A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

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A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:41 pm

So I have a slight plumbing issue... here's the deal.

I have a building that was built in the '50s although the area with the bathroom was likely built more like in the 60's (I have no idea for sure). The connection of the water line that goes into the plastic threaded part on the bottom of the toilet tank is leaking. I already have a new toilet and ultimately I will replace it altogether.

In looking at the water connection coming out of the wall, there is not much pipe there to work with. I would like to replace the existing valve with a quarter turn kind, and in an ideal world I would even switch to pex or use a push-fit connection/valve.

Upon taking a closer look at the connection right at the wall, I see a hex shape around that spot right at the wall. That leads me to believe that it just may be threaded. Did they used to use threaded 1/2" lines in that manner back in the olden days?

I'm afraid to also just put a wrench on there and try to crank it off as it may mess up the plumbing behind the drywall.

Any thoughts or ideas here guys? The end goal here is to get Shannon's help since he's a pro at everything :P but I thought I'd throw this out to the other fine folks here. I have very little plumbing experience, really only some with pex and really none with copper. So I don't want to create a huge issue if you know what I'm saying.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:48 pm

I have a theory looking at this picture but I wanna see the other responses first 8-)
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 pm

BTW clean all the pubes off that thing before I get there! LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:19 pm

Shannon wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:48 pm
I have a theory looking at this picture but I wanna see the other responses first 8-)
I suspect that I know what it is, but I'mma gonna wait for other responses too! :twisted: :lol: :lol:
Shannon wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 pm
BTW clean all the pubes off that thing before I get there! LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL
The pubes are the only things holding that valve together! :shock: :mrgreen:

Ok, not to worry, Admin, I got your back. 8-)

I suspect that Shannon's theory is that the valve is soldered to a female fitting and that there is a galvanized male nipple in the wall. If that isn't what Shannon is thinking, it should be, because that's what I'm thinking and we're usually right. :mrgreen:

You are right to be concerned about throwing a wrench on things that you're not sure can handle it. If the plumbing is original to the building, then it is likely steel/galvanized pipe in the wall, which "should" be able to handle being wrenched on, but before I committed to such a thought I would dig out the wall around the fitting to see what is in there. All you need is a 3/8" to 1/2" hole to peek into, something that is easily filled once the work is done.

Secondly, because of the tight quarters, removing a little of the drywall around the fitting will likely be beneficial to extraction, so the initial exploratory surgery will have additional benefits.

Good call to replace the valve with a 1/4 turn, they truly are the best type of valve for an angle stop. Once Shannon confirms that our theory is correct, ;) , I would remove the existing male nipple and install a slightly longer one, patch the wall around the nipple, install an escutcheon ring, then thread your new 1/4 turn valve onto the nipple. I would then buy your installer a beer. :mrgreen:
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:55 am

Shannon wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:49 pm
BTW clean all the pubes off that thing before I get there! LOLLOLLOLLOLLOL
Those aren't mine. Does that make it any better? :shock:
A. Spruce wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:19 pm
The pubes are the only things holding that valve together! :shock: :mrgreen:
That's my thought too. I am literally not touching it unless I have replacement pieces in hand. Or unless it bursts and starts filling the basement with water.
A. Spruce wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:19 pm
I suspect that Shannon's theory is that the valve is soldered to a female fitting and that there is a galvanized male nipple in the wall. If that isn't what Shannon is thinking, it should be, because that's what I'm thinking and we're usually right. :mrgreen: ...
Thanks. I'm not going to touch it yet but I could try to cut out a tiny bit of drywall to peek back there.

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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:06 am

Yes Spruce is on the same though as me. I don't see this much and don't know why they would do it this way but it is a nipple soldered to the valve and threaded into the fitting. My guess on what I see in the picture anyways! LOL
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:17 am

Admin wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:55 am
That's my thought too. I am literally not touching it unless I have replacement pieces in hand. Or unless it bursts and starts filling the basement with water.
Sounds like you might have been down this road a time or two before! :lol: When I did that big remodel back in 2015, I left the bathroom sinks/faucets intact until the new countertop and the plumber were on site to deal with any catastrophic failures. Good thing, when I grabbed the valve to turn it off, it literally snapped off in my hand with the lightest of touch! :shock: I hollered for someone to go shut off the main, finished removing the old, then let the plumber in to install the new.
Admin wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:55 am
Thanks. I'm not going to touch it yet but I could try to cut out a tiny bit of drywall to peek back there.
If you're not doing the work, I'd let Shannon deal with it, simply because he's going to be in there anyway and will need to assess the situation for himself. If the pipes are too corroded, he will likely leave all the old fittings in place and just unsolder the valve then solder on a new nipple for the new valve.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Aaron » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:39 pm

Definitely most likely a male-thread-to-female-sweat connection, and yeah, prolly into galvanized pipe, which is not good because of dissimilar metal and electrolysis. :?

Good call replacing with PEX as much as you can. You should still stub-out of the wall with copper for rigidity for the 1/4-turn valve. Push-fit is a great choice for that! Also known as miracle plumbing.

Ewww, pubes! :lol: That's what a shop-vac is for, and I spray a good disinfectant on all that before I touch it. Toilets are groddy! :lol:

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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:53 pm

Is this what we're talking about (with a valve sweated on)? Galvanized inside the wall...?

Literally every other piece of visible water lines in the building all appears to be copper. I don't see a shred of any other galvanized pipe. Even the main supply goes down behind the water heater as copper, and then disappears into the drywall (and then runs a few feet away in the wall to the toilet, then sink, then shower).

Is it possible the only galvanized pipe is the 10 ft behind the drywall but everything else is copper? Or could it be copper inside the wall with that threaded connection to copper?

For the record the sink hookups beside the toilet look exactly the same.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm

Just for giggles here's the main bunch of water lines before they disappear into the wall.

Now that I'm looking it over, just wait a minute! I see two copper hex fittings on the red handle ball valve on the left of the first pic. That is the water line that goes down to the other red valve and down into the wall.

Hmmm now I'm thinking this most likely is all copper in the wall.

For orientation in the first pic the bottom and left valves are the hot that go down and then into the wall. The other two are cold lines, with the one going down and into the wall.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:35 pm

I wasn't sure if copper pipe was a thing back in the 50's, hence why I suggested that it was likely galvanized. Also, because of the way the female nipple is soldered to the valve, if it was copper in the wall, why not just extend the copper?

At any rate, you could very likely have copper pipe, this may or may not make the valve replacement easier, I suspect it will, but until you actually dig in, ????
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Aaron » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:21 pm

Yeah agreed, perhaps all the galv was removed in that building at some point.

You're gonna need to cut into wall at any rate to replace that valve.

Also, for the supply hose to the toilet tank, I find those steel-braided toilet supply hoses with the appropriate connectors factory assembled on each end to be pretty foolproof. They don't look as professional as the 3/8" tubing, but they're easier to deal with and reliable. Just be sure to measure for the length you need; don't get one too short and avoid using one that's too long.

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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:17 pm

There are a few odd things in this building guys . I think many of these items where DIYed and used what they had or where a little more old school about their methods.
There is really no good reason that should not have been a copper sweat elbow behind the wall and a stub of copper through the wall but most of these other fitting are kind of industrial type fittings IMO and this building was originally a industrial work place so maybe that explains all the threaded fittings?

ADMIN ! Just smack it with a hammer and let me know in the morning what happened . LOL.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:32 pm

Shannon wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:17 pm
Just smack it with a hammer and let me know in the morning what happened . LOL.
Great advice from the master. Should I maybe setup a camera and hit record first?

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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:43 pm

Admin wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:32 pm
Shannon wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:17 pm
Just smack it with a hammer and let me know in the morning what happened . LOL.
Great advice from the master. Should I maybe setup a camera and hit record first?
I say you should wait and let Shannon do the honors with the hammer, then post it as your next video installment! :lol:
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:11 am

Admin wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:32 pm
Shannon wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:17 pm
Just smack it with a hammer and let me know in the morning what happened . LOL.
Great advice from the master. Should I maybe setup a camera and hit record first?
Yes, that may go viral depending on the out come!
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:53 am

You're hoping a pubes infested anglestop goes viral?!?!?!!?!? :shock: :lol:
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:59 pm

So update: could not budge fitting I think they may have actually soldered it together. Really did not want to risk forcing it any more and maybe causing a leak in the wall, then having to open wall to fix. I simply bought a new similar valve and changed the guts from the new one into the old one on the wall. DONE!
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:11 pm

Sometimes that's what you have to do to get a job done.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Admin » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:36 pm

And Shannon proves once again why he's the pro and I'm definitely not (when it comes to home improvement stuff, that's for sure) :P

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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by Shannon » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:32 am

One project down Admin. ;)
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:40 am

That's what makes relationships like this so great, you've got your skills and Shannon has his, so you mesh together nicely. I've got a similar relationship with my business partner.
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by emtnut » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:11 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:40 am
That's what makes relationships like this so great, you've got your skills and Shannon has his, so you mesh together nicely. I've got a similar relationship with my business partner.
Me too ... but I would have built an outhouse for my helper :lol:

You of all people would remember outhouses, right ?? :mrgreen:
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Re: A threaded 1/2" water line to toilet?

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:12 pm

emtnut wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:11 pm
A. Spruce wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:40 am
That's what makes relationships like this so great, you've got your skills and Shannon has his, so you mesh together nicely. I've got a similar relationship with my business partner.
Me too ... but I would have built an outhouse for my helper :lol:

You of all people would remember outhouses, right ?? :mrgreen:
Ooh, would you look at you, get'n all fancy with an outhouse! I'd hand him a shovel and point towards the neighbors yard. :twisted: :lol:
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