threaded pipe - installation

How To Install A New Steel Threaded Pipe (In 3 Steps!)

In our previous article, we showed you how to remove a threaded pipe that was old, corroded, and needed replacement. It’s the first in a two-part series.

Today, we get to the fun part — installing a new threaded steel pipe. Let’s get started.

Getting Started

If you choose to work with steel threaded pipe, one difficulty is ending the run at the right place. The “run” is the path of the pipe (or the run of the pipe) you’re working on.

Because the ends of a threaded pipe are fitted, you can’t just cut a piece to fit, as with copper or plastic materials like PEX. You’ll need to purchase long pieces of steel pipe that take up most of the runs (have a selection of nipples on hand too) or short lengths of pipe that are threaded on each end.

You will then have a number of options to choose from to end the run in the right spot.

Here’s All You Need For Installing a Threaded Pipe

Here are the basic things you need to successfully install a steel, threaded pipe (that will replace the one you removed):

  1. Time

    In just an hour, you should be able to assemble about four pipe lengths with fittings.

  2. Skills

    The ability to measure pipe lengths and use of a pipe wrench.

  3. Tools

    Tape measure, two pipe wrenches.

Install the New, Threaded Steel Pipe in 3 Steps

1. Shut Off Your Water

As in our previous article about removing a threaded steel pipe, your first task is to shut off the main source of water before you do any work on a water pipe.

Find the shut-off valve in your home, turn it off, then go to the faucet in the lowest part of your home and open it so that any remaining water drains out. That’s all there is to it.

Start by turning of the main water shutoff valve
As in part one of this series, always begin by shutting off the main water valve and draining any excess water from your pipes.

2. Assembling the Parts

The typical installation combines standard-length pipes with joints and nipples to end up exactly at the right location.

Many plumbing suppliers have ready-cut steel pipe in standard sizes (12″, 48″, and so on) for less cost. And it will save you lots of time in custom-cutting them yourself. In addition, if you measure and cut your own pipe but make a mistake, the supplier might not take back your pipe.

So you should see if this is an option before you begin measuring and cutting any pre-purchased steel pipe.

How to install threaded pipe - step 1
This diagram of threaded pipe-related parts help illustrate how the entire assembly works together.

3. Joining the Pipes

Before you thread a pipe and fitting together, seal the pipe threads using pipe joint compound or Teflon tape.

Assemble the pipes and fittings one at a time. Make sure to tighten each as you go. If your assembly requires a union (see part one of this series), work from each end toward the union. The union is installed last.

You should support any runs of threaded pipe at least every six feet.

How to install threaded pipe - step 1
This illustration shows both methods of making sure the threaded connections are snug and watertight. You can choose to use a pipe joint compound or Teflon tape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are my old steel pipes the cause of my low water pressure?

It’s quite possible. Poor water pressure in an old house is often due to galvanized steel pipes that are clogged with rust. If the problem is limited to one fixture, try replacing a few of the pipes leading up to it. If the problem is throughout your home, call a professional. You might have a larger, more widespread problem.

Is there another way to boost my water pressure if I have old steel pipes?

Other than hiring a professional to remove and replace your steel threaded pipes that are corroded, one option is hiring a company which specializes in a process that causes rust and corrosion to fall away from inside of the pipe. But the process can take months to work.

How tight should the threaded pipe be?

Hand tighten about 2-3 full turns, or until the pipe feels snug. We recommend using Teflon tape — wrapped around the threads about 5 times — to create a watertight seal. Always wrap the tape in the same direction as the threads. Watch this video for complete instructions on proper wrapping.

Final Thoughts

Homes built before the 1960s, but especially those before World War II, used galvanized steel pipes (using threaded connections) to transport water throughout the plumbing system.

Unfortunately, those old-house threaded pipes are feeling their age. And if you haven’t already, you’ll soon feel their pain. Over time, these pipes rust and corrode from the inside, sending those contaminants into your water supply. And that corrosion will also lead eventually to leaking or burst pipes, which can cause tremendous amounts of expensive water damage.

If you see any signs of rust, corrosion, or leaks (it can simply be wet), a change in pipe material is in order. Our previous article on this subject will tell you how to find any steel pipes in your home (it’s easy if you know what to look for).

We hope you’ve enjoyed this two-part series on how to remove an old threaded steel pipe and how to install a brand new threaded steel pipe.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

We immediately respond to any of your emergency plumbing, drain cleaning and drain clearing, or water damage problems. And we have specialists who excavate, repair, and replace broken sewer lines.

If you’d like us to repair, remove, or install any type of pipes and fittings, just send us a message or call us at 1-866-758-6237.

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