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Question DetailsAsked on 4/9/2018

Is connecting a flexible copper tube to a galvanised nipple legal?

Changing NG Water Heater and updating to code 4 years ago, the contractor inserted a galvanized nipple between the cold water pipe and the flexible copper tube to Heater. As expected, rust has developed between the threaded part of
the nipple and the copper tube. Is that a legitimate connection? Should the contractor be obliged to correct the problem?

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1 Answer


Not in any area I have seen - though commonly copper tubing has a recessed ferrule and brass fitting (more common than copper fitting by far - has a much yellower or golder color than copper) which is allowed in many areas in contact with galvanized pipe. When connecting those, most manufacturers recommend using teflon tape to minimize metal-to-metal contact, though of course the threads cut through the teflon take.

But if this was copper water pipe (or PEX) he should have used a copper threaded fitting - and copper pipe section as needed for length, if connecting to flexible copper tubing.

Before I remembered you are talking water line, the other thing I was going to say you may be seeing - I have actually seen this far more often than galvanized to brass corrosion - is corrosion due to leak testing fluid not being washed off the pipe - but that would apply to gas line, not water line.

Getting it redone by that plumber after 4 years - yeah, good luck with that, though if you talked to the owner he might (if not a one-man outfit) take responsibility for his guy's poor work and do it for free. Otherwise, if you are at all a home-handy person, shutting off the incoming water main shutoff, partly drawing down the water to below the top of the tank, and swapping out the nipple should not be tough. Brasscraft, Anderson, Everflow and others make "copper" pipe nipples (actually bronze, but that is a stronger material by far) - might have to hit a large home improvement box store or plumbing suply place to find them though. But would presumably make for a solder-free job. Don't forget your teflon tape.

Be sure to check threads - that both ends are NPT (national pipe thread) - some tubing connectors are flare tubing or MPT thread, not NPT - so be sure the nipple you get is the same thread. Most likely NPT if connecting to a galvanized nipple, but you hit all sorts of odd things when you come to change of materials connections.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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