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non-plumber
galvanized pipes

I have an old house. Most of the water supply pipes have been converted to copper (not all) The upstairs bathtub is getting small pieces of what looks like tp or newspaper. I had assumed it was slough from the galvanized pipe and replaced the supply from the basement to the upstairs. (all but the exposed stainless from the floor to the faucet--claw-foot tub) The tenants are again having the problem after a couple of weeks. Any ideas as to what I could be dealing with? The tub was refinished about 5 years ago. Could anything there be peeling off? I really don't want to call in the plumber again!

Shaun
Re: galvanized pipes

If it looks like toilet paper its probably a backed up drain. Unless you see it coming from the water supply, snake the tub and/or pull the toilet and snake the water closet 3 or 4" line.

Shaun

non-plumber
Re: galvanized pipes

Thank you for responding. I sure could use some help! My tenant assures me that this is coming from the faucet and not the drain. Apparently the drain is already plugged when this appears.

Shaun
Re: galvanized pipes

Well it seems that you are a long distance landlord and that I am a long distance web adviser, without examining these pieces and supposing that they are coming from the water supply, I would assume that they would have clogged the aerators of the sinks or the showerhead/handshower of the tub assuming that there is one. That would lead me to guess the tub finish? If you have replaced most of the pipes then I would think it would run its course sooner maybe later. Send the pieces of material to the "Institute of What the Heck Could This Be." Sometimes rental tenants are not the best source of information. Pictures???

Shaun

massimmp
Re: galvanized pipes

Depending on how long it's been since your plumber was there it could bread in the water line; plain old white bread. If the water main shut off had a slow leak, it's possible that the plumber used a piece of bread to plug the leak for long enough to heat the copper and solder the connection. Even the slightest amount of water will prevent the water line from getting hot enough to solder.

When doing that, the key is to make sure that the first faucet turned on is in the bath tub or slop sink, some faucet that does not have an aerator. That will allow the bread to pass through easily.

It's a stretch but it could be that some of that bread is lodged somewhere inline to that tub. If it's been longer than weeks; I'd say you have something else going on.

Oregon Plumber
Re: galvanized pipes

I think I might know what this is. Ask the tenant if he has noticed less hot water available also? I've run into this problem before. It's not small pieces of paper he's seeing, but small pieces of plastic from the dip tube in the water heater. The constant heat and a manufactures defect in dip tube production in the 80's and 90's lead to the tube breaking off the cold water inlet inside the water heater tank. The tube breaks into little pieces that flow down the pipes to the fixtures. Unfortunantly, there is no way to repair the problem other than replacing the water heater. You can't fish the broken tube out and it just continues to break up and clog faucets, cartidges, angle stops, and cut rubber on fill valves, etc. etc. Sorry to give you the news that you'll be spending next weekend changing out the heater. Ahh, the joys of owning a rental. Good luck.

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