Does Your Home Need Re-piping?

While some home improvements like a new kitchen, bath, or addition can make your home more beautiful and enjoyable to live in, others that may be less noticeable can have a significant impact on the value, safety, and comfort of your biggest investment.

Replacing some or all of the pipes in your house is one of those hidden, but very important, home improvements.

How to tell if you need to replace your pipes

Plumbing is one that you don’t think about day-to-day, until something goes wrong. Fixing an occasional leaky faucet or burst pipe typically qualifies as one-off spot repairs. However, bigger problems require a more global remedy. The good news is it’s easy to tell when your plumbing issues go beyond minor fixes and may require you to completely replace all the pipes in your home. Here are a few situations and red flags that may require a total overhaul:

Lead pipes

Older homes typically have lots of charm, interesting architectural features, and a fascinating history. Unfortunately, they also usually have lead pipes.

A house doesn’t even have be that old to have them. If your home was built before the 1950s, there’s a good chance it has lead pipes. Even homes built as late as the 1980s often have lead soldering that joins copper pipes.

There are a variety of health risks associated with drinking lead-contaminated water over a long period of time that are serious enough to consider removing lead pipes. The Mayo Clinic offers a complete list of symptoms and health consequences from lead poisoning that include:

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in Children

• Developmental delay
• Learning difficulties
• Abdominal pain
• Vomiting
• Constipation

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in Adults

• High blood pressure
• Joint and muscle pain
• Difficulties with memory or concentration
• Headache
• Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

Galvanized steel pipes

Homes built before World War II were often plumbed with galvanized pipes. The problem with this kind of plumbing is that over time, the pipes become corroded. The slow buildup of corrosion can narrow the water flow in your pipes and the sediment can end up in your drinking water. Rusty red or yellow water coming out of your faucet is a warning sign that your pipes are corroded and need to be replaced.

Orangeburg Pipes

Manufactured by Orangeburg Manufacturing Company, Orangeburg pipes are a brand of bituminous fiber sewer pipe material. They were commonly used in new construction between the 1940s and 1970s, particularly in homes built following the population growth after World War II. Orangeburg pipes deform and lose their structural stability over time, leading to problems like slow drains, sewer odors in the home, and tree roots digging into the pipes.

Since Orangeburg pipes are no longer manufactured, and do not meet modern building standards, the only long-term solution is re-piping the entire home.

Low water pressure

Even if your water isn’t discolored, your pipes may still be narrowed by corrosion, which can cause a noticeable drop in water pressure. Re-piping your home can boost water pressure which helps washing machines and dishwashers run better, and makes showers a lot more enjoyable.

Bad-smelling or tasting water

Unless the problem of bad-smelling or bad-tasting water is a fact of life in your part of town, it could be an indication that your home needs to have new pipes installed. In addition to being more pleasant, fresh smelling and better tasting, the water is likely a lot healthier for you and your family.

Frequent plumbing repairs

If you’re having enough repair issues to put your plumber on speed dial, you might want to seriously consider re-piping your home. The cost of having someone come out to address new or recurring issues again and again may end up being more than having your pipes replaced.

Home remodeling

Redoing a kitchen or bath or building an addition that includes plumbing is a great time to consider re-piping your entire home. Replacing plumbing at the same time you’re having new pipes installed can be more cost effective than doing it at a later date.

How long does it take to re-pipe a house?

It all depends on how big your home is and how many plumbers you have on the job. If you’re just having a small area re-piped, it might take a few hours to a day. Re-piping an entire large home could take up to a week or even more if only one plumber is working on the project. If you’re planning a big job you might want to schedule it when the weather is warm to avoid worrying about having the pipes freeze during the project.

Since the plumber can install the new system alongside the old one, you won’t be totally inconvenienced by not being able to use your plumbing for the entire time. The only time you’ll be without water is when they switch the old system to the new one.

What kind of replacement pipes are available?

Depending on how much you want to spend and how long you need them to last, you have a number of options to choose from when it comes to replacement pipe materials.

Copper pipes

Considered the gold standard for home plumbing systems, copper pipes are the most expensive option, ranging between $1 to $3 per-linear-foot. On the plus side, they can last 75 to 100 years, making them a good investment.

CPVC pipes

Short for chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, CPVC pipes are cheaper than copper pipes, running about 40¢ per-linear-foot. They can last up to 50 years.

PEX pipes

Short for cross-linked polyethylene, PEX pipes are the newest innovation in home plumbing. It is also the cheapest option, running about 30¢ per-linear-foot.

Contact Chas to solve your plumbing problems

Whether you want to re-pipe a toilet, shower or bathtub or need to re-pipe your entire house, call Chas Roberts. We have been keeping Arizona families safe, happy, and secure in their homes by providing quality service for more than 75 years. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs.