I have a 1930s-era house with generally galvanized plumbing. The water-in line is a straight vertical pipe, except for this section which is perpendicular (and copper). The loop part is marked "Ford", the water comes up, to the right, circles around, then continues up. This looks like some sort of old-style expansion joint to me.

enter image description here

As you can see in that image, and this closer one, the right hand threading is leaking just a little, roughly a cup of water over 3 days.

enter image description here

Adding to the complications is that a few feet below this loop is the main water shut off for the house: an old gate valve that no longer fully shuts off the water, though it does shrink it to a manageable trickle.

I'd like to eliminate the leak before the basement is mildewed, but can't stop the water flow easily. Ideally, is there a way to install a new ball valve in place of this center pipe part so I can both deal with the leak, and have a reliable way to turn off the water? If not, is there a reliable way to replace that center pipe that won't leak?

(This sounds like a job for some sort of PEX, so I should admit that I've never used it, and have always been slightly distrusting of it.)

  • 1
    that loop is for installing a water meter
    – jsotola
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 23:14
  • Is the wall the pipe is embedded in concrete or stucco? Is there access at the bottom and top to do some new fittings to bypass the embedded pipe?
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 23:35
  • Unfortunately the pipe is embedded in concrete. There's no way to bypass it.
    – Davide
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


Your only real DIY option is to wrap it in Flex Tape. The stuff works and should be good for at least a decade.

Other than that, you'd have to hire a Plumber to turn off the water at the street for a new valve to go in. That's how it was for me, but call your utility and see it they'll do it and wait for you to put in a new valve.

Anyway, the Plumber won't just turn off your water and wait around to turn it back on, they'll demand the whole job...typically.

Just so you know, the Ford will need to be removed and an expansion tank will be added to your water heater assembly...if there isn't one already.

FYI, start saving up now for full replacement of that galvanized out to the street, minimum...it's got maybe 10-years left.

And, NEVER, do PEX. It's plastic and therefore garbage.(period) The inventor admits that chlorinated water was his obstacle and the only way to defeat it was to leach sacrificial toxins to combat it.

See mrpexsystems, it's a hoot of failure. And, NO PEX has been around for 40-years! That's ALL a LIE and is completely confessed that PEX didn't EVER go beyond experiment until 2003.

PEX is only "good" for 25-years and then NEEDS full replacement. Stick with sweated copper for everything and only use a real Plumber that can sweat a joint. I'm just saying.

  • 1
    The water may not need to be turned off at the street, The OP says that the leaking part is above the main shut off. IMO, flex tape is not a proper solution. Flex tape is not the "only real DIY option", that is determined by the skills of the Y in DIY, they may know how to sweat copper fittings or use a pipe wrench. The main problem is that the pipe is embedded in the wall.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 23:33
  • No, it does. A threaded valve may be there, but it's quite the mess unless you're an expert at it.
    – Iggy
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 23:49
  • Well that's terrifying! Annoyingly, the connection from the street to the house is copper, but the house itself is still galvanized steel!
    – Davide
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 10:15
  • Well, you may luck out to 20-years. Copper underground can go a bit longer (that might make it to even 150-yrs someday) and galvanized outside of the ground can go a bit longer.
    – Iggy
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 10:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.