Occasional plumbing issues are a normal part of homeownership. Sometimes a small repair is all that is needed to safely resolve a clog or leak. However, when plumbing issues become more frequent and expensive, it may be time to consider having your home repiped.
What Exactly Is Repiping and Why Would You Need It?
Repiping is the process of having all of the cold and hot water pipes in a home removed and replaced. Sometimes replacing one old pipe is enough to solve an immediate issue but in some cases, an entire repipe is necessary.
It can be difficult to decide when the cost and inconvenience of frequent plumbing problems warrants having your home repiped. Only a trained plumbing professional can help you make that decision. The age and type of pipes in a home are two important factors that influence this decision.
If your home was built before the 1986 Safe Water Act, which banned lead pipes, and your home has not been repiped, you may have lead particles entering your drinking water. Lead in drinking water causes serious health problems.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead which can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. Adults and pregnant women are also vulnerable to long-term health problems caused by lead exposure. Any lead pipes in your home should be replaced to ensure your family’s health and safety.
Homes built between the 1940s-1970s often have galvanized steel piping. Corrosion in old galvanized steel pipes is a common problem. Corrosion weakens pipes and creates pressure which can lead to leaks and burst pipes. Replacing old galvanized steel piping before major problems occur can prevent damage and expensive emergency repairs.
Properly installed plumbing lasts a long time but no type of pipe lasts forever. If you live in an older home or are having frequent plumbing problems, having a certified plumbing professional assess your home’s plumbing system is recommended.
In addition to the above issues, here are six more signs that may indicate your home needs to be repiped.
1. Water Leaks
You will likely notice a leak in the exposed pipes in your basement or utility room pretty quickly. Condensation on hot water pipes in basements is normal, leaks are not.
There may be other leaks you don’t immediately notice within walls, ceilings, or slab foundations. By the time you notice these leaks, damage has already occurred and the problem must be addressed immediately. Frequent leaks in a home are an indication that pipes are worn and some or all of them need to be replaced.
2. Frequent Clogs
Frequent clogs may be a sign that your plumbing system is deteriorating to the point that repiping is the best solution. If your home’s pipes are over 50 years old, you’re likely dealing with frequent clogs.
Even if you are careful about what goes down your drains, old pipes are more likely to clog from normal usage. Aging pipes are often so weak they have trouble handling thicker two-ply toilet paper. If you have frequent clogs despite being careful about what goes down your pipes, it's time to consider repiping.
3. Water Discoloration
If you have brown, red or yellow water coming out of your kitchen or bathroom faucets, that’s a sign that rust or sediment has built up in your pipes and repiping may be necessary. Don’t assume that discolored water is normal or harmless. Have a qualified plumber find and repair the source of water discoloration.
4. Visible Corrosion
If the exposed pipes in your home develop any signs of flaking, stains, or discoloration, it’s an indication of corrosion. Corroding pipes are more likely to develop leaks and should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid costly water damage and emergency repairs.
5. Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure can be caused by several things but the most common reasons are sediment buildup and corrosion. Sediment and corrosion block water from passing freeing through pipes and put pressure on pipes. In extreme cases, this can result in leaks and even burst pipes.
Low pressure may be the result of a faulty connection that is easily repaired but it is often an indication of a larger plumbing problem. It's important to figure out what is causing low water pressure and resolve the problem rather than just living with it and waiting for it to get worse.
6. Noisy Pipes
In general, plumbing should not be noisy. The only sound you should hear is water flowing smoothly through your pipes. If you hear knocking, rattling, gurgling or other unusual noises coming from your pipes, it's time to call a plumber. An experienced plumber should be able to identify what’s causing noisy pipes and resolve the issue before bigger problems develop.
When Should You Repipe?
If you are already planning a home remodeling project that involves kitchens or bathrooms, it's a good idea to have your plumbing system evaluated before any work begins. A good contractor will automatically do this type of evaluation before beginning a kitchen or bath remodel.
Replacing or repiping during a remodeling project is the easiest time to complete this work and ensure that new appliances and fixtures aren’t damaged by rust in the water or after a major leak develops. Frequently, repiping happens as the result of a sudden leak or even worse, a burst pipe.
If your home’s plumbing isn’t working properly, it's important to have a professional diagnose and repair the problem before bigger and more costly repairs are needed.
Benefits of Repiping
Improved water pressure and flow are the first thing most people notice after a repiping project. In addition, monthly water bills usually decrease because leaks are eliminated. Avoiding damage from leaky or burst pipes saves both time and money. With proper maintenance, homeowners can expect few repairs due to clogs or leaks for many years after having their home repiped.
How Much Does Repiping Cost?
Repiping an entire house is often a major project and costs can vary widely depending on a number of factors. The size of the home, number of bathrooms and type of materials used all factor into costs.
A raised foundation with either a basement or crawl space underneath gives greater access to pipes. A slab foundation requires opening more holes in order to run new piping. This means more patching and labor which increases the overall cost.
Homeowners may be tempted to minimize costs by only replacing one leaking or corroded pipe at a time. It's important to remember that if one section of pipe is failing, the rest of the pipes in a home are likely the same age and in about the same condition. Doing a whole house repipe is often more economical than slowly dealing with leaks and repairs in corroded and deteriorating pipes over time.
Hire the Local Plumbing Experts
If you are seeking pipe repair or replacement in Los Gatos, call Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter at (408) 716-1686 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Repairing or replacing pipes starts with locating and assessing the problem. Our highly trained technicians have the tools, technology and experience to properly diagnose piping issues throughout your home.