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When To Re-Pipe Your Home


Your homes plumbing can be one of the most problematic and costly of home repairs. Fixing leaks now and again is one issue, but when leaks occur on a regular basis, this is when you should consider re-piping your home.


What factors should you consider before scheduling a major repair such as re-piping?


1.  The age of your home, if your home is over 50 years old, then it may be time to consider re-piping. Especially if you have older galvanized or lead pipes. These types of pipes deteriorate faster than copper pipe. Winter freeze and thaw also effects plumbing life as does the pH of your water supply. If your neighbors have had a lot of plumbing issues, then consider this a warming sign that trouble in your plumbing system may not be far off.


2.  Do you have rusty water or low water pressure? These can result from deteriorating pipes and scale buildup. Rusty water is a sure sign of pipe deterioration and a cause for concern, low water pressure is a result of the buildup of scale in the pipes restricting flow and makes taking a bath or shower a real chore.



3.  Do you hear hissing or banging in your pipes? Hissing is often caused by a leak in the piping, or a slow steady stream of water such as a hose running outside. Metallic pipe such as copper and steel also transmit more noise than plastic pipes. Banging when a water valve is closed suddenly is known a water hammering, the backlash of water pressure when the flow is suddenly shut off. Hammering is hard on piping and can cause damage and leaks if not corrected.


What type of pipe should you choose?


1.  Copper has been the pipe of choice for 60-70 years and the vast majority of homes built since 1945 have copper plumbing. Copper is also the best choice for re-piping, however the cost can be prohibitive, due to the cost of the materials and the amount of labor required.

  Soldiering Copper Pipe


2.  PEX tubing is the newest pipe material used by plumbers for re-piping, it is flexible and very durable. Since PEX is flexible fewer fittings are need and the installation is much easier than copper pipe. PEX won’t develop mineral buildup like copper and makes virtually zero noise. Water hammering is also not an issues because it’s flexible. PEX is available in three grades A, B and C. PEX-A is the strongest and is the type recommended for re-piping. If your plumber is installing PEX insist upon PEX-A tubing.

   PEX Tubing and Fittings



3.  The third most common material for re-piping is CPVC piping. CPVC is conventional PVC pipe that has been chlorinated. The chlorine is added to resist algae buildup in the piping. Some plumbers like to use CPVC because the material is less expensive and no heating of the pipe joints is required, making for a safer and easier installation. However, CPVC is plastic pipe and the heat from hot water and your homes’ heating system will cause it to grow brittle and eventually crack and leak. Many professional plumbers avoid using CPVC for re-piping and I do not recommend it.

   CPVC Pipe


What’s Your Next Step?


If you are having plumbing problems and have had several major leaks in the past few months, have at least three professional plumbers evaluate your system and give you an estimate on re-piping. Ask about the materials they plan to use and their experience with re-piping.

Ask for references and make sure the plumber you choose is licensed and bonded, ask about his workman’s comp insurance and request proof of his license and insurance policies. Check him out with your states contractor license board and your local Better Business Bureau, before signing any contracts. Doing your due diligence now can save you many headaches latter.


When considering re-piping contact the Home Depot’s Home Services Division, our licensed and bonded plumbers will give you a complete rundown on your plumbing systems condition and an estimate on the repairs. And all of the work is guaranteed by The Home Depot.



Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

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Posted 2016-12-29T19:07:55+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC