This is a basement bathroom completely gutted out
In the picture below

1 -the pipes are coming from the adjacent room (kitchen) Main valve is there as well
2 shower end -from there it splits horizontally toward 5 (sink) and 6 (toilet) 3 upstairs sink
4 bath tub shower upstairs
you can also see where the upstairs toilet drain is joining the vertical purple drain

Everything is copper and I am not sure if it needs to be replaces and if I can do it myself
I have never done plumbing but I am handy

enter image description here

Here are some reasons why I would replace this

  • I want to move the drain and the vent (vertical purple and grey pipes) near the wall
  • as you can see in the pictures below there is some corrosion going on (nothing leaked and I would have not known about this if I did not open the ceiling)
    the 1/2" supply pipes are in bad shape in certain areas but not sure how bad they are
  • if I leave the supply pipes longer they will complete the corrosion and they will leak causing more problems

My question is this: how do I move from copper to pex in this situation ? After I finish the basement I will do the reno for the upstairs bathroom and I need to understand how I can do the basement bathroom and finish it and them move to upstairs.
A plan I am thinking of would be to make a copper to pex transition at ❶ and then find a way to leave pex ends accessible for when I open the floor upstairs What do the plumbers do in such situations when you can't shut down all the bathrooms in the house for an extended period ? (the upstream bathroom will also be opened and gutted out )

enter image description here enter image description here

Bottom side of the vent and drain that I want to move near wall enter image description here

  • 1
    Well, my first suggestion would be to plumb PEX like PEX, not like rigid pipe (copper, PVC, CPVC, Galvanized Iron) - i.e. take advantage of the fact that it is flexible rather than sticking all those elbows in the run. Only use an elbow where you cannot work out a way for a more gradual bend. My second suggestion is another "PEX centric" idea, which is to use home runs back to the supply rather than daisy-chaining - PEX is inexpensive pipe and it simplifies things like "the next bathroom" because you just run pipe for that and leave it shut off (valved) at the source until you connect it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 11, 2020 at 11:44
  • PEX cannot corrode, is far cheaper than copper, and is easier to install. But rats and mice can chew right through it. Aug 11, 2020 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


That kind of corrosion is usually attributed to the failure to remove excess soldering flux, and it does not indicate the pipes are corroding through. Wiping all those areas with a wet rough rag would probably remove the deposits. Then examine the joints for pitting and for pinhole leaks. At this point replacing all this plumbing would be premature.

Copper water piping can corrode through. We had multiple pinhole leaks in the 6 ft vertical run carrying hot water from the tank down to the slab. But your pipes do not appear to be corroding through. The corrosion is probably superficial and stopped when all the excess flux was consumed. The excess flux should have been wiped off by the plumber who sweated the joints, but often this is not done.

  • should I try water and vinegar? Like here youtube.com/watch?v=MHXiCCCrkM0
    – MiniMe
    Aug 11, 2020 at 12:21
  • First try hot water and a rough rag or even a Scotchbrite pad. Wear a heavy rubber glove to protect your hand. Vinegar might remove the excess flux better than water, but then you would have to wipe away the vinegar since it is an acid and would react with the copper. Aug 11, 2020 at 15:35
  • I want to correct my above comment. Very probably what is present is a copper salt left over from excess acidic flux left on the pipe. The flux reacted with the copper and was entirely consumed. This copper salt (e.g., cupric chloride) is a solid adhering to the metallic copper tubing. Water and abrasion should be all that is needed to remove this. There are some copper salts which are insoluble in water and vinegar would be needed, but try just water first and report what you get. Aug 11, 2020 at 15:50
  • I viewed the video and it is absurd rubbish. The only benefit to polishing copper pipes to shiny metal is appearance. Copper pipes will discolor (probably from oxide formation) which does not affect function. Removing the copper salts will probably not increase the service life, but done properly it won't hurt. Cleaning it would make a leak easier to see. Aug 11, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    Agree..I know that the dark copper coating due to aging acts as a protection
    – MiniMe
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:15

Your Answer

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

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