Repiping your home is a big job, but it may be necessary when your pipes become old and leaky. The ideal time to do it is when you're renovating because the plumber has to remove drywall to get to the pipes. If your pipes are leaky, you may not have the luxury of waiting for a convenient time to do the job.
Fortunately, the work can be done while you remain in your home and go about life as usual, although you'll need to use bottled water during this time. Here’s an overview of the process of repiping your plumbing, so you’ll know what to expect.
Involve Your Local Codes Office
You or your plumber will pull permits from the city before beginning work. Putting in new plumbing lines is work regulated by local codes that concern the proper placement of the lines. An inspector from the city will perform a final inspection on your new plumbing system to make sure it complies with regulations.
Your plumbing contractor will coordinate the inspection with the completion of work. That way you can avoid as much downtime as possible since you'll be anxious to have your water restored.
Prepare Your Home for Demolition Work
The plumbing in your home runs between the walls, under the floors, or above the ceiling. Your contractor has to remove part of the walls or ceilings to access the pipes. You shouldn't have to worry too much about your home turning into a messy construction site since contractors take care to protect your floors and furniture from damage.
However, talk to your contractor before work begins about what you can do to get your home ready, so it is safe from a work crew moving around and water that may dribble onto the floor.
This might involve temporarily moving fragile lamps and other items to a safe place. The work crew will most likely use protective equipment such as runners and cloths to protect your home while they work.
Find an Alternate Water Source
You can usually live in your home during the repiping procedure, but if you do, you'll have to find an alternate way to obtain water and use the toilet. If you have a pool or hot tub, you might pull water from there for flushing the toilet since all you have to do is pour a bucket of water in the tank for the toilet to work.
Of course, you'll want to avoid using the toilet if you're having drains replaced along with the inlet pipes. If you have a camping toilet, you may prefer to use it. You can even consider renting a portable toilet for a few days, so your family won't be too inconvenienced.
Stocking up on bottled water before work begins is also a good idea, so you'll have plenty of water for drinking and washing. You can also buy an emergency storage bladder for your bathtub that holds a tub-full of water in a sanitary plastic container for sponge bathing and household use.
Choose Your New Pipes
Copper is an ideal material for water pipes and a common choice for new pipe installation. It’s a long-lasting and durable option. However, it is also quite expensive. An alternative is plastic piping, which is cheaper but has disadvantages of its own.
Lead and galvanized steel pipes were popular at one time, but it was discovered that lead leaches into the water supply and galvanized steel pipes rust over time. Discuss pipe material options with your plumber to decide which one is best for you in terms of longevity, safety, maintenance requirements, and cost.
With a permit and supplies on hand, the plumber is ready to pull out the old pipes and put in new ones. This is completed one section at a time and takes a few days depending on the size of your home. When the pipes are in place, your plumbing system is tested, inspected, and ready for daily use.
If you're having plumbing problems now, you can't put off replacing damaged pipes. However, it might be possible for your plumber to replace only the broken one in an emergency situation. If you're not experiencing problems yet, but your home has galvanized pipes that were installed several decades ago, it's likely they are nearing the end of their lifespan and will start causing you trouble.
Start planning for repiping before a water emergency strikes. Vets 4 You Plumbing Heating & Air is ready to answer your questions about repiping and give you a quote for installing new water lines.