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Maryann
Replacing old plumbing

I came back from 5 days away to find a cracked pipe and 2" of water in my basement. The pipe that cracked was old galvanized pipe going to an outdoor faucet, although the pipe runs through the basement, not out of doors. The house is 100 years old and I'm wondering about re-piping the house (1 story, 1 bathroom) to avoid further problems such as this. Is it worth the money? What are the chances of the old plumbing being ok vs. going bad piece by piece? And are faucets feeding outdoor spigots more likely to break than those wholly in the house. Thanks, Maryann

misfitter
Re: Replacing old plumbing

well, i am not sure what the other post said. but, with a house that is a 100 years old, and galvanized piping that is probably 50 years old. I think it may be time to look at the 3 big things for any house cost that is usally overlooked:

1. electical- has the wiring been updated? is there a ground to most of your outlets? is the wiring wraped in cloth? a fire or electrocution is a bad way to go(not a very good looking corpse).

2. hvac- do you have heating and air? or are you wasting your money with outdated equipment and poor insulation? comfort has a cost.

3. plumbing- to answer your question, i would say ALL the galvanized pipes are rusting out and need to be replaced. as you have seen, 2" of water in the basement instead of 2" of water in the kitchen or main bathroom.

it is easy to sit here and say replace it all, but i know it cost money. my 1st and 2nd would be plumbing and then electrical.

jackthepug
Re: Replacing old plumbing

After a major flood and two winters without heat, the pipes in the house I am working on were destroyed. Originally, I was going to have them soldered back together (they are mostly copper) but then I found a mix of lead and galvanized througout the house, as well as dozens of breaks that were visible (nevermind what was behind the walls).

I called several plumbers and chose a reasonable one who had years of experience. They started at the main valve and replaced everything on two floors with Pex piping for $2500.

Things to consider:
1. Is there one small area that can be replaced or repaired easily or are there multiple issues with your plumbing? Have several estimates done and if the majority tell you that there are other issues, go with replacement instead of repair.

2. What's in your pipes? IF you have lead, remove them. Especially in small children, this can give them an elevated lead level that can mean they get sick. But it's not really healthy for any of us.
Because of the high levels of manganese in our local water, even the galvanized pipes (50 years old) were almost completely corroded shut leading to low water efficiency. And do you want to drink all those decades of build up?

3. Budget: Pex is really inexpensive compared to metal piping. And I actually sold all the metal for scrap and made almost as much as it cost me to put the new plumbing in.

4. Value: When/if you go to re-sell the house, having updated plumbing is a great selling point.

5.Repairs: With Pex piping, it costs less than metal (especially copper) so repairs are much less expensive down the road. It also is see-thru so you can really find a problem quickly. And when it freezes, the pipes expand and don't break as easily as metal does.

Overall, I think it's a great idea to change out all your plumbing to Pex piping. It's easy to work with, costs less and provides much cleaner water than decades old piping.

Just make sure you hire someone who has had experience installing it because like any repair/remodel, you want to make sure it's done right. I would get at least three estimates and be wary of anyone who wants to take all your old metal piping out with them. I scrapped mine myself and made money on the deal.

Good luck!

renowarrior
Re: Replacing old plumbing
Maryann wrote:

I came back from 5 days away to find a cracked pipe and 2" of water in my basement. The pipe that cracked was old galvanized pipe going to an outdoor faucet, although the pipe runs through the basement, not out of doors. The house is 100 years old and I'm wondering about re-piping the house (1 story, 1 bathroom) to avoid further problems such as this. Is it worth the money?

For openers, it should be noted that galvanized pipe has an intended service life of roughly 40 years. Beyond that point, complete replacement is always prudent. In addition, galvanized plumbing is very unpopular with most homebuyers, which may adversely affect your resale value.
Why is galvanized undesirable? Galvanized pipes rust from the inside out, turning the water brown, causing a bad taste and smell, restricting water flow, and causing leaks.:eek:
Copper or PEX are the way to go.;)

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Replacing old plumbing

To answer your question. Yes, it is more common to have piping to outside spigots freeze and burst, however it is more likely that the plumbing has outlived it's useful life. I would recommend replacing with PEX. There are several advantages to using PEX including less labor cost in installation, no unnecessary unions, and it can stand being frozen without bursting.
Jack

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