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Water Lines Locating Miramar
Call Us: 727-228-3350


In this episode, we’re cutting the water pipe for a toilet supply line (1/2″ galvanized) in a 45 unit residential building in order to install a new shutoff valve in the line.

Short Version
Step 1: Ready your tools and supplies.
Step 2: Get prepared for the worst.
Step 3: Ready the new valve assembly.
Step 4: Shut off building water supply.
Step 5: Cut desired pipe with Sawzall.
Step 6: Remove old pipe.
Step 7: Inspect source pipe and female threading for occlusion and debris.
Step 8: Insert new valve assembly and tighten.
Step 9: Close new valve and re-open building water supply (slowly, to prevent pressure shock).

Long Version
Step 1: Ready your tools and supplies. In this case we used a Milwaukee Sawzall w/ metal blade, big pipe wrench, little pipe wrench, toothless pipe wrench, adjustable wrench, 90 degree ball valve, 1/2″ diameter 6″ galvanized nipple, Rectorseal #5, teflon tape, metal file, towels, and lights. Depending on the situation that arises (but best to have ready), you might also need: extendable magnet (actually, we forgot it this time, but usually use it go get metallic debris out of the pipe), hammer, blade screwdriver, hacksaw blade, butane torch, internal pipe wrench, pint glass (to place over hole of low pressure water to see into pipe).

Step 2: Get prepared for the worst. This is a 1920’s building, so the pipes are old, but unless there is visible corrosion on the exterior of the pipes, they are usually extremely solid. However, we’ll be cutting it with a Sawzall which can shake like a banshee, which could rupture the threading in the sourceline’s T fitting. (I should make a video about what to do in that situation.) Other things should also be taken into consideration: protecting electrical tools from water exposure (including Sawzall, lights, extension cords, circuit panels, etc), protecting surroundings from water exposure, backup lights, backup saw blades….

Step 3: Ready the new valve assembly. Wrap one end of the nipple with teflon tape, then a thin coat of Rectorseal; thread on new valve until secure (do not over-tighten, which can break the valve). Wrap the other end of the nipple with teflon, then a thin coat of Rectorseal. The valve should be in the OPEN position, so that any residual water pressure doesn’t blow the sealant out of the threading while inserting the new assembly.

Step 4: Shut off building water supply. This is almost absolutely completely necessary, unless you want main pressure water spurting everywhere (might want to add “goggles” to the list if that’s unavoidable). With the main supply off, the remainder of the building will slowly gurgle out, unless someone opens a tap, flushes a toilet, etc., much like a straw filled with water with a thumb over one end.

Step 5: Cut desired pipe with Sawzall. Sometimes only one cut is needed to gain enough space to unthread the old pipe. In this case, we had to cut out another section. At this point, you can not go back. You might also find that you’ve broken something else while cutting the pipe, refer to step 2.

Step 6: Remove old pipe. In this case, a large pipe wrench was needed to remove the two halves of the old pipe. If you’ve followed my advice and used Recorseal and Teflon tape, usually this isn’t necessary.

Step 7: Inspect source pipe and female threading for occlusion and debris. Sometimes a metal file is needed to break up the rust deposits or clean up the threading, sometime a pick (think sturdy dental pick), sometimes a wire brush. If water is flowing, but the pressure is low enough, a glass pint glass can be pressed against the orifice to aide in viewing the pipe opening. If water is flowing, most of this debris will come out on its own.

Step 8: Insert new valve assembly and tighten. If water is flowing, be sure new valve assembly is in the OPEN position so that sealant isn’t blown out of the new threading’s mating surfaces.

Step 9: Close new valve and re-open building water supply (slowly, to prevent pressure shock). Check for leaks in the new pipe fittings, and proceed with mating up subsequent piping.

Good luck!

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