Repiping

Sometimes it's necessary to rip everything out and start new again. If you have multiple leaks in a year, weird smells, strange dripping noises, and nasty water, then it might be time to repipe.

    Repiping is exactly what the name says; replacing the old pipes in your house with new pipes. It's an expensive long process, especially if you do an entire house. The good news is, however, that with modern technology repiping will cost you a fraction of what it would have taken years ago.

    Age, quality of water, materials, and a whole slew of other problems can cause your pipes to corrode and fail.

    Does your hot water lack pressure compared to your cold? You could have galvanized pipes, which have become corrupted through use. If you do in fact have galvanized piping, and one starts to go; it's only a matter of time before the rest will deteriorate.  No galvanized pipes, it might just be time to replace that water heater; a much cheaper and easier project than repiping.

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    Constant water leaks and you've got copper pipes? This could indicate a failure in fittings, failure of the pipe itself, or most likely both. Copper has a shelf life when you run mineral-laden water through it. This is called galvanic corrosion, and it's very common. The average life of copper plumbing with cast iron sewer is about 50 years give or take.

Note: Electrolysis requires a DC current, and unless a stray power line without a breaker is touching your copper, it's almost impossible to have pipes ruined by this method. 

    What about PVC? Well, PVC can't be used for water supply in any house anymore.  Hot water through PVC causes not only causes it to fail but also leaches some of that polyvinyl chloride into your coffee or kool-aid.
Don't confuse CPVC or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride with regular PVC. They are completely different. If you have PVC running water supply, then you need to replace it quickly.

    So what does repiping entail? Repiping often involves breaking up concrete, breaking walls, and generally making a mess. Repiping replaces water lines and drain lines. Sometimes it even involves replacing the sewer line, especially if the trees have decided to start dipping into them. Repiping is expensive, not because of the materials, but because of the permits, labor, and time.
    
    Is there any good news? Yes! As mentioned previously, modern technology allows for a plumber to replace existing pipe with a combination of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), and PVC. PEX is cheaper, easier to install, more durable, and has zero apparent taste compared to copper. PEX is so prevalent today that few plumbers even carry copper. PEX also expands when it freezes, preventing damage in most cases.


This video by Matt Risinger also shows why you would choose PEX over copper. 

    So if your house resembles a colander more than a home, maybe it's time to call a plumber and get those pipes redone.