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I need to replace ALL the old galvanized pipe in a two story house with copper. PEX is not code in Chicago. Any tips on running to second story (especially shower) without completely destroying walls? Can I just disconnect the old galv. and leave it in or should I try to cut it out?

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It's a challenging job, I would remove all the galvanized pipe if possible. I don't like running into decommissioned wire and pipe when I'm on a job. You have to think about the next guy coming to do work in the future. A tip for making the connections. Get a flame shield and keep a pail of water close by. Also pre-tinning the pipes can be helpful in those really hard to heat places.

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    I like using mapp gas it is hotter than propane, I think it helps I have been using it since lead based solder was no longer legal and was having trouble with the lead free solder. A friend suggested mapp gas, it is more expensive but with lead free it helped me. + for heat shield / blanket. If you cut out the galvanized you won't have to drill more holes a saws all will make quick work of the old pipe. – Ed Beal Mar 15 at 16:29
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    @EdBeal A good flux helps as well as making sure the pipe ends and fittings are really clean. Fittings fresh out of the bag need a clean with a green pot scourer - takes that layer of oxidation off and makes a big difference... At least that’s what I found. – Solar Mike Mar 16 at 2:07
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    I tell my helper to clean the pipe until he can see his reflection and then clean some more. – plumbum Mar 16 at 11:20
  • Thanks a million you guys for the helpful suggestions. I've done a fair amount of plumbing. but never in such confined area's and such long runs. I will try my hand at tinning the pipe also! – peter Siragusa Mar 17 at 2:46
  • If I pre-tin the pipe will the fittings still fit? Should I clean the tinned pipled before connecting the fittings? I've heard of tinning, but have little experience with it. – peter Siragusa Mar 17 at 14:23

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