It is inevitable that you will face plumbing issues as a homeowner however, sometimes a simple repair isn’t enough and you need to have your entire home repiped (which sounds like a big deal) but no need to be intimidated. We will guide you through the entire process! Starting from determining if you need a repipe, to choosing a plumber and what pipe materials to consider. Unless you have professional plumbing experience, repiping is not a DIY job. Repiping a house involves demolition, plumbing, reconstruction, and sometimes using an open flame. Don’t attempt this at home.
An entire house repipe is a significant investment in both time and money.
Here are some reasons why you might need to repipe your house:
You are repeatedly paying for plumbing work - A new pipe network can get rid of your plumbing problem. The benefits of having a brand-new system installed will help you avoid having to do any further repairs for many many years!
Your house has lead pipes - lead pipes were only a concern in the 1920’s or even earlier! But believe it or not, there are still some properties with lead pipes which can lead to some serious health risks.
Galvanized steel pipes - Galvanized steel was mainly used to pipe properties before World War II. The problem is after a certain amount of years they become corroded and once the corrosion starts building in these pipes the water flow is restricted and sediment can end up in your drinking water.
Remodelling - If you decide to remodel your bathroom or kitchen also consider a repipe this can save you time and money.
What is involved in Repiping a house?
Repiping an entire house is a huge job which includes replacing cold and hot water supply pipes, as well as waste drainage pipes. For many homeowners, a complete house repipe might be one of the biggest renovations they ever do!
Here’s a breakdown of the process:
Before you start any work you will need to get an inspection and an estimate. They may also advise you to go for a small repair if needed or repipe a single section or even do an entire repipe. If you decide to go with a total house repipe, your plumber may have to secure a work permit from the local government. Next the repiping installers will decide on the best materials to work with including copper, steel or PEX piping.
A good plumber will cover all work areas in plastic to ensure your belongings are protected during the construction process. Your water service at home will need to be turned off temporarily but a good plumber will be able to do most of the work during the day so by the evening you will be able to use your water again. Your plumber then with his special tools pinpoints the exact location of the pipes behind your walls before cutting a hole into your drywall to access your pipes. The new pipes are installed and then the repiping installers will patch up the drywall and repaint to restore your home to its previous condition.
How long does it take to repipe a house? An entire repipe varies from a few days up to a week.
How much does it cost? The price varies from $1500-$15000 depending on the size of your house and type of piping fitted.
Now let's talk about the different types of pipes:
Oldest piping system and most expensive pipes from $1-$3 per foot (copper is a commodity, so its price can change day-to-day).
Steel pipes last for a good 50-70 years.
Cheapest and newest type of pipes $0.30 per foot very reliable considered to be better than copper.
What to do with your old pipes? Many homeowners decide to keep the old pipes behind the walls, others choose to have them removed (for an additional fee).
Repiping is such a big job and it is important to hire the right plumber.
Look for a plumber or plumbing company that are:
Fully licensed and have proof of insurance
Look through references and online reviews
Look for a successful business for many years
Make sure to ask for a quote including labor costs, material costs, and miscellaneous expenses (permits, inspections, etc.).
Offers a guarantee or warranty.
Other plumbing renovations you can upgrade too:
A Tankless water heater - This gives you hot water on demand! They last three times longer than normal water heaters and take up far less space!
Low Flow Fixtures - For the more environmentally aware homeowners.. In the Bay Area the amp runs between 50-20. Repiping is also a good time to upgrade! If your house has less than 100amps you should decide to renovate and consider adding a new electrical charger, air conditioner, induction cook top and an electrical water/heater.
Flo by Moen smart water shutoff - Are your old pipes leaking and wasting water? If so you should think about installing a smart water device in your new plumbing network. It can help keep your new pipes intact by alerting you to pressure loss and unusual flow activity in real-time to detect leaks or areas of concern in the plumbing system. Another amazing feature is if something goes wrong while you’re away the Smart Water Shutoff will automatically turn off your water in just 5 seconds, saving you thousands of dollars worth of damage!
Hopefully you are now feeling less overwhelmed and understand the work that is done and the different materials used. Having your home repiped is a huge financial investment, but after it is installed you will have a reliable plumbing network that will last you the rest of your life!