Repiping a house can be a lot of work especially if you are dealing with an old house. There are different areas to work on, from the kitchen to the bathroom as well as the drain pipes outside the house. Moreover, there are also different type of pipes to choose from depending on the existing ones and your preference.
If your house has been built before 1981, you might be working with galvanized pipes since they are commonly used during those times. It is a supply system that carries hot and cold water to all your fixtures, your faucets, toilets and tubs. From the outside, a lot of times a galvanized pipe can look good since it basically, it deteriorates from the inside. Also, depending on the type of water from your location, the rust eat ups the inside and it will eat holes through the outside of the pipes. Eventually, it can lead to holes which can result to flooding the house if ignored. They start small and then they grow.
After some time, there will be rust buildup and sediments in the interior of the pipe which can result to low water pressure, leaks and eventually, clogs. Albeit it is possible to replace only a portion of the pipe, this can be just a short-term solution and you will find yourself dealing with the same issue in the near future. The best way to solve the problem is to repipe your house and perhaps change the system using PEX piping. This is because it is easy to install and is durable.
Steps to Repipe a House
PEX pipes are not only flexible but they also do not corrode inside and can reach areas where solid pipes cannot go in. This might seem to be a lot of chore and it sure is but the good thing about this is that there is no need to tear down walls. First, start off by checking the whole house and study all the possible places that need to have new PEX piping installation without having to create much of a mess.
Turn off the water supply to the house. You have to shut off the main water valve, the line that supplies water to the whole house.
Run all your faucets to drain all the water left inside the pipes. This might take a few minutes but you have to ensure you get all the water out.
Gather all the materials you will need, including rubber gloves and plastic sheet that you will have to cover the area you are working on with. Also included is the PEX piping, the length of which will depend on the extent of work at hand. You will need pipe wrenches, PVC tubing cutter, PEX adapters, Teflon tape, saw that can cut metal and tray or bucket to catch water.
Remove the old galvanized pipes and prep the area. You might want to look for the perfect area where you can remove the section of the pipe you are replacing, easily. Take to heart that before you can remove the pipe and cut it somewhere in the middle to make it easier for you to unscrew it later.
Prepare the PEX tubing by prepping the adapter by covering it with Teflon tape. Remember to wrap it in the direction that you screw it in. Next, screw the adapter in the joint where you removed the old pipe from.
Get the PVC cutter and cut the PEX pipe to ensure you will have a clean and tidy edge. Using a marker, mark the fresh PEX pipe at a length fitted enough. This will serve as a guide when you push the PEX into the adapter. Since the pipe is flexible, see to it that you straighten the PEX before inserting it into the adapter. As you do this, place it under the floor boards, if possible, where the old pipe used to be.
Push the PEX into the adapter until it snugly fits with no clamping or screwing. Do the same on the other end of the adapter.
Options When Replacing Pipes
There are actually four ways to repipe your home if you are going to replace galvanized pipes.
1. Using New Copper Pipe
This can be an expensive route to take but if you have plans of putting your property in the market, this can add to the resale value. Moreover, it is durable and can last for a long time.
2. Using Plastic Pipe
This is probably the easiest route to take and can be a lot cheaper as well. These pipes can also expand as the temperature changes, reducing the chances of bursting pipes during the cold months. The downside, however, is the possibility of harmful chemicals getting inside the pipe.
3. Using Copper Pipe on Some Pipes
You might want to just replace some portions of the old galvanized pipes with copper pipes but this is just a band aid solution and you might end up having to work on your pipes again.
4. Using Galvanized Pipe
This can be cheaper if you only need to replace a portion of the pipe using galvanized material but ensure to replace the pipe that supplies hot water since when it heats up, residue is most likely to buildup faster.
Replace the old galvanized pipe with new galvanized pipe.
Replacing a portion of your galvanized pipe could easily solve the problem for only a few hundred dollars. Because galvanized hot water pipes build up residue faster than cold water pipes, you might have to replace only the pipe leading from the hot water heater. On the other hand, if your pipes are truly ancient, you run the risk of damage during the replacement process, which can lead to a higher price tag.
Replace a portion of the old pipe with copper.
Plumbers quickly tell you that copper is easier to work with, and because the work goes faster, the job is less expensive. However, replacing only part of the galvanized pipe with copper pipe can cause more problems when the zinc, iron, and copper react with the minerals in the water. The resulting corrosion can quickly wear out your pipes, leading to another round of replacements.