What You Need to Know About Plumbing

Got an older home? A mid-century modern that still has original plumbing? An early seventies tri-level? You may have a possible nightmare on your hands.

What I had is what you may have in your older home: A possible catastrophe caused by poor plumbing when they built the house.

I had a bathroom faucet that was just dribbling water, hardly any volume getting through. I took off the aerator and sure enough, it was clogged with rust particles. Cleaned the aerator and it helped some, but that was not the root of the problem. I looked below the faucet, at the valve on the supply line and saw that I had a mix of different pipes; galvanized and copper. My house was built in the mid-1960’s and has copper pipes throughout. However, some lazy plumber thought it would be okay to install a galvanized nipple to connect the supply line to the faucet. Flash forward many years and voila, I’ve got a corroding mess on my hands.

Why? Copper and galvanized do not mix. Thanks to electrolysis, the two pipes will corrode each other. In this case, the galvanized nipple was rusting away from the inside and the copper pipe had turned green inside and was super thin. I barely touched it with a tubing cutter and poof, the pipe came apart. Yikes! What if this had happened under pressure? In my case, this took about fifty years, so no, it’s not a quick process.

Catching this early is a big thing. Yes, I spent half a day and $50 worth of fittings fixing this, but it could have been much worse. If I had not gone to see the helpful hardware folks at my local Ace Hardware and called a plumber, this could have cost me $200. If I had let it go until it burst and flooded, it could have cost me $2000. Not to mention that I’m drinking and washing with the water flowing through this corroding fitting.

The best part is how I fixed it: I used SharkBite fittings. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned them, but they’re worth repeating. These fittings work so well. I cannot solder a copper fitting. I have, in the past, used compression fittings with some luck, but they can be tricky. This time I was working with a relatively small hole in the wall, and I could not easily have reached in with a wrench to tighten compression fittings. All I had to do with the SharkBite fittings was to push them on, and voila, all connections made. Turn the water back on. Start using faucet. It’s honestly that simple.

I now have updated fittings with no worry of corrosion, no worry of old lead solder, no worry of leaks. That’s what makes any plumbing project worthwhile.

You too can solve your possible plumbing predicament. Come in to Ace Hardware and ask us about SharkBite fittings. The helpful folks will be more than happy to show you how they work, how easy they are to assemble, how quickly you can be on your way and back to doing something you like more than plumbing. When you go in, tell them Brad Nale fixed his plumbing and you know if he can do it, you can too!