Cast iron piping

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gman53

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My mothers house is around 50 yrs old and has the original cast iron plumbing in it. In one of the bathrooms the bathrooms there is a tub/shower combo. there has been new faucets and new shower head installed and the water at the tub part works great. however, there is no water comming from the shower head except a trickle or drip through the head. I dont know for sure but im guessing the older pipie has blockage from rust possibly. my question is ... could that piece of pipe goining to the shower head be replaced with pvc or pex or what would you recomend. thanks
 

Jadnashua

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First, take the shower head off and see if you have good flow out the pipe. If not, then yes, you could change the piping. I wouldn't use pex there, but copper or cpvc (NOT PVC) could be used. In reality, pex would likely work there since all modern showerheads are restricted in flow, so the slightly smaller ID of pex wouldn't come into play, but it WILL be an issue if you try to use it to connect to the tub spout.

Cast iron is typically used on drainage systems, not supply. It is entirely possible you have galvanized iron supply lines and those could easily be plugged up at 50+ years. If so, you may want to start to budget for a whole house repipe.
 
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Jadnashua, what kind of money are you talking about for a whole-house re-pipe? My house was built in 1927. There was no plumbing at all when it was built. I know this because the man who married the lady who lived here in the 1940's told me.

I would love to have a working basement laundry tub and a shower that wasn't a hand-held. I know you can't be exact, but just what are your thoughts? Should I hold off on getting new siding and really fix the plumbing?
Terri
 

Jadnashua

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You really need to get a local quote. First, though, I'd make a list of anything you might want added or moved so you can get a good idea of the whole job as telling them afterwards can get more expensive once things have started. Every house's layout is different and the compliment of sinks, bathrooms, etc. can vary a lot. It would also depend on the status of the drainage system which may or may not be in good shape. CI can last a very long time. Codes have changed a lot in the last 80-years, and while it may work, any new stuff that is added must meet current code...depends on how much gets changed, how much can stay, but moving things generally means updating to current code...repairing may not.
 
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