How To Replace A Section Of Galvanized Pipe With Pex Pipe

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You may have a section of galvanized pipe that is blocking the flow of water to a specific component such as a sink or shower, reducing the water pressure to a mere trickle.

Although this is likely a harbinger of things to come and a sign that most or all of your galvanized supply lines will need to be replaced, you may not be ready for such an undertaking at the present moment, and just need to increase the flow at the compromised area.

You can remove the blockage and receive experience with installing Pex pipe by simply replacing the single section of galvanized pipe that is causing the current problem. The following will help with the plumbing repair.

What You Will Need for the Job

  • Pex pipe: You'll need  either 3/4" or 1/2" pipe, depending on the size of the pipe to be replaced. A single length of Pex pipe should suffice, rather than an entire roll. 
  • Reciprocating saw or hacksaw for cutting the galvanized pipe
  • Pex pipe cutter to cut the Pex pipe to length
  • 2 pipe wrenches for removing the galvanized pipe
  • Easy connect "bite" fitting for galvanized to Pex connection
  • Teflon tape for galvanized side of connection fitting

Removing the Galvanized Pipe

You will begin by turning off the nearest valve that controls the flow of water to the pipe. You can then turn on any faucets connected to the line to drain the pipe as much as possible.

Use your saw to cut the pipe at some point along its length. You will then remove the two sections of pipe with the 2 pipe wrenches. Place one wrench on the nearest connection fitting and the other on the pipe, then turn the pipe counterclockwise until it is completely unthreaded and can be removed.

If you meet resistance (likely with older pipe), spray some pipe lubricant into the threaded connections and let it sit for awhile before attempting another try.

Connecting the Pex Pipe

You must first prepare the galvanized-to-Pex transition fitting by wrapping teflon tape in a clockwise direction around the threads of the male galvanized connection.

When this is done, screw the fittings into the galvanized connections that previously held the galvanized pipe in place.Turn them clockwise and tighten them fully with a pipe wrench.

Cut the Pex pipe to the length of the gap between the connections, then push each end of the Pex pipe into the "bite" ends of the connection fittings. Insert them forcefully to ensure that they are fully connected. 

Nail one pipe clamp into place for every 36" inches of pipe length, then secure the Pex into the clamps.

Turn on the supply valve and check your water pressure. If it hasn't shown adequate improvement, you'll need to replace more galvanized pipe, but at least you'll have practical experience in performing the transition

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