Strange pipes coming from the walls of rehab

15 Replies

Hi all,

This is my first post on BP after listening to just about every one of the podcasts. As a way of an introduction, my name is Glen and I am relatively new to real estate investing but have jumped right in, buying two properties last year. I buy properties in wilmington, Delaware primarily for rental. I currently live in my first purchase that I have been renovating, and will convert it to a rental upon completion (and when I have the cash to buy another property). I only invest part time- and rely on my career as a CPA/anti-money laundering consultant for my living expenses.

I am in the process of rehabbing the second house (a 1923- 3 bed 1 bath) now and have come across threaded and capped pipes in each of the upstairs bedrooms and hallway about 4 feet off the ground. I pulled back the carpets to see if there was a return pipe (as if there was an old radiator line) but there was nothing. My thought is now that this may have been old oil lamps or something. Just wondering if anyone has ever seems this. I didn't see any of the pipes coming out in the basement so I believe they are not live anymore. I am probably just going to hacksaw them out of the wall. I'll post pictures assuming I can figure out how to :-)

Thanks!
Glen

Just a thought, is the place propane heated? It may have been roughed in for heaters.

Try removing a cap and see if you smell propane even if they are no longer active you will still smell it.

I would tend to fanthom that it is a gas line also.  Is the removal necessary?

Thanks for the responses. The house is oil heat converted from coal heat I believe. The pipes stick out about 2 inches from the walls and just look bad, not completely necessary to remove but would help in updating the place. It didn't really smell of gas when we opened the pipes but the natural gas to the house is currently turned off. (Only gas used it for water, dryer, and stove). The pipes are copper if that helps.

Possibly, if it is a single pipe in each room, it's probably an old single pipe steam system line. Steam was fed up the line into the radiator, and then would recondense to condensate and return back down the same pipe via gravity to the condensate station or pump. Just a thought or possibility. 


How big are the pipes?  3/4"?  (about 1" actual diameter)

Or are they smaller than that?  1/4" or 3/8" pipes.

How rural is the house?  Outside of a large town many houses in that area had a gas-generator - often buried out in the yard.  The system produced acetylene gas which was used for lights, cooking, and sometimes hot water.  

Gas pipes tend to be smaller - heating pipes tend to be larger.

Take off a cap and if there is no pressure or smell just use a pipe wrench to unscrew the nipple.  That will just leave a plaster hole to fill and be easier / neater than sawing.

stephen
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Originally posted by @Glen Beringer :

 . . . . I am in the process of rehabbing the second house (a 1923- 3 bed 1 bath) now and have come across threaded and capped pipes in each of the upstairs bedrooms and hallway about 4 feet off the ground. I pulled back the carpets to see if there was a return pipe (as if there was an old radiator line) but there was nothing. My thought is now that this may have been old oil lamps or something. Just wondering if anyone has ever seems this. I didn't see any of the pipes coming out in the basement so I believe they are not live anymore. I am probably just going to hacksaw them out of the wall. I'll post pictures assuming I can figure out how to :-)

Thanks!
Glen

This would seem unlikely as the condensate water drains back by gravity and so a 4' elevated pipe wouldn't fit the scenario well.

BTW:  one-pipe-steam pipes are relatively large  (as they have to simultaneously flow steam in one directions and water in the opposite direction)  so the OP measuring the ize of the pipes will give us better clues.

stephen
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Originally posted by @Nathan Renner:

Possibly, if it is a single pipe in each room, it's probably an old single pipe steam system line. Steam was fed up the line into the radiator, and then would recondense to condensate and return back down the same pipe via gravity to the condensate station or pump. Just a thought or possibility. 

If it is an older house, those were probably gas supply pipes for gas lights that would have been on the walls. 

Examples:

http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Gas_Lights_Pipes...

Thanks for the responses everyone.  Posted a few pictures- sorry some of them are facing the wrong direction.

We rehabbed one with a similar pipe configuration. Ours were gas lights of old & were also piped into the center plaster medallions of both the living & dining rooms but were similarly positioned on the walls in the kitchens & the entrance foyer.

Gas lines for lights.  Most we come across are dead and we simply cut them out.  Always check before doing this though. 

we have run across same thing in a few of the houses we rehabbed.. they were old gas lines in both scenarios. 

good luck

sky-mikesell

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