Brass Water Supply Piping Inspection, Diagnosis, Repair, Replacement, Life Expectancy
- BRASS WATER PIPES - CONTENTS: Inspecting, Installing, Repairing, & Diagnosing Brass Water Pipe Problems. Brass water supply piping inspection, diagnosis, repair. Life expectancy of Brass water supply pipes. Types of pipe fittings & connections used with brass water pipes in buildings
- POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about brass plumbing pipes & fittings
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
This page lists our in-depth articles on inspecting, testing, and repairing problems with brass water supply plumbing. Our page top photograph shows a great place to look for brass piping: in the plumbing access behind the tub wall of an older home.
This photograph was taken in a home built in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1935. We found brass water supply pipes, brass drain piping, lead drain pipes, and asbestos pipe insulation all in this opening.
The articles at this website will answer most questions about water supply & drain piping, wells, & water tanks as well as many other building plumbing system inspection or defect topics. Reproduction of this web page electronically at other websites is prohibited.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Brass Building Water Supply: how to identify, inspect, repair, replace
Distinguishing Brass Water Pipes from Copper Piping
Watch out: on older buildings brass water supply piping may have been used, and may be at or near the end of its useful life.
It can be tricky to tell the difference between brass water supply piping and copper water supply piping if you are not experienced with these materials, as their colors are similar, especially when both types of piping have become an oxidized brownish color with age.
Both brass and copper are non-magnetic, so they won't respond to a "magnet" test to look for iron or steel.
Brass water supply piping, unlike copper, is a thicker material that is usually joined by threaded fittings of the same size and pipe thread specifications (NPT) as iron and galvanized iron piping.
Usually, brass piping is also so rigid that it is not bendable. Or not very bendable anyway. So in our photograph (left) of water supply piping at a bath tub in an older home, the larger-diameter left-hand pipe is surely brass, connected to a galvanized iron fitting at its bottom end.
The right-hand vertical pipe may be copper tubing as is the darker copper pipe at left behind our brass one.
Don't worry about that odd little machine in bottom center of the photo - we were collecting an air sample in this wall cavity.
More Photographs of Brass Water Supply Piping
Our brass pipe photograph at above left helps identify brass water supply piping: the combination of shiny gold-colored metal (scratch it to see), and threaded pipe fittings confirms that the material is brass, not copper. A brass union and brass water pipe fittings in our photo at above right also show the threaded connections characteristic of this material.
We discuss the lead drain line shown in our above-left photo, at LEAD PIPES in BUILDINGS.
Here we show vintage brass water supply piping rising to a third floor bath tub in an older home.
The water shutoff valve is probably chromed brass, and you can also observe a larger diameter brass tub drain pipe just behind the brass water pipe and valve shown in the foreground.
At the right edge of the photo is a second brass water supply pipe riser, and in the floor we noticed a brass cap over a floor-access plumbing drain access.
Incidentally, from its age, location, and retrofit status, this tub drain did not work very well - it was un-vented.
More recently a plumber had installed a vacuum breaker on this drain line, found in a nearby attic knee wall crawl space.
Life Expectancy of Brass Water Supply Piping
Unlike it's look-alike cousin galvanized iron piping, brass water pipes are less likely to become clogged internally by rust build-up. However if the building water supply is heavy in minerals, mineral deposits, particularly in hot water pipes, can over time clog brass water piping just as it may cause clogs in galvanized iron or copper water pipes.
We often find brass water supply piping working well after more than 50 years and we have inspected and found in good condition brass water supply pipes in buildings more than 75 years old, including some of the photos shown in this article that were obtained in a home built in 1935.
We suspect that the life expectancy of brass water pipes may depend on part on the corrosivity or aggressiveness of the building water supply.
Photos of Brass Drain Piping in Buildings
Brass drain pipes and on occasion chrome-plated brass drain piping may be more commonly found in buildings than you realize. Lots of plumbing traps and some tub drain parts were made of brass or chrome-plated brass.
This photograph shows brass drain connections at a bath tub. We scratched the horizontal drain connector to better-show its characteristic brass color.
Watch out: even though the brass drain line in this photo appeared to be in good condition with no signs of leaks despite its age, there could be perforations developing on the non-visible underside of the brass pipe.
Worse, in this same location the brass tub drains connected to a lead plumbing drain that will be costly to replace when it leaks.
Continue reading at COMPRESSION FITTINGS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Or see PEX BRASS CONNECTOR LEAKS
Also see Water Supply/Drain Pipe Leak Types
Suggested citation for this web page
BRASS WATER PIPES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
- AGE of PLUMBING MATERIALS & FIXTURES
- BACKUP PREVENTION, SEPTIC
- BACKUP PREVENTION, SEWER LINE
- BLOCKED DRAIN REPAIR
- CHECK VALVES, WATER SUPPLY
- CHECK VALVE FAQs
- CLEANOUTS, PLUMBING DRAIN
- CLOGGED DRAIN DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
- CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPES, DIAGNOSIS
- CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPES, HOT WATER
- CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPES, REPAIR
- CONDENSATION or SWEATING PIPES, TANKS
- CORROSIVITY or ACIDITY of WATER
- CROSS CONNECTIONS, PLUMBING
- DIAELECTRIC PIPE FITTINGS
- DRAIN & SEWER PIPING - home
- GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
- LEAD PIPES in BUILDINGS
- LEAK CAUSES in WATER PIPING
- LEAK TYPES, WATER SUPPLY or DRAIN PIPES
- NOISE, PLUMBING SYSTEM
- ODORS, DRAIN & SEWER LINE SOURCES
- PIPE FREEZE-BURST PATTERNS
- PIPING in BUILDINGS, CLOGS, LEAKS, TYPES - home
- PLASTIC PIPING ABS CPVC PB PEX PVC - home page
- PLUMBING NOISES
- PLUMBING VENT PIPING - home
- SEPTIC BACKUP PREVENTION
- SEPTIC BACKUP REPAIR
- SEWER GAS ODORS
- SEWER LINE LEAKS & ODORS
- SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
- SOUND CONTROL for PLUMBING
- SUPPLY PIPING - home
- TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
- VALVES, PLUMBING
- WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
- WATER PIPE CLOG DIAGNOSIS
- WATER PIPING GROUND BOND
- WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR - home
- WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS - home
- WATER PUMP CONTROLS & SWITCHES
- WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
- WATER SUPPLY - home
- WATER STAINING CONTAMINANTS
- WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
- WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES - home
- WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
- WINTERIZE A BUILDING
- FAQs below discusses field reports of problems & solutions for this topic
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Click to Show or Hide FAQs
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
Technical Reviewers & References
Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman
Click to Show or Hide Citations & References
- Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides:
- Commercial Building Inspection Courses - protocol ASTM Standard E 2018-08 for Property Condition Assessments
- Home Inspection Education Courses including home study & live classes at eleven colleges & universities.
- Home Inspection Education Home Study Courses - ASHI@Home Training 10-course program.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
- The Home Reference Book, a reference & inspection report product for building owners & inspectors.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
- The Home Reference eBook, an electronic version for PCs, the iPad, iPhone, & Android smart phones.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter inspectaehrb in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
- The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
- The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
- Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
- Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com 11/06
- Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Standards Committee. Mr. Hankey has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. Contact Roger Hankey at: 952 829-0044 - firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hankey is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
- Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at email@example.com
- Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
- The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.