What Happens When You Repipe a House?

Water leaks can spell trouble for a homeowner. Small leaks are easy to fix, but major leaks, corrosion, low water pressure, discoloration, or strange sounds coming from the pipes could indicate much bigger problems.

Often, older homes have older plumbing systems that need an update over time. Whether your home is equipped with outdated materials like galvanized steel or lead, you’re dumping money into repairs, or you’re remodeling, there are plenty of good reasons to repipe your home.

Find out more what happens when you repipe a house, the signs you should invest in new plumbing, and how to prepare for the renovation.

What Is Repiping a Home?

The repiping process is replacing the old plumbing system with a new one. Many homeowners elect to repipe their old or failing plumbing, but some may only replace sections (partial repiping) or simply tackle repairs as they arise.

When you repipe a house, a plumber is replacing all your old pipes with new ones. Just like the new PVC pipe in this picture.

When Would a Homeowner Need to Repipe a Home?

A full repiping is no small task. It’s time-consuming and a cost investment, but it’s necessary for your home’s safety, functionality, and appearance. Here’s when you should consider repiping:

Your Home Has Lead Pipes or Galvanized Steel Pipes

Homes over 100 years old often have lead pipes. These pipes are not only outdated, but they pose a health risk if lead leaks into the water supply. Many homes with lead pipes have been replaced, but it’s best to check and see if you should replace the entire system.

Another material that’s common in older homes is galvanized steel. This material was commonly used in the 1950s and 1960s, but you may find it in homes built prior to the 1940s. Galvanized steel doesn’t age well – it corrodes. When this happens, it can limit the water flow and leak sediment that can contaminate your water.

No Matter How Many Times You Fix Your Pipes, They’re Still Broken

If you find that you’re dealing with constant plumbing problems and paying for repairs, it may be more cost effective to invest in a full repiping. This will fix your plumbing issues and save you money on repairs.

You’re Remodeling Your Home

If you’re updating a kitchen or bathroom, changing plumbing fixtures in your home, or retrofitting your plumbing may be the time to repipe. You may be better off replacing the entire system instead of dealing with problems that could arise where the new and old systems meet. It’s also nice to have the peace of mind that your plumbing system is good for decades to come.

Before You Start – Get an Inspection and Estimate

Repiping is a big undertaking. You’ll need an inspection and estimate from a plumber before you can start the project. It’s best to get multiple estimates from different local plumbers to get an idea of costs. This also helps you determine if you should take on a complete repiping of your home or only replace the pipes that are too aged or degraded.

What to Expect During the Repipe Process

When you repipe a house, you’re replacing the hot and cold pipes and possibly addressing other areas like wastewater drainage.

Preparations

Repiping is a big renovation that will involve holes in your drywall and quite a mess. It’s important that you protect your furniture and décor against damage from water or dust during the work.

Pictured is a woman putting protective plastic over her furniture. You will need to do this when you repipe a house.

You’ll also have your water service shut off during this time, so you won’t be able to use your sink or other fixtures. Though water won’t be off for the whole time, or even a whole day at a time, it’s important to plan around any service interruptions.

Plumbers Need Access

Plumbers install new piping by cutting into the drywall, which is patched and repainted after the process is complete. You must ensure that plumbers have access to the drywall in every room of your house, even if you’re not sure if pipes are in those walls.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Repiping takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size and complexity of your home. Plumbers typically construct new pipes next to the old ones, so you will not be without water the entire time. Typically, the water service is shut off when the plumber is changing over the systems.

The process of repiping a house can take between a few days and few weeks depending on the size of your home. You'll probably get new PEX piping, the type of pipes in this picture.

Permitting

Your plumber will need a work permit from the local municipality to repipe your home. This should be done after the initial work.

Inspection and Finishing

Once installed, your new piping system will need an inspection. When the inspector signs off on the permit, the plumber can patch and repaint the drywall to get your home looking like new again.

Once construction is done, you'll need to have the work inspected and permitted.

If you’re considering repiping your home, contact the pros as ASI, the White Glove Guys for your in-home estimate!