Reworking the Existing Plumbing and Replacing Brass Water Pipes with PEX Tubing

Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing in the basement and the replacement of obsolete brass water pipes.

Clip Summary

Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal. The cast iron pipe was cut and removed using a special pipe cutter. Bob explains that Leone is a union contractor who decided to go into business for himself. His helper, Matthew Orlando, is going through the apprentice training program through the Plumber and Gas Fitters Local Union Number 12 in Boston. The chapter spends $4,500 a year to put each apprentice through a thorough five-year training program where they spend two nights per week learning about everything from bathrooms to hospital gas work. Leone demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Leone then shows how some of the other seals are put in place in the pipe. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing replaces the old brass water pipes with PEX tubing in the Melrose basement project. Leone explains that the water hammer will be removed as it is so old it is obsolete. Leone cuts the pipes into sections for easy removal. The brass pipe dates back to when the house was built and is corroded and thin from years of use. The proper length of tubing is pulled and held in place by a bend support. Bob explains that by using PEX tubing, more headroom is created in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated. Kyle Tasse of Viega North America shows Bob the three different types of PEX: Pexcel for plumbing, Pextron for heating, and Fostapex for both plumbing and heating. According to Tasse, the advantage to Pexcel is the connection system that features a sleeve with an eyehole for double checking that the sleeve is securely on the tubing. The fitting holds the sleeve in place so that the lines can be dry fitted and attached later. Bob points out that innovative technology is exciting for do-it-yourselfers, but it is often best to hire a master plumber.
Once the water proofing was completed then we had to worry about the existing plumbing and the waste pipes and stuff. Had to move a lot of stuff so that we'd have head clearance. Al Leone gave us a hand with that including the main stack here which he actually had to replace.

The first step in removing the kitchen drain is to cut into sections.
That way, we can take it out of the hangers and down from the ceiling.

We need to replace this in order to get the new drains in the equipment that we're putting in. That's called the soil pipe cutter and it cuts, it's made to cut cast iron pipe.
There you go.

We're just going to cut this old clamp.

There's a stereotype that Union plumbers only do large projects. But actually, ours is a small union contractor from Peabody, Massachusetts, who decided to go into business for himself.

He 's been working with his helper, Mathew Orlando, who's going through the Plumbers and Gasfitters Local Union Number 12 Apprentice Training Program in Boston.

The chapter spends $4,500 a year to put each apprentice through a thorough five-year training program, where they spend two nights a week learning about every thing from bathrooms to hospital gas work.

Here they've been doing a terrific job updating what was basically a plumbing museum.

And it's brittle so it'll crack.
The strength, the cast iron, is really in its vertical holding weight.

This is a two band clamp, the neoprene gasket, it's made of stainless steel.
I'm using a torque wrench to apply the right amount of poundage to the clamp. One clicker, two.

The way that these joints are held together, we use lead and oakum, and oakum is basically hemp that's been soaked in oil, and we pack it inside the joint and we pour hot lead over it, which makes the seal.

The tool to pack it down inside the joint.

This tool is called a joint runner and what it does, it wraps around the joint and it keeps the lead from running out of the hub as you're pouring it.

This ladle holds about four pounds of lead and we melted a ladle full, and we packed half the joint with oakum.
And the joint only took what it needed to fill.

Installing, they clean out the base of the stack which will allow access if there should be a clog.
These clamps work by having a neoprene sleeve to provide the seal.

And the stainless steel clamp to tighten it against the pipe. And in this case a 4" X 2" wide, which will pick up the new kitchen drain. It'll be running along side that wall.

OK, we're gonna use a four band clamp on the old work, because the piping is a little, the old piping is a little thicker, and that way we'll have a better seal in between the new pipe and the old one.

We're going to demo these old brass water lines, so we're gonna replace them with Pex tubing all the way up to the risers.
And we're gonna eliminate this obsolete water hammer as well. It's no longer needed.

First step is to drain the house down of any water, and then to cut the pipe into sections so we can take it down. This is the original brass tubing that was used when the house was built, and as you can see it' s very corroded and very thin, and it's always a good idea to get rid of it when you're doing any remodeling work, if you don't want this stuff breaking on you. We're running the new hex water line to the connections and we're gonna pull it so we have enough to get over to where we need to go.

We're gonna assemble a bent support to hold the pipe in place.
The use of pecs throughout this job is making it easier to keep precious headroom, and really cutting down on the time it takes to do things like re-locate the laundry and update the old water lines

Viega is a manufacturer of Pex systems.
We manufacture three different kinds of Pex. Pexcel for plumbing, Pextron for heating, and last, Fostapex.

Fostapex is a product with form stability. It can be used for both plumbing and heating. This product also is used in applications for radiant, as well as baseboard heat.

Today we're talking about the Pexcel plumbing system, and the big advantage of our Pexcel plumbing system with Viega is our connection system.

Our connection is simple, as we have this stainless steel ring with a sleeve with an eyehole in it. The eyehole is designed so that you can see that the pipe, the fitting, the sleeve is all the way on the pipe.

We then insert our fitting which holds the sleeve in place. So this system can be dry fit and then attached later, and pressed later

There's a lot of new innovative products that make remodeling an old house easier from the plumbing perspective.
And a lot of do-it-yourselvers like to tackle it, but most of the time you're better off hiring a master plumber.