Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wye Strainers - Filter the rust deposits before they leave you dry in the shower.

I haven't posted to my blog in a long time but this particular topic warrants a post.

I own an older home whose plumbing is made of cast iron.  This is pretty common in old homes. So if you have a home with cast iron pipes then you will know exactly where I am going with this post. 

My #1 problem with cast iron piping is that it rusts, and this rust causes all sorts of problems with my faucets and other appliances that use water.

Normally on a faucet there are water aerators with a screen in them that filters out the rust and other debris caused by cast iron pipes, washing machines have a small filter as well.

This a my washing machines hot water inlet. You can see it's completely plugged up with rust and other deposits from my pipes.  Luckily the filter catches most of it.

The one thing in my house that doesn't really have a filter/screen that actually needs it is my shower water manifold. About every 6 months I would have to tear apart my showers plumbing and clean out the shower manifold to get all of  the rust deposits that were jamming up the ports.  It was a very time consuming procedure, but if I didn't do it then I would end up hugging the shower wall trying to get the water from the shower head to wash my hair.
I cleaned out the showers manifold so many times that I installed these brass ball turn valves on my water lines so I didn't have to keep shutting off the water to the house every time I worked on the shower.
I had been to the plumbing stores trying to find an inline filter that would be easy to clean out, but it seemed that no one had heard of such a thing. The years went by and I was constantly looking for a solution. The other day I was at The Home Depot and I decided to see if I could make something that would work. I found a PVC union coupler that I thought I could install a screen in that would work but I decided to run it by a plumber friend of mine first. Of course my idea wasn't going to work, the  PVC wasn't designed to be used in household plumbing, but he did introduce me to what I was looking for. It was called a Wye (Y) strainer and it was exactly what I was looking for. (Thank you Chris Kelly of Kelly's Rescue Plumbing)

Inline Y Filter
1/2" Inline Y Filter Fitting 200 Micron 80 Mesh 304 Stainless Steel Strainer

The strainer is an inline 1/2" Y filter.  The one I happened to buy has an 80 mesh strainer with a 200 micron filter.  It only cost around $11 bucks a piece on Amazon (No local plumbing supply store sold one, let alone have heard of one)

 After tearing apart my showers plumbing one last time and spending some time getting every thing back together I finally have something that I feel will be a long term solution to rust plugging up my showers water faucets manifold. This is what my final project looks like.  You can see the inline filter feeds straight into the showers manifold.  Now when I notice my showers water pressure decreasing I just have to unscrew the nut on the Y and pull out the filter and shake off the debris. My only regret is that I wish I would have found this solution year a go.