As a homeowner, you might have encountered issues with your plumbing system such as leaks, low water pressure, or discolored water. These problems can be indicative of a more significant issue with your pipes and may require repiping. Repiping your house is a major undertaking and can be a significant investment, but it’s crucial to ensure that your plumbing system is functioning efficiently and effectively. In this guide, we will take you through the entire process of how to repipe your house, from understanding the need for repiping to selecting the right plumbing contractor.
Understanding the Need for Repiping
Repiping is the process of replacing all the pipes in a house or a section of the house. Homes that are 50 years or older are more likely to require repiping. Understanding the signs that your pipes need to be repiped is critical in determining when to initiate the repiping process.
Signs That Your Pipes Need to be Repiped
There are several signs that your pipes may need to be repiped, including:
Frequent leaks and water damage: If you’re constantly dealing with leaks and water damage, this could be a sign of worn-out pipes that need to be replaced.
Discolored water: If your water is discolored, it could be due to rust, corrosion, or debris buildup in your pipes.
Low water pressure: Low water pressure can be a sign of corroded or clogged pipes.
Strange sounds: Gurgling or knocking sounds coming from your pipes could indicate a problem with the plumbing system.
Common Causes of Pipe Damage
Several factors can lead to pipe damage, including:
Age: Pipes deteriorate over time and become more prone to leaks and other issues.
Corrosion: Chemical reactions and minerals in the water can cause corrosion, leading to leaks and reduced water pressure.
Tree roots: Tree roots can grow into pipes, causing cracks and blockages.
Poor installation: Pipes that were not installed correctly can lead to issues such as leaks and reduced water pressure.
Benefits of Repiping Your House
Repiping your house can have several benefits, including:
Improved water pressure: Repiping can improve water pressure, providing a more consistent flow of water.
Better water quality: Repiping can remove any buildup of debris, rust, and corrosion in your pipes, leading to better water quality.
Reduced risk of leaks: Repiping eliminates the risk of leaks and water damage, reducing the need for costly repairs.
Increased home value: Repiping can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Planning for Repiping
Before repiping your house, there are several factors you need to consider. These include the type of pipes to use, the cost of repiping, selecting the right plumbing contractor, and obtaining the necessary permits.
Re-piping Options & Costs
There are two main types of pipes used in repiping: PEX piping and copper piping.
PEX piping is a flexible, plastic pipe that is becoming increasingly popular in repiping projects. It is less expensive than copper piping, easy to install, and durable. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, making it suitable for use in colder climates.
PEX Piping Pros & Cons
- Easy to install
- Less expensive than copper piping
- Resistant to corrosion
- Flexible, allowing for easy installation around corners and tight spaces
- Suitable for use in colder climates
- Cannot be used outside
- Not suitable for high-pressure systems
- May not be suitable for homes with high levels of chlorine in their water supply
- May have a shorter lifespan than copper piping
- Some homeowners may prefer the look of copper piping over PEX piping
Copper piping has been a popular choice for plumbing systems for many years. It is durable, long-lasting, and can withstand high pressure. Copper piping is also resistant to corrosion and can be used for both hot and cold water.
Copper Piping Pros & Cons
- Durable and long-lasting
- Resistant to corrosion
- Suitable for high-pressure systems
- Can be used for hot and cold water
- Provides a classic look that some homeowners prefer
- More expensive than PEX piping
- More difficult to install than PEX piping
- Susceptible to freezing in colder climates
- May require additional insulation to prevent condensation buildup
When deciding on which type of piping to use for your repiping project, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each option and determine which one best fits your needs and budget.
Selecting the Right Plumbing Contractor
Selecting the right plumbing contractor is crucial for the success of your repiping project. When choosing a plumbing contractor, consider the following:
Experience: Look for a contractor with experience in repiping projects.
Licensing and insurance: Make sure the contractor is licensed and insured to perform the work.
References: Ask for references from past clients and follow up with them to ensure they had a positive experience.
Written estimate: Get a written estimate that includes the cost of materials, labor, and any additional fees.
Warranty: Make sure the contractor offers a warranty on their work and the materials used.
Obtaining the Required Permits for Repiping
Before starting your repiping project, you may need to obtain permits from your local building department. The permits ensure that the work is done to code and meets safety requirements. Your plumbing contractor can assist you in obtaining the necessary permits.
Preparing for Repiping
Before you begin repiping your house, there are some essential steps you need to take to ensure the project goes smoothly. These include turning off the water supply, removing old pipes and plumbing fixtures, and preparing the work area.
Turning off the Water Supply
The first step in repiping your house is to turn off the water supply. This is a crucial step that will prevent any water from flowing through the pipes while you work. To turn off the water supply, locate the main shutoff valve in your home, usually located near the water meter, and turn it clockwise until it stops.
Removing Old Pipes and Fixtures
Once the water supply is turned off, you can begin removing the old pipes and fixtures. This step can be time-consuming, so be prepared to spend some time on it. You may need a variety of tools, including a pipe cutter, wrenches, and pliers, to remove the old pipes and fixtures.
Preparing the Work Area
Before you start installing new plumbing fixtures or pipes, it’s important to prepare the work area. This includes cleaning up any debris, removing any obstacles, and making sure there is enough space to work comfortably. You should also protect any nearby surfaces, such as floors or walls, to prevent damage during the project.
Repiping Your House
Once you have prepared the work area, it’s time to begin the full repiping of your house. This involves installing new pipes, connecting them to the main water line, and testing the new system.
Installing New Pipes
When installing new pipes in old system, it’s important to use high-quality materials that are designed to last. Copper pipes are a popular choice, as they are durable and resistant to corrosion. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes are also a popular option, as they are flexible and easy to install.
Connecting Pipes to the Main Water Line
Once you have installed the new pipes, you will need to connect them to the main water line. This involves cutting into the existing water line and installing a new valve to control the flow of water to your home. This step should only be done by a professional plumber.
Testing the New System
After you have installed the new pipes and connected them to the main water service line, it’s important to test the new system. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks or other issues. It’s also a good idea to run the water for a few minutes to flush out any debris that may have accumulated in the pipes.
Common DIY Repiping Mistakes
While repiping your house can be a DIY project, there are some common mistakes that homeowners make. These include putting thread tape on backward, failing to have the necessary tools on hand, using the wrong fittings, and getting ahead of yourself.
Putting Thread Tape on Backward
When installing new pipes, it’s important to use thread tape to create a tight seal. However, many homeowners make the mistake of putting the thread tape on backward, which can cause leaks.
Failing to Have the Necessary Tools on Hand
Repiping your house requires a variety of tools, including a pipe cutter, wrenches, and pliers. If you don’t have these tools on hand, you may not be able to complete the project.
Using the Wrong Fittings
It’s important to use the right fittings when installing new pipes. Using the wrong fittings can lead to leaks or other issues.
Getting Ahead of Yourself
Repiping your house can be a time-consuming project, and it’s important to take your time and follow each step carefully. Rushing through the project can lead to mistakes or even accidents, so it’s important to stay focused and take breaks when needed.
Once your repiping project is complete, it’s important to perform some post-repiping maintenance to ensure your new system is working properly. This includes flushing the pipes, inspecting the system regularly, and knowing when to call a professional.
Flushing the Pipes
After installing new pipes, it’s important to flush the pipes to remove any debris that may have accumulated during the installation process. This can be done by running the water for a few minutes at each fixture in your home.
Inspecting the System Regularly
It’s important to inspect the new system regularly to ensure everything is working properly. This includes checking for leaks, water pressure issues, and other potential problems. By catching issues early, you can avoid costly repairs down the road.
Knowing When to Call a Professional
While repiping your house can be a DIY project, there are some situations where it’s best to call a professional plumber. If you encounter any issues during the installation process, or if you are unsure about any part of the project, it’s best to call in a professional. They can help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure your new system is working properly.
What is the Average Cost to Repipe a House?
The cost of repiping a house can vary significantly depending on several factors, such as the size of the house, the type of pipes used, and the complexity of the project. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $4,000 to $15,000 for a complete house repiping, with some larger homes or more complicated projects costing upwards of $20,000.
It’s essential to note that repiping is a significant investment, but it can save you money in the long run by avoiding potential water damage or high water bills from leaking or inefficient pipes. Additionally, newer pipes are more energy-efficient and can save you money on your utility bills.
Read Our Detailed Guide: how much to repipe a house
How Long Does it Take to Repipe a House?
The time required to repipe a house can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the home, the number of floors, and the complexity of the plumbing system. On average, a complete house repiping project can take between 3 to 10 days, with larger homes or more complicated projects taking longer.
During the repiping process, you may need to temporarily relocate while the old plumbing system itself is shut off, and the old pipes are removed and replaced with new ones. It’s important to plan accordingly and work with a professional plumber to ensure the project is completed as efficiently as possible.
Can I Repipe My House Myself?
Repiping a house is a complex project that requires specialized knowledge and experience to ensure that it is done correctly and safely. While some homeowners may be tempted to tackle the project themselves to save money, it’s essential to understand the risks involved.
Working with a professional plumber ensures that the project is completed safely and efficiently and that all necessary permits and inspections for initial work are obtained. Additionally, if there are any issues or complications during the project, a professional plumber will have the expertise and experience to address them quickly and effectively.
How Often Should a House be Repiped?
The lifespan of a home’s plumbing system can vary depending on several factors, such as the quality of the pipes and the water supply. However, in general, a home’s plumbing system should last between 20 to 50 years.
If your home is over 50 years old or you are experiencing frequent plumbing issues such as leaks, discolored water, or low water pressure, it may be time to consider repiping. Additionally, if your home has outdated or damaged pipes such as galvanized steel or lead pipes, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible to avoid potential health hazards and water damage.
House repiping is a significant investment, but it’s essential to ensure that your home’s plumbing system is working correctly and to avoid potential hazards. Working with a professional plumber ensures that the project is completed safely and efficiently and can save you money in the long run by avoiding potential water damage or high utility bills. If you’re considering repiping your home, be sure to work with a trusted and experienced plumber to ensure that the project is completed correctly.