The Cost of Re-Piping a House

Jan 01, 2011

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If your home suffers from low water pressure, this may be a sign that you need to replace the pipes. The cause of low pressure can be corrosion, which leads to holes and leaks in your pipes, or scale buildup, which blocks the flow of water. A local plumber should be contacted to give you an estimate on the price and time it will take to re-pipe your home. Depending on the size of your home and the location of the pipes, this can take 1-5 days.

Typically, to re-pipe a home with 1-2.5 bathrooms costs between $1,500 and $15,000 depending on the size of the house and type of pipe you are installing. Each sink, bath, shower, toilet, etc. adds to the overall cost. Additionally, labor costs will increase depending on how many stories your home has and the ease with which the plumber can access the pipes. If the plumber makes holes in the walls or ceilings, you may have to hire a painter to cover up those spots.

PEX vs. Copper

There are two main types of pipes used for residential plumbing: PEX piping and copper piping. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

PEX, which is a flexible plastic piping, has become the most popular piping in the US. Besides being easy to install, its flexibility helps prevent bursts, and it has an easy shutoff valve should repairs be necessary. It’s not prone to corrosion and retains heat better than copper, thereby conserving energy. The downside, however, is that it cannot be used outdoors because of a UV sensitivity, it cannot be recycled, and it allows for the possibility of water contamination.

Copper is a popular alternative to PEX piping but it’s more expensive. The advantages of copper piping are that it’s bacteria-resistant, not UV sensitive, and recyclable. The disadvantages, however, are that it can corrode, can sometimes give water a metallic taste, and can burst in freezing temperatures.

In places like Milwaukee, which have cold, freezing winters, pipe-bursts are a major factor when considering which type of piping to install. If you live in such a climate, you should learn how to thaw frozen pipes.

PEX prices typically run from $0.40 a foot to $2 a foot, while copper piping runs between $2 and $10 a foot.

A professional plumber can evaluate your home’s plumbing needs based on your location and home structure. He can explain to you the pros and cons of each type of piping and give you an estimate of what re-piping will cost.

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