), partially supported by various readings, is to maximize flow and minimize pressure drops. I know it's not much (but still more than zero), but new shower can benefit from higher flows as it has fixed head, hose spray, and body sprays. Fixed and body can run concurrently. Single controller has both pressure and temp sensors. Don't know what the pressure to the house is, but it can vary considerably. yeh, I know it's overkill, but if I'm doing most of it over anyway.... :)
    my bad! :eek: you see, once upon a time I had a homer who kinda knew what he was talkin' about most of the time and was smart enough to know when he didn't know. But that was a long, long time ago - in a land far, far away......

    Thanks much!
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Within the last year or two, most water companies have changed over from the use of chlorine to chloraimines. It's easily done by adding ammonia to chlorine.

    Anyone have any idea of the effects chloramines (ammonia) has on copper tubing?

    I hear it isn't good for copper, so maybe that and the fact that there are numerous areas of the US that have huge problems with acidic water causing pinhole leaks in copper tubing, without the addition of ammonia to it, L is a much better choice. That would be due to not using a material's history to gauge the future longevity of it. Dose that make sense?

    The areas I mentioned are the northwest, the upper midwest, the northeast and down along the east coast. Acid rain has a lot to do with it. NYC as an example has just now started to deal with the problems. Boston Seattle, and other cities have had the problem for some time. It's one of the reasons that the US EPA reduced the acceptable range of pH from 6.9-8.5 to 6.5-8.5, back in about Nov. 1990 or 1991 when the Lead and Copper Rules were implemented.

    Prior to that time, IIRC copper wasn't measured as a problem, and lead was allowed to be up to 100 ppb. Both are now limited to much lower amounts and lead in any material used for potable water (NSF Standard 61) has been banned; except in Lead Free brass fixtures etc. which is greatly reduced and there is no lead based 50/50 solder allowed for soldering copper tubing anymore.... Lead free actually allows up to 2% by weight and prior to Lead Free, lead was allowed up to 8% by weight.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  7. alhurley

    alhurley Guest

    yikes! there you all go again - confusing matters with more information. :eek:

    I live in the southwest so it doesn't sound like those issues apply to me. Our biggest problem is the mineral content (mostly calcium) that plugs up all the fixtures. so I have a softener (which has its own issues; yea, I know).

    just checked the water co's website - says our water pH ranges from 7.1-8.1, with mean about 7.8. Looks like acid is not an issue, so I'm still using type M. :)
  8. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    lol Shall I get into erosion corrosion (wearing away) now what with all that raw water hardness and probable high TDS and maybe chlorides?

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    tubing

    If the water is going to attack type "M" copper, it will do the same to type "L". It will just take a little longer before failure occurs. So that is not a valid reason to prefer L over M.
  10. alhurley

    alhurley Guest

    as I said, we have a softener anyway.
  11. alhurley

    alhurley Guest

    and valves??

    OK, now that we've settled that one ;) on to the next materials question.

    I'm replacing shutoff valves for the toilet and lav. I like the 1/4-turn ball type - any reason not to like?

    But which fitting type? I looked at Homer's valve display yesterday and there were like 3 types of connections and 2 or 3 sizes. All I know for sure is they will connect to a 1/2" threaded pipe nipple on the supply side. :confused:

    btw - when it comes to this kind of stuff, price is not really a factor. :cool:
  12. 1/2" IPS by 3/8" compression 1/4 Turn angle stops is what you need to complete your job.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,242
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valves

    If you are going to use threaded nipples for the connection, and they had better be brass ones, then you choice of connections is limited to ONE, regardless of how many others are available.
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