Replumbing a House – What is Involved in Repiping a House

Be sure to read the answers to the frequently asked questions about home repiping at the end of this article.

Repiping a house

If you have questions about the repiping process, you are in the right place. The article will tell you everything you need to know about repiping your entire home. Repiping a house is a major home renovation project that involves replacing the pipes that carry water throughout the home. Depending on the size of your home, it can be on the expensive side and be a time-consuming process. But it is often necessary due to the age of the pipes, damage caused by corrosion or freezing, or the need to upgrade to newer, more efficient materials.

In this article, we will explore the reasons for replumbing a house, the different options available, and the steps involved in the repiping process. We will also discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of repiping, as well as tips for choosing a qualified plumber and estimating the cost of the project.

What does repiping a house entail?

Home repiping is the process of replacing the pipes that carry fresh water throughout a home. It’s time to have your house repiped if the home’s plumbing is old and damaged or if they are not made of durable materials that can withstand the water pressure and temperature fluctuations in the home. Repiping is also done to improve the overall plumbing system in a home and make it more efficient.

Image of a room in a house having a copper repipe being performed
Image of a room in a house having a copper repipe being performed

It involves removing the old pipes and installing new ones, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. However, it can also provide long-term benefits by preventing leaks, water damage, and other plumbing issues. Replumbing a house is best left to a licensed, professional plumber.

Is there a need to repipe?

It’s clear that there is a homeowner need to repipe when any of the following conditions exist:

  • Your home was built in the 1950s or 1960s using galvanized piping
  • You’re experiencing low water pressure in your hot and cold water system that a new faucet or shower head doesn’t resolve
  • You spot rust or corrosion on the pipes visible in the garage, attic, or basement
  • Water is dripping from a pipe or connector
  • You notice water damage on your walls, ceiling, or floor
  • You notice impurities in the water at the faucets, shower, tub, or toilets
image of corroded galvanized pipes
This is how aging galvanized pipes look. You’re likely drinking, bathing, cooking, and washing with water that flows through pipes like this.

How do you get access to the existing pipes?

Although some pipes might be accessible in the attic or crawlspace, many of the pipes run behind the walls of your home. As such, the plumber will have to make strategic cuts in the drywall to access the pipes to be replaced.

Image of PVD Plumbing & Repipe specialist repiping a bathroom house with PEX piping.
Image of PVD Plumbing & Repipe specialist repiping a bathroom with PEX piping.

Better plumbing companies can replace the cut-out materials and repaint the drywall in such a way as to make it look as though the drywall was never removed. One of the things PVD Plumbing & Repipe is known for is our craftsmanship in not only doing re plumbing a house but also how we finish the affected wall areas.

What are the existing pipes replaced with?

The two main materials used in southern California for replumbing a house are copper pipes and PEX piping.

What about galvanized pipes?

Most homes built in the 1950s and 1960s mainly used galvanized steel pipes (occasionally referred to as lead pipes) and fittings. Galvanized pipes are made of steel that has been coated with a layer of zinc to protect the steel from corrosion. However, this protective layer can wear away over time, leaving the steel vulnerable to rust and other forms of corrosion. While some of the corrosion may be visible on the outside, it’s the built-up corrosion on the inside you don’t see. This can lead to various problems, such as leaks, water damage, and reduced water flow.

image of aging galvanized pipe showing interior corrosion
Aging galvanized pipe showing corrosion and rust build up. The water you drink, cook with, and bath with flows through pipes like this.

 

The difference between repiping with copper vs. PEX Pipes

Copper pipes and PEX piping are typically the two different types of materials used for repiping a home in the South Bay.

Copper pipes

Copper pipes are made of a durable, corrosion-resistant metal that has been used in plumbing for many years. They are known for their durability and longevity, and they can withstand high water pressure and temperature fluctuations.

 

image of copper pipes
Copper pipes became a main stay in the 1970s

PEX piping

PEX piping (Cross-linked polyethylene), on the other hand, is made of a flexible plastic material that is resistant to freezing and bursting. It is also less expensive and easier to install than copper pipes, but it is not as durable and may not last as long.

image of PEX piping
Image of PEX piping

 

The pros of repiping with copper pipes

Repiping an older home with copper pipes can provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved water quality – Copper pipes are resistant to corrosion and bacteria, which can help to improve the quality of the water that flows through them. This can make the water taste and smell better, and it can also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause illness.
  • Increased water pressure – Copper pipes are also known for their durability and ability to withstand high water pressure. This can help to improve the water flow in the home, making it easier to use appliances and fixtures that require a strong water supply.
  • Long-term savings – Copper pipes are more durable and long-lasting than galvanized pipes or PEX piping, which can help to save money on costly repairs and replacements over the long term.
  • Enhanced home value – Upgrading to copper pipes can also improve the overall value of a home. Copper pipes are considered a premium plumbing material, and they can make a home more appealing to potential buyers.
  • Recyclable – If the copper pipes need to be replaced in the future, it’s good to know that copper pipes can be recycled, which can be more environmentally friendly than other types of plumbing materials.
  • Fire resistant – Copper can typically stand up to all but the most devastating house fires.

The cons of repiping with copper pipes

  • More expensive – Copper is typically a more expensive option for home repiping.
  • More difficult to install – By its very nature, copper pipes & connectors are more difficult to install. The pipes cannot be snaked behind a wall like PEX piping can be.
  • Target of theft – Copper pipes can be sold to scrap metal recycling yards. Hence, the pipes are a target of thieves when the pipes are staged for a repiping project but not protected.

The pros of repiping with PEX piping

Repiping an older home that has galvanized pipes with PEX piping can provide several benefits, including:

  • Reduced cost – PEX piping is typically less expensive than copper pipes, which can help to save money on the initial cost of the repiping project. PEX piping is also easier to install, which can save on labor costs and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the project.
  • Improved water flow – PEX piping is flexible and can expand and contract as needed, which can help to improve the water flow in the home. This can make it easier to use appliances and fixtures that require a strong supply of water.
  • Resistance to freezing and bursting – PEX piping is also resistant to freezing and bursting, which can be a common problem with galvanized pipes in colder climates. This can help to prevent water damage and costly repairs due to frozen or burst pipes.
  • Resistance to corrosion – Because it is not made of metal, PEX is resistant to corrosion and scaling
  • Enhanced home value – Upgrading to PEX piping can also improve the overall value of a home. PEX piping is a modern and efficient plumbing material, and it can make a home more appealing to potential buyers.

The cons of repiping with PEX piping

  • Potential damage from rodent infestations – Although pest experts aren’t sure if rodents use PEX to access the water in the container or simply because they have it, PEX and rodents could be dangerous together. If rodent infestations are widespread, local building codes may prohibit the installation of PEX.
  • Can’t be used in high heat areas – PEX cannot be connected directly to a water heater. Also, I cannot run near recessed lighting since the surrounding area can build up heat.

How to choose between going with copper pipes or PEX piping

When deciding whether to have their home repiped using copper pipes or PEX piping, or using both, a you should consider several factors, including:

  • The condition of the existing plumbing – If the existing plumbing is old and damaged, or if it is not made of durable materials, repiping may be necessary to prevent leaks, water damage, and other plumbing issues.
  • The water quality and pressure – Copper pipes are known for their ability to improve the quality and pressure of the water flowing through them. If the water quality or pressure is an issue in the home, copper pipes may be a good option.
  • The cost and installation – PEX piping is typically less expensive and easier to install than copper pipes. If the cost or ease of installation is a concern, PEX piping may be a good choice.
  • The climate – PEX piping is resistant to freezing and bursting, which can be a common problem with galvanized pipes in colder climates. If the home is located in a colder region, PEX piping may be a better option.
Image of rusted water pipe that runs in a slab of concrete.
Image of rusted water pipe that runs in a slab of concrete.

Here’s what you can expect as a homeowner

Since the hot and cold water system is being replaced when doing a full repiping, the drinking water, as well as all other water service is typically turned off. The project will typically last up to a week. The workers will repair & repaint the walls that needed to be cut into. And once done, you’ll enjoy higher water pressure, cleaner water, and enhanced home value.

Get an inspection

To find out if you need a home repiping, schedule an inspection. PVD Plumbing & Repipe will never try to sell you something you don’t need. You may just need to repipe a single section and not have to fully repipe your home. Call or click to get an inspection set up and find out for sure.

Repipe a house – Wrapping it up

As a smart homeowner, the best approach to repiping your home is to consult with a licensed, professional plumber to get advice on the best repiping option for your home. PVD Plumbing & Repipe are well known in the South Bay as being the area’s house repipe specialists. We have replumbed countless houses, and we are standing by, ready to advise you on your particular home replumb project. Simply call or click now to discuss replacing your old plumbing system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Repiping Your Home

The following FAQs answer the questions most commonly asked about replacing an old plumbing system with a new plumbing system.

What does a repipe consist of? What’s involved in repiping a house?

Homeowners want to know what is involved in a home repiping project. The repiping of your home will typically include all the water lines to the house, as well as each fixture and line. This usually includes new supply hoses and under-sink valves.

Why do I need to repipe my home?

There are several reasons why a homeowner might need to repipe their home. It’s a good time to consider repiping when any of the following conditions exist:

  • Old, outdated, or damaged pipes – If the pipes in a home are old and no longer in good condition, they may need to be replaced to prevent leaks, water damage, and other plumbing issues.
  • Poor water quality – If the water quality in a home is poor (water with an orange-yellow tinge, mineral particles in the water, or it just smells wrong), repiping may be necessary to improve the quality and taste of the water.
  • Low water pressure – If the water pressure in a home is low, repiping may be necessary to improve the flow of water and make it easier to use appliances and fixtures that require a higher water pressure.
  • Pipe corrosion – If the pipes in a home are corroded or have developed leaks, repiping may be necessary to prevent further damage and ensure the plumbing system is functioning properly.
  • Mold or mildew – Mold and mildew often form in the area of leaky pipes. Mold and mildew can even form from water slowing dripping out over time.
  • Noticeable Warping – Leaky pipes can end up warping wooden structural members of your home causing them to need to be replaced. All you may notice is that one or more floors or ceilings are warping.
  • Material issues – If the pipes in a home are made of materials that are prone to bursting, freezing, or other problems, repiping may be necessary to improve the overall durability and reliability of the plumbing system.
  • Home renovations – If a homeowner is doing major renovations to their home, they may need to repipe certain areas to accommodate new plumbing fixtures, appliances, or building department-mandated updates.

If you would like to return your home to its previous condition, your home needs repiping to improve the functionality of your home. You’ll be amazed at the difference between the new and old systems.

Do I need a professional inspection to re plumb?

Yes. Call PVD Plumbing & Repipe to take a look at the condition of your plumbing system. We will provide you with an estimate for the work.

Repipe your home? How do I know if my home needs to be repiped?

Should you repipe your home? Or, should you simply do a plumbing repair? Can you just get by with a new pipe?

It’s likely time to repipe your whole house if your home was built in the 1960s or 1970s because it was likely built using galvanized pipes. You may not realize it, but your entire plumbing system is likely quite corroded inside the pipes. It’s when the pipes actually get replaced that homeowners get to see just how corroded the pipes are inside. Most homeowners tell us that they would have replumbed their homes sooner if they knew just how corroded the pipes were.

Image of a rusted water pipe.
Image of a rusted water pipe.

House needs a new system when the pipes like this way (and they probably do)

A full repiping of your home will provide you with a new hot and cold water system that will not have any corrosion or impurities in it, and you will enjoy higher water pressure.

What are the different types of materials that can be used for repiping a home?

There are several types of materials that can be used for a home repipe project, including:

  • Copper – Copper pipes are made of a durable, corrosion-resistant metal that has been used in plumbing for many years. Copper pipes are known for their durability and longevity, and they can withstand high water pressure and temperature fluctuations.
  • PEX – PEX piping is made of a flexible plastic material that is resistant to freezing and bursting. It is also less expensive and easier to install than copper pipes, but it is not as durable and may not last as long.
  • PVC – PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes are made of a durable plastic material that is resistant to corrosion and chemical degradation. They are commonly used for waste and drainage systems, but they can also be used for water supply lines.
  • Galvanized steel – Galvanized steel pipes are made of steel that has been coated with a layer of zinc to protect the steel from corrosion. However, over time, this protective layer can wear away, leaving the steel vulnerable to rust and other forms of corrosion.
  • Polyethylene – Polyethylene pipes are made of a durable plastic material that is resistant to corrosion, cracking, and other forms of damage. They are commonly used for water lines and are known for their flexibility and ease of installation.
  • Cast iron – Cast iron pipes are made of a durable metal that is resistant to corrosion and wear. They are commonly used for waste and drainage systems, and they are known for their long lifespan. However, they can be heavy and difficult to install, and they may not be suitable for all types of plumbing systems.

Is PEX better that copper?

PEX pipe is more durable than copper and cheaper than copper. PEX pipes are resistant to corrosion and mineral buildup and they don’t suffer from electrolysis which can lead to small leaks in copper pipe.

What is the average cost of repiping your home?

Homeowners typically ask, “How much does it cost to repipe a home?” On average, a home repipe will cost $7,000 to $11,000. Of course, the cost of a repipe will vary depending on the size of your home, the type of pipes used, the complexity of the project, and whether it’s a partial or full repipe.

Is it worth repiping a house?

Repiping your home is a major expense, but it can improve the value of your house. Repiping can reduce the risk of a leaky pipe, which can decrease the house’s value. Older pipes can burst, which could lead to water damage which may not be immediately apparent.

Does a repiping a house increase the value of a home?

Typically yes because you have improved one of the major systems of the house. Not only is the plumbing now more durable, the water pressure is improved and the water is typically more pure for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing.

Does repiping include drain pipes?

The drain pipes are a separate system and are not typically included in a standard repipe. The standard replumb, which most plumbers recommend, will affect the hot and cold water systems in your home. Separately, the drains and waste system would be dealt with.

How long does it take to repipe a home?

Homeowners wonder, “How long does a Replumb take?”. Of course, it depends on the scope of the project. But repiping can take anywhere from three days to seven days. Assume it may take up to a week.

Can you replace all the pipes in a house?

To reduce costs, some plumbing companies may only replace visible piping, such as those in the crawlspace, attic, basement, garage, or attic. But, replacing only sections of your plumbing system can end up being a problem. That’s because the pipes that don’t get replaced will still have the corrosion inside them, plus they are still prone to leak because of the corrosion.

It is better to repipe the entire house by replacing the entire hot and cold water plumbing system at once. If the old system is left untouched behind the walls, it can be more susceptible to leaks that can result in expensive water damage. A whole-house repiping is the better option.

Can I repipe my home myself, or do I need to hire a professional?

There are several advantages to having a professional plumber repipe a home rather than trying to do it yourself, including:

  • Expertise – Professional plumbers have the training, knowledge, and experience to properly assess the plumbing system in a home and determine the best repiping solution. They are also familiar with local building codes and regulations, which can help to ensure that the repiping project meets all necessary standards.
  • Efficiency – Professional plumbers have the tools and equipment needed to complete a repiping project efficiently and effectively. They can also work quickly and efficiently to minimize disruptions to the home.
  • Safety – Repiping a home can be a complex and potentially dangerous process, as it involves working with pipes and water. Professional plumbers have the expertise and knowledge to safely complete a repiping project, which can help to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Quality workmanship – Professional plumbers are trained to produce high-quality workmanship, which can help to ensure that the repiping project is done correctly and will last for many years.
  • Warranty – Many professional plumbers offer warranties on their work, which can provide additional peace of mind and protection in case any problems arise after the repiping project is completed.

What are the benefits of repiping my home?

The benefits gained when you repipe your entire home are:

  • Cleaner water to drink, cook, and bath in
  • A noticeable increase in water flow from your shower head and sink faucets
  • Enhanced home value
  • Saving money in the long run because the need for frequent plumbing repairs will be a thing of the past

Can you repipe a slab house?

Yes, it is often possible to reroute pipes in the walls and ceilings of a slab house. With this being done, there would be no further risk of slab leaks because the pipes still in the slab would no longer be used.

How do I choose the right type of piping material for my home?

Homeowners often ask, “What is the best material to repipe a house?” and “Should I repipe with PEX or copper?” Copper has been the most popular piping material in home plumbing for many years. Copper is a strong, durable, flexible, resistant to corrosion, heat-tolerant, and versatile choice for replacing cast iron or steel pipes. However, PEX piping also has its advantages. It is usually quicker to install and less expensive. In recent years, PEX has become the preferred material for replumbing in remodels and repipes. It is now also used frequently in new construction to replace copper pipe or CPVC/PVC pipes.

Does homeowners insurance cover repiping a house?

The answer is typically no. Many homeowners insurance policies consider whole home repiping a preventative measure. You’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for it. However, most policies will cover damage to corroded and failing pipes.

How do I prepare my home for a repiping project?

There are several steps that a homeowner can take to prepare their home in anticipation of the repiping installers arriving, including:

  • Remove any items that could get in the way – Before the repiping project begins, you may need to remove any items that could get in the way, such as furniture, decor, or appliances. This can help to give the plumber plenty of space to work and can also help to protect your belongings from any potential damage.
  • Shut off the water supply – You may need to temporarily shut off your water to the home while the repiping is being done. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and have a backup plan for things like cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
  • Clear a path – Make sure to clear a path to the areas of the home where the repiping work will be done. This can help to make it easier for the plumber to access the pipes and can also help to minimize disruptions to the home.
  • Protect your belongings – If you have any valuable or sentimental items in the areas where the repiping work will be done, it’s a good idea to move them to a safe location to protect them from potential damage.
  • Communicate with the plumber – It’s important to communicate with the plumber and let them know of any concerns or preferences you may have. You should also make sure to follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the plumber.

How Long Do Copper Pipes Last?

Copper pipes typically last 50 – 100 years.

How Long Does PEX last?

PEX piping came on the scene in the 1970s, but hasn’t become popular until the last several years. Some PEX piping is spec’ed at 25 years, while other PEX is warrantied for up to 50 Years. Under ideal conditions, it will likely last 50 – 100 years.

Will repiping my home disrupt my daily routine?

Homeowners often ask, “How invasive is repiping a house?” Having a plumber repipe a home can temporarily disrupt the homeowner’s daily activities in several ways, including:

  • Noise – Repiping a home can be a noisy process, as it involves cutting into walls, floors, and other parts of the home to access the pipes. This can make it difficult to carry on normal activities, such as watching TV, working from home, or taking phone calls.
  • Water supply – The exterior water valve may need to be shut off temporarily while the repiping is being done, which can make it difficult to use the sink, shower, or other appliances that rely on water. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and have a backup plan for things like cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
  • Access to certain areas – The plumber may need to access certain areas of the home to complete the repiping work, which can make it difficult to use those areas for their intended purposes. For example, if the repiping work is being done in the bathroom, it may be necessary to use a different bathroom while the work is being done.
  • Dust and debris – Repiping a home can generate dust and debris, making it difficult to maintain a clean and orderly home. It may be necessary to do some extra cleaning after the repiping is done to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated.
  • Scheduling – The repiping process can take several days to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the project. This can require adjustments to the homeowner’s daily schedule to accommodate the work.

Does Repiping Your Home Require A Work Permit?

Yes, most if not all building departments across the country will require an inspection to ensure the work is performed up to local building standards. Depending on your plumber, you may be the one who’s responsible to schedule an inspection.

How to choose a home repipe plumber?

There are several steps that a homeowner can take to prepare for having their home repiped by a professional plumber, including:

  • Research plumbers – It’s a good idea to research different plumbers and plumbing companies to find one that is licensed, experienced, and reputable. You can ask for recommendations from friends, family, or other homeowners, or you can search online or in local directories to find plumbers in your area.
  • Get estimates – Once you have a list of potential plumbers, it’s a good idea to get estimates from each one to compare prices and services. Be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges that may not be included in the initial estimate.
  • Ask questions – It’s important to ask any questions you may have about the repiping process, including what materials will be used, how long it will take, and what steps will be taken to minimize disruptions to your home.
  • Prepare the home – Before the repiping project begins, you may need to remove any items that could get in the way, such as furniture, decor, or appliances. You may also need to temporarily shut off the water line to the home, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and have a backup plan for things like cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
  • Communicate with the plumber – It’s important to communicate with the plumber and let them know of any concerns or preferences you may have. You should also make sure to follow any instructions or guidelines provided by the plumber to ensure the repiping project goes smoothly.

Your best is choosing a home repiping specialist, such as PVD Plumbing & Repipe. We have the experience to get the job done quickly, with high quality, and at a great price.

Additional resources for home repiping

PVD Plumbing & Repipe specialists are just a call or click away. Get ahold of us today to discuss your project.

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