- Replumbing the house sure isn’t the cheapest of all the plumbing services, with its average cost from $5,000 to $7,000, which may reach even $15,000, depending on the number of bathrooms in the house, pipe location, the number of fixtures, and other factors.
- Who and why may need to replumb their house? One common reason is the age of the pipe material in your house. Replace it with a more modern type of pipe to ensure you keep your house and its inhabitants safe and healthy.
- Keep reading to find out if it’s time to replumb your house, how much it costs in practice, and how to do it correctly.
How do you know it’s time to replumb a house?
Replumbing—also known as repiping—becomes a necessity in every house at a certain point.
To replumb a house means to install new plumbing, i.e., to replace pipes that aren’t at their best anymore.
It’s an open secret that replacing original pipes in the entire home can be quite an effort and a costly enterprise.
Yet, sometimes it’s a must-do!
Let’s see the most common reasons to replace plumbing in your building.
Water is red or brown
How do you know your plumbing system has seen better days?
One way to tell it’s time for change are deteriorating pipes that cause reddish or brownish water tint.
Like cast-iron pipes or galvanized steel, some pipes are susceptible to rust over time.
Keep in mind that cast-iron pipes also have some significant advantages, such as:
- they last between 80 and 100 years and
- are built to withstand a high amount of water pressure;
Colored water is a sure sign that you have corroded pipes, and it’s high time to consider pipe replacement.
Important: Not only is rusty-colored water visually repulsive, but drinking water in such a condition can be a health hazard.
Your home is old
Old houses can be charming.
Yet, a plumbing project that was innovative years ago, at the time of its creation, most likely isn’t anymore.
Also, as your house ages, so does the plumbing!
While the age of your house can be something to be proud of, plumbing pipes aren’t like wine, which gets better with time.
If your house is 50 years old or older, and your current pipes are the original pipes, think about replacing existing plumbing.
Tip: There are usually galvanized pipes made of steel in old houses. Unluckily, they tend to burst and corrode with time.
Water pressure drops
What’s another hint that you may need a new plumbing system?
Observe the pressure of a water supply. If you
- get frustrated whenever you’re taking a shower, not being able to have a proper water massage or
- have to wait for ages to fill any water tank,
in other words, if the water in your house has low pressure, the necessity for pipe replacement may be near.
Low water pressure happens as a consequence of a rust or mineral buildup.
This process takes about a decade at least to develop.
If water doesn’t come out of your faucets as fast as it should, your pipes may be closing up.
According to Puget Sound Plumbing, one of the biggest concerns with old pipes—especially galvanized pipe cast-iron pipes—is the risk of lead buildup and the possible poisoning of the entire water system.
Important: Lead is dangerous to the human body, even in small doses, and can pose a health hazard. Look for symptoms such as fatigue, hyperactivity, headaches, weight loss, insomnia, constipation, a bluish line along the gums (Burton’s line), irritability, and others.
Multiple pipe leaks
What do you do when you find a leak?
Most times, you’ll reach out to local plumbing companies and hire a professional plumber to take care of your plumbing fixtures.
This is when a leak appears once or twice.
Yet, if the problem repeats, you’ll need to consider repiping the entire house. If pipe leaks are common in your household, consider this investment.
Does pipe replacement in the entire house seem more costly than fixing a few simple leaks every now and then?
May be. Yet, it may pay off. The average cost to replumb the house may be lower than the cost of all the isolated cases that a plumber had to fix at your house throughout the year.
Also, you’ll avoid not only the costs of frequent plumbing repairs but also save water you lose with every leak each time.
Changing the temperature is hard
How else do you recognize that your old piping needs some changes?
If you notice that switching to a different temperature becomes challenging, it may indicate issues in the pipes department.
- you are having problems changing the water temperature,
- an even amount of change on a handle leads to a disproportionate change in the water’s temperature?
If the temperature is hard to change or reacts wildly, the pipes may need to be replaced.
The water doesn’t smell right
Another sign that things don’t go beautifully is when you have not only colored but also poor tasting or smelling water—explain Apollo Services.
In case of deteriorating pipes, the smell of tap water gets worse, and you may need to replace pipes.
Pipes make noise
The noise from pipes reveals that they may have issues.
You don’t need any complicated device; just listen to the noises they make.
Banging and creaking noises are common when plumbing pipes get older and require pipe replacement.
We’re talking about the noises beyond the typical ambient house noises.
Get to know your pipes
Before we tackle the cost to replumb a house, let’s see what we’re dealing with regarding the types of pipes.
Let’s see what your pipes are made of and how long they will last, as explained by Smiths Plumbing Service:
- copper—copper pipes are probably the most common option for metal piping, very popular in the US, lasting roughly 70-80 years. Don’t wait to replace your copper pipe for too long, as the metal can start to corrode and cause rusty colored water;
Copper costs are high; it’s the most expensive piping material available, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to repipe a house. Copper pipes are durable, but this material is rigid, which drives up the cost. Linear foot copper comes in at $18 to $40, depending on your home’s location (labor costs can vary significantly).
- brass—copper and zinc, brass piping is slightly less common than copper piping but has a slightly longer lifespan of 80-100 years; brass pipes aren’t used as often as they used to, as they can contain trace levels of lead,
- galvanized steel pipes—said to last between 80-100 years, dipped in a protective zinc coating to prevent corrosion; very popular prior to the 1960s.
Important: Despite these pipes being built to last, they often start to rust after several years, which makes them less durable than initially advertised.
- cast Iron—these pipes last between 80-100 years and are built to withstand a high amount of pressure of water; yet, they are susceptible to rust over time.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)—plastic water supply lines PVC piping only lasts between 25-40 years, but with recent technological advancements, it may be able to last 70 years or more; not as durable as metal piping and therefore doesn’t last as long, but you know for sure that they won’t corrode and rust;
- PEX piping—PEX pipe is cheaper than copper and more durable too. PEX is immune to corrosion and mineral build-up, and it’s not affected by electrolysis, which can cause small pinhole leaks in copper piping.
- Polybutylene—the materials used to make them are cheap, and installation costs are lower, yet, these pipes are also pretty flimsy and may break apart after about 10-15 years of use.
- lead pipes—can last up to 100 years, but if you find lead pipes in your building, you need to replace them immediately; lead is highly toxic and can poison people exposed to it for long periods;
So what is the average cost to replumb a house?
The average cost of plumbing a house is about $4.50 per square foot.
All in all, the cost to replace old pipes or install new plumbing in an entire house ranges from $1,500 to $15,000 depending on:
- the type of piping,
- dimensions, and
- the complexity of the process (location for permitting, wall demolition, materials, such as plaster walls, labor costs, etc.).
It gives a total cost on average of $8,250 for the house.
Other sources say that the cost of repiping a house with two bathrooms is $8,500, with the low starting around $2,000 for PEX pipes to $15,000 for copper.
Let’s see how it looks with individual types of pipes.
Polybutylene and lead pipe replacement cost
If you have lead pipes, it’s necessary to replumb a house for health-related reasons.
Be aware because lead pipes plumbing pipes can lead to poisoning your pets, family members, and even plants!
You can test the water in your home for elevated lead levels.
Polybutylene needs to be replaced because these pipes are only a temporary solution. Not to mention they are also weaker than newer PVC or PEX piping.
Having the whole house repiped is a cost that ranges between $2,500 and $15,000, depending on the layout.
Important: For homes built between January 1, 1978, to July 31, 1995, the Cox settlement stemming from Cox v. Shell case can cover 100% of the price for polybutylene pipes with acetal plastic fasteners.
Galvanized pipes replacement
Replacing galvanized steel pipes costs $4,650 on average, ranging from $1,500 to $8,000 depending on the number of fixtures.
Galvanized pipes are safer than lead pipes, and they last longer than polybutylene pipes.
Although some contractors will suggest replacing galvanized pipes that are visible only, when galvanized pipes are worn down, their damage can negatively affect the water plumbing lines.
A plumber will use:
- PEX—flexible plastic tubing created out of cross-linked polyethylene), or
- CPVC—rigid plastic plies created out of chlorinated polyvinyl chloride)
as a replacement material.
If it’s unnecessary to repipe a house, but small piping sections have to be replaced with new pipes, an average cost will be $1,042 (ranging from $350 to $1,774).
What are the extra labor costs when a plumber replumb a house? A professional plumber may have to engage into:
- wall demolition,
- remove old piping,
- replace pipes,
- repair the walls and floors in the house, plaster walls;
Plumbers and contractors usually count it as one job project.
How much to replumb a house?
Several factors can influence the cost of plumbing.
How many fixtures?
The more water line appliances (kitchen sink, washing machines, water heater, toilet, shower, dishwasher, bathtub, water heaters, etc.), the higher the average cost to replumb.
More time, more materials needed—it all adds to the price, rising total cost.
Piping can be everywhere in your house. For example, there may be pipes passing through your walls and ceilings or sewer lines under your floor.
Simply put, if it takes time to access them, you’ll have to pay more.
Tip: To save some money, move the furniture yourself before the plumbing service comes.
The cost to replumb pipes if it’s necessary to access them through closets or crawl spaces is higher than those passing behind walls.
One advantage of PEX tubing is that PEX limits demolition—you can run it with less invasive demolition.
Type of pipe
There are three major types of pipe used in houses:
- PEX piping
Depending upon the square foot, you’ll pay between $2,000 and $5,000 to repipe a house with PEX.
PEX tubing is the most popular, flexible, affordable, and least time-consuming replacement piping option.
- CPVC piping (polyvinyl chloride, the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer),
- Copper piping;
Installing copper piping is the most costly, requires the most demolition, and the materials are expensive.
Copper pipe is one of the most durable and longest-lasting piping materials.
However, expect to pay from $5,000 to $20,000 to repipe an entire home ($2 to $5 per foot).
Let’s not forget about the size and dimensions of the surface where the pipes are.
Homes with a large number of the square foot are great, but they are also more costly to maintain and the average cost to replumb is higher.
Repiping takes more time, and it costs more if your home
- is larger;
- has more fixtures,
- requires more piping, fittings, and labor;