If you own an older home that has existing galvanized pipes for your plumbing, there will come a time to consider an entire house re-pipe. Galvanized pipes, in time, will eventually close up, meaning that the water the home gets from the city has sediment in it and will more than likely build up on the inside of some, if not, all of your plumbing. This is evident if you have changing water flow at your faucets and are constantly removing the aerator at the end of the faucet to remove a build up of debris.
As the galvanized pipe ages, it can burst or clog for a variety of reasons and lets hope you can access the plumbing problem to repair the line in question or replace it. In some older homes you can access the plumbing by crawling under the house (raised foundation) to get to the problem. In other homes that have a concrete slab, as the foundation, you may have to cut into the concrete to access these problems, or in certain cases you can re-route the plumbing up through the walls and into the attic and come back down to the area of repair, or installation.
Older track homes prior to the 1970’s were built with this kind of piping unless it was specified to use a different material.
Copper piping has become a standard in most home building these days, with a few other materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). Working with copper entails cutting the runs and turns to size and sweating the connections together with a nap gas torch kit, flux and solder. The pvc type material mentioned, requires gluing the fittings together, while the pex material uses compression fittings to connect the fittings.
Some of the materials mentioned come in different thickness and /or ratings. The thicker or higher rating of the material, the more the cost. So, you have to ask yourself if the property is worth the extra expense. If this your own property and you have no intention of moving any time soon, by all means get the better of the materials.
If you are handy with tools and have any knowledge of plumbing, you more than likely can do some or all of any repairs and installs you desire. It does take some time to plan out these projects, learn about the differences of old and new products and know what tooling is necessary.
So, lets recap…
- Know the age of the home and the realization that galvanized pipes will fail over time and repairs or replacements will be needed
- Having the understanding of different materials and how time affects them will make your decision to upgrade go easier for any repairs or new installs
- Knowing where to access areas to do any work helps considerably
- Having the correct tools and the knowledge of how to use them will go a long way during the repair process