Skip years of drain clog liquids and spotty repairs; invest once in a whole house repipe.
Of all the many plumbing problems we help our customers with every day at Ben Franklin Plumbing, one of the most common is finding and fixing leaks in pipework. For some customers, aged and faulty pipework becomes a constant game of cat and mouse, with leaks being discovered, fixed, then new ones appearing elsewhere. Attacking this problem repair by repair becomes costly and wildly frustrating for the homeowner and disheartening for us to witness as professionals. In some cases, we recommend that constantly failing pipework be replaced. We know that a whole house repipe sounds expensive, but the long-term investment is far less costly than years of failing pipes that leak, clog, or burst completely time after time after time.
A home’s pipework may fail for a number of reasons, with age being a primary factor.
First, let’s take a look at the common materials used for pipes in American homes:
For supply lines:
- Chromed copper
- Galvanized iron
- Copper piping
- CPVC (Chlorinated Poly-Vinyl Chloride)
- PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)
For drain or waste lines:
- Cast iron
- PVC pipes
- Chromed brass
Here are the typical lifespans for different kinds of pipe:
- Brass pipes 80-100 years
- Galvanized steel 80-100 years
- Cast iron 80-100 years
- Copper 70-80 years
- Brass 40-70 years
- PVC 25-40 years
As you can see, there’s quite a difference in lifespan based on material. If your home is over 50 years old, and you’ve suffered from chronic plumbing issues, it is time to consider repiping your whole home. If you are purchasing a historic home, you will definitely want to find out what kind of pipes are in the home and determine if replacing those first, before other large renovations get underway, is warranted. One material that needs replacing immediately upon discovery is lead pipes. Even if there are no known problems with the pipework, the lead material itself is known to be unsafe and a full repipe is needed.
Along with age and leaks being a primary indicator of more serious plumbing problems, here are other warning signs:
1. Noise: Clanging, creaking, and banging pipes are literally calling out to you for attention. This usually indicates a water pressure issue.
2. Visible corrosion: Sometimes your own eyes can spot the problem right away. If you see rust, small indentations, or flaking metal, then corrosion is setting in.
3. Low water pressure: This can be caused by a number of factors; however, the most common reason is a buildup of sediment or other blockage in the pipe. This means water cannot pass through easily and causes pressure buildup in the effected sections of pipe.
4. Discoloration: Like visible corrosion, this will catch your attention right away. Turning on a faucet and having yellow, red or brown tinted water come out is a crystal clear indicator that something is amiss in your plumbing. This means rust or other sediment has built up in your pipes. It may be most noticeable after an extended period of time when your water pipes haven’t been used, such as during a vacation or business trip away from home. Pay attention to the temperature of the water when this happens, too. If you notice it only occurs when you are using hot water, this could mean you have corrosion in your hot water heater, not your pipes. (Granted, this is still an issue to be investigated, but your Ben Franklin Plumbing professionals can help you with affordable, high-quality options to fix or replace that water heater, as well.)
5 Bad taste or smell: As with visual color changes, trust your senses and if water smells funny, call your plumbing professional today.
6. Temperature fluctuations: Here, too, the problem could lie with your hot water heater instead of your pipes, but either way, this is a key indicator that something is wrong and your plumbing expert should have a look.
If you’ve had any of these warning signs and they’ve led you to the point where partial or whole home repipe is necessary, we can confidently guess that your next questions will be “how much is this going to cost?”, “how long does it take?”, and “will I at least get that investment back at resale?” .
Cost: Let’s rip the Band-Aid off with the cost question first: As with most home repairs, where you live impacts that price you will pay for a repipe. The national average falls between $600 and $2,000 per individual plumbing item such as a sink, toilet, bathtub, shower, etc. An entire home repipe can run up to between $15,000 and $20,000, on average.
Time: Depending on the complexity of your home’s design, it can take between 5 and 7 days to complete a whole house repipe. Other factors that impact the refit schedule are the type of material being used, the number of levels, and the discovery of other infrastructure problems as the job progresses.
Resale value: This is more about perspective in that the repipe doesn’t necessarily add value; however, it helps it maintain maximum market value. Meaning, if a home has pipe issues and a repipe is deemed necessary, this puts a big red flag on the home to prospective homeowners. You will lose more in lost resale leverage than the cost of the repipe itself. For example, if a repipe job on your house is estimated at $10,000, you may lose up to $15,000 or more in asking price due to buyer apprehension.
First things first, however, let’s get your plumbing issues addressed with a step-by-step skilled, professional inspection and repair recommendation that can resolve problems long before a whole house repipe would be necessary before its time.
Let the insured, bonded, and certified professionals at Ben Franklin Plumbing address your plumbing concerns correctly, safely, and affordably the first time. We’ve been proudly serving customers in Charlotte and the surrounding area for decades, including Indian Trail, Concord, and Mooresville.
If you put “Best Plumbers Near Me” in your search engine, we’re at the top of that list, now let us be at the top of yours! Be it an emergency or routine plumbing service, we’ll respond quickly, quote fairly, and talk to you honestly. Our monthly service and product specials can also save you money!