If your galvanized pipes are on the way out, a repipe may be on the way in. Many homes were built with galvanized plumbing which rusts and detoriates over time. You may notice that your appliances are filling up slower than they used to, the pressure in your shower just isn't what it used to be, and you occasionally notice a brown tinge to your water when you turn on your faucet.
What's happening is your galvanized pipes are slowly but steadily filling up with rust and gunk that will eventually result in a foul smelling, low pressure, unfit to drink water supply for your home. It's even possible that you'll develop leaks in the pipes that will cause rot, mold, and potential major damage to your home.
If you're in this situation you may need a repipe.
What is a repipe?
A repipe is the process of replacing your existing corroded and potentially leaking pipes with updated hard copper or PEX. Although this is not a job you do on a whim as it's a comprehensive replumbing of your home, it will improve the safety and quality of your home and potentially save you from even larger bills that come from a ruined and rotted home.
What's the process?
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is get an inspection with a quote. A typical repiping project includes completely replacing the corroded piping with upgraded hard copper or PEX for both the cold and hot water supply system. Drains and fixtures don't necessarily need to be replaced but corroded pipes can seriously degrade appliances and the hot water heater. If you're budgeting for a repipe you should check these appliances for damage.
Step 2: Hire a plumber and prepare for a mess. You probably need to make arrangements to be water-less for up to a week. Talk to your plumber about how to care for your furniture and belongings during the repiping.
Step 3: It's time for the removal and then the installation! Your plumber, depending on the size of his crew, will replace the pipes in your home one section at a time after cutting open the walls and ceilings to remove the old corroded pipes. Once the system is buttoned up you'll probably require an inspection by a plumbing inspector.
Step 4: Once you get the greenlight from the inspector on the installation, your plumber will perform a system test and any unforseen leaks will need to be fixed. Congratulations! Y our plumbing is once again safe to use although your walls and ceilings may need a little work!
Step 5: Unless you like staring into your walls you're going to need to have a drywall specialist on hand. They will perform the final button-up that will make your home fully livable again.
Not many home owners would say that a repipe is a pleasant experience but the consequences of not replacing heavily corroded pipes can be disastrous. Toxic water, bad smells, low water pressure, and hidden leaks are a poor alternative to getting the job done right by a qualified contractor.