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Old pipes leaking beyond repair? The average cost to replumb a house runs between $1,500 and $15,000, according to HomeAdvisor.
“It’s pretty expensive to have it done,” says top real estate agent LaNelle McKay, who sells 71% more single-family homes than the average agent in Baytown, TX. And unfortunately, you won’t likely recoup the cost of replumbing at resale.
Still, if you have plumbing problems, you need to evaluate if replumbing is necessary; a burst pipe can flood your home and cause significant damage. There are easy steps you can take to evaluate if you need to replumb part or all of your home. To bring you the ultimate replumbing guide, we interviewed two licensed plumbers and two top real estate agents.
Main factors impacting replumbing costs
The total cost to replumb a house varies depending on the materials of pipes, your home’s size, and your plumbers hourly rate.
Just like any major home repair, project cost varies by square footage. Whether you need to replumb a portion of your home or the entire house is also a factor.
The cost of pipes ranges depending on the material. Many plumbers swear by PEX (or cross-linked polyethylene plastic) since it’s flexible, a breeze to install, and heat resistant. Homeowners like PEX because it’s about half the cost of installing copper pipes.
“With PEX, a plumber can typically install within a day. It’s also more freeze-proof than copper. That’s the new standard for homes that are higher-end,” shares Robert Jenkins, a certified plumber in Eugene, OR, and owner of Windmill Valley Properties. “It performs as well if not better than copper in most tests.”
Although copper is the highest-priced piping material, Jenkins shares that it’s still a popular choice in new-builds and higher-end homes, especially when piping is exposed.
According to certified plumber Joe Wood of Boston Standard Company in Mattapan, MA, another popular product with both homeowners and plumbers is ProPress (pressed copper), which comes with a 50-year warranty. Press fittings typically install faster, taking 95% less time than traditional soldering, which can cut down on the labor cost.
The cost to replumb your house also depends on your plumber’s hourly rate and the amount of time it takes them to complete the job. On average, plumbers charge anywhere from $45 to $200 an hour. There’s an additional fee to repair any walls damaged to access the pipes.
Signs you need to replumb your house
To gauge whether or not your house needs new plumbing, hire a plumber to run a scope through your pipes. This check costs between $237 and $1,041 on average. In addition to hiring a pro, look for these tell-tale signs that your plumbing is off:
First, consider the age of your house. If your house was built before the 1960s and contains its original pipes, you may need to replace them.
“50 to 60 years is the average lifespan for pipes,” notes Wood. “These joints are at a point now where they are dangerous.”
Rusty colored water coming from your taps
Is your tap water looking brown and cloudy these days? You’ll know when there’s rust in the pipes, based on what comes out of the faucet. A weird smell might accompany an odd hue.
Recurring pipe leaks
To spot pipe leaks, look for pools of water under exterior spigots, in sinks, and within cabinets.
Another way to check for leaks is to shut off the water and see if your water meter changes. If the meter changes right away, your pipes have significant leaks; if it changes within two hours, your pipes have a minor leak. Remember to turn off appliances that run water such as the laundry machine and dishwasher before running this test.
Low water pressure
If you notice low water pressure in your bathroom or kitchen, you might want to get your pipes checked.
“A pressure drop should always pique your interest,” says Wood, adding that another red flag is “water hammer,” a rattling sound after the water’s turned off. “That’s a stress on your pipe system,” he says.
You can hire a plumber to conduct a hydrostatic test to detect any low water pressure — this test costs between $250 and $500.
Visible signs of corrosion
The most obvious sign of corrosion is calcium build-up on your faucets and drains.
“You absolutely want to fix that before you put the house on the market,” shares top real estate agent Justin Willard, who sells 86% more homes than the average agent in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
“You certainly don’t want calcium chunks on the end of your faucet.”
Iron stains in bathtubs, showers, and sinks are another sign that there’s too much iron in the pipes, which can eventually lead to clogging. You can also check for rust by removing the aerator on the faucet and looking for small chips.
Red flag pipe materials
Plumbing standards have changed over the years, including the type of material used for pipes. If your home was built before the mid-1990s, check your plumbing for these problematic materials.
Nine times out of ten, lead pipes are original to the structure. If your home was built before 1986, you could be among an estimated 10 million homeowners who have lead pipes. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, you should replace lead pipes to prevent lead from poisoning your water supply. Lead can easily slip into your drinking water after a chemical reaction within the plumbing materials, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Between 1978 and the mid-1990s, contractors often plumbed with inexpensive polybutylene pipes. Over time, builders and homeowners discovered these pipes were prone to leaks, which could significantly damage homes.
“Oftentimes, sellers don’t even know they have it,” says Willard, who hears complaints time and time again about polybutylene pipes’ joints cracking and swelling at the unions.
Today, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ guidelines suggest homeowners replace polybutylene pipes even if there are no signs of damage. Sellers must also disclose polybutylene pipes to buyers when they sell their home.
“When I work with a seller in a neighborhood that I know has polybutylene, we always have to check before putting the house on the market,” Willard adds. “Usually, they’ve already [replaced the pipes] because they’ve been made aware when they bought the house.”
Galvanized steel pipes
Galvanized pipes are steel pipes dipped in a protective zinc coating that were commonly installed in homes built before 1960. However, over decades of exposure, galvanized pipes rust and corrode on the inside, tainting the water supply.
“Galvanized piping is really an old system. If you’re the buyer, you want to change that immediately,” Jenkins comments.
One advantage of galvanized steel is that corrosion is easy to spot. There is usually green sediment, white sediment, or rust on the outside of the pipe.
Cast iron pipes
Willard most often sees cast-iron pipes in homes built during the 1950s and 1960s. Although they were built to last between 80 and 100 years, “over time, they get very brittle [due to] the root systems on trees, especially in South Florida,” he says.
Pipes can influence your home sale
Your plumbing can influence your home sale in several ways. If you find plumbing but want to skip the cost to replumb, you must disclose the known issues with your buyer in the Seller Disclosure Form. You can expect your buyer to negotiate a price reduction to reflect the necessary repair in this case.
If you bite the bullet and pay to replumb your house before you sell, remember to mention the new pipes in your home listing and to your buyers.
“If your home is the only one on the block with new plumbing, it’s a big value proposition that needs to be presented to the buyer,” Willard adds.
Header Image Source: (ronstik / Shutterstock)
How much does it cost to fix a leaking pipe? ›
Type of Work Needed
If you have a simple leak in your water line, you might expect to pay between $150 to $300 for a water main leak repair cost. But if your plumber needs to make repairs to broken pipes that are underground, the price will be around $100 to $200 per linear foot.
The average cost to replumb a house will vary between $5,000 to $7,000. However, the total cost of repiping a house may be as high as $15,000 depending on a variety of factors.How much does it cost to repipe a 2200 square foot house? ›
To replace the plumbing in an existing structure, expect to pay between $50 and $200 per hour for labor plus the cost of materials. The total cost to replace the plumbing system in a typical 2,000-square-foot home averages between $3,000 and $16,000.How much does it cost to repipe a house with PEX? ›
While the majority of repiping jobs fall between $4,200 and $6,000 on average when installing PEX pipes, the cost to repipe a house can range anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000+ depending on a variety of variables.Does homeowners insurance cover water damage pipe leak? ›
Homeowners insurance may help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental, such as if a washing machine supply hose suddenly breaks or a pipe bursts. However, homeowners insurance does not cover damage resulting from poor maintenance.How long does it take a plumber to fix a leaky pipe? ›
How Long Does it Take a Plumber To Fix a Leak? It depends on how severe the leak is, but it usually only takes about an hour or two from start to finish. However, this varies depending on where your house is located and whether or not you have more than one plumbing system in your home.Does homeowners insurance cover repiping? ›
Does homeowners insurance cover repiping? Typically, no. Most homeowners insurance policies consider whole-home repiping to be a preventative measure that you'll have to pay out of pocket for. The good news, though, is that most policies will cover any damage from corroded or failing pipes.Is it worth it to repipe a house? ›
Repiping can increase the value of your home.
Replacing those pipes also mitigates the chances of a plumbing leak disaster, which could definitely decrease the value of your house. Older pipes may break which causes a leak, and in turn, water damage that may not be noticed right away.
Copper is the standard and the most prevalent piping material for home plumbing applications. Its strength, durability, flexibility, resistance to corrosion, and ability to tolerate heat makes it a perfect choice to replace iron and steel pipes.How many days does it take to repipe a house? ›
Repiping can take anywhere from two or three days to a week, depending on the size of your home and the number of bathrooms. Your water service will be off during some of this time, so be sure to speak with your plumber about minimizing water disruptions.
How long does it take to repipe a house with PEX? ›
Many PEX repipes can be completed in 1 day, but some may take longer depending on complexity and size of the home. You will know upfront how long your home is estimated to take. Regardless, you will have water every evening. Copper or PVC repipes typically take longer and cost more than PEX repiping.Should I replace my copper pipes with PEX? ›
Coupled with low production and shipping costs, the savings resulting from installing PEX instead of copper pipes can be significant. Better Energy Efficiency – PEX has a lower thermal conductivity rate than copper. As a result, PEX pipes can help keep hot water hotter for longer periods of time.How many years will PEX last? ›
In most cases, PEX is extremely durable and lasts up to 50 years or more. PEX piping is also less likely to crack or break than metal pipe because it does not expand and contract as much when heated and cooled.Should I repipe with PEX or copper? ›
PEX pipe is not only cheaper than copper but 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. Copper pipes can last anywhere from six months to the life of a building.What is the life expectancy of PEX tubing? ›
PEX: Due to its flexibility and durability, PEX piping should last at least 50 years. PVC / CPVC: Under typical conditions, these pipes should last up to 100 years.How do I make a successful water leak insurance claim? ›
- Determine the Source of Water and Stop the Flow:
- Read Your Policy to See If You're Covered:
- Talk to an Attorney and File a Claim:
- Get Professional Water Damage Restoration:
- Determine If It Is Safe to Stay in the House:
- Document the Damage:
Homeowners insurance typically covers roof leaks if they're caused by a sudden, accidental event such as a storm or fallen tree. Your policy likely won't pay for a leak that develops because your roof is old or poorly maintained.Why is water damage not covered by insurance? ›
Coverage for water damage depends on the situation and the source. If the damage is sudden, accidental, and comes from inside your home, you're typically protected with a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, if the water damage is caused by outside flooding or a neglected repair, you won't be covered.What happens if you don't fix a leaky pipe? ›
Damage and Rot
That leak may appear small where you see it, but chances are it's leaking more in places you can't see. That standing water can seep into your foundation and cause cracks; it can cause your wood beams to rot; and it can cause your pipes to rust and deteriorate, making the source of the leak even bigger.
Turn off the water supply to the leaking pipes and clean the area around the hole to be patched. Use a metal file to smooth any sharp edges that might cut through the patch. Apply the patch and repair clamp so it evenly overlaps the damaged section of pipe. Tighten the clamps to seal the leak.
How do plumbers find leaks in pipes? ›
Ground microphones and listening discs are among the basic tools that plumbers use to pinpoint leaks. Using sound technology, they can hear the noise of escaping water and dripping even through a layer of concrete.Is a repipe tax deductible? ›
Is repiping a home tax-deductible? No, that is a home improvement. Home improvements and repairs are not deductible on your personal income tax return. However, you may be able to deduct/depreciate home improvements for your rental or business.How invasive is repiping a house? ›
One reason it's a good idea to replace your old pipes is that the process is minimally invasive and won't disrupt your home as much as homeowners think. The holes are cut with precision to damage as little drywall as possible and to make it easier to repair once the repiping process is done.Does a repipe include drains? ›
Does a standard repipe also include all the drain pipes running from the toilet and showers? No, these are two separate and distinct systems in your home. A standard repipe that most companies promote, affects the hot and cold water system in your home. The drains or waste system would be handled separately.What is included in repiping a house? ›
While a repiping project typically involves replacing an old plumbing system with a new one, you could also opt for specific retrofitting tasks, such as installing a new water heater, expanding the current plumbing system to a home addition, and upgrading your home with low-flow fixtures.How much does it cost to replace copper pipes with PEX? ›
How Much Does PEX Piping Cost? PEX pipe is more affordable than copper, about $0.50 to $2 per linear square foot, on average. Copper costs $2 to $4 per square foot.Why are plumbing repairs so expensive? ›
Plumbers are highly trained and experienced professionals who make house calls for emergencies. Plumbers must purchase and maintain liability insurance, pay any subcontractors, keep up on licensing fees, and payout many other overhead costs.How long does a Replumb take? ›
On average, it takes between three and seven days to do an entire home. The amount of time it will take to repipe/replumb your home depends on the size of the home, amount of water lines that need to be replumbed, the type of piping materials being used, and other such factors.What is the most reliable plumbing pipe? ›
Copper pipes remain popular among plumbers and homeowners alike because they are corrosion-resistant and best suited to protect the quality of the water. Copper pipes are able to handle high water pressure and are tolerant of both hot and cold water temperatures.
Getting The House Ready For The Repipe Specialist
You will need to cover your furniture and other items around the area to keep them from getting coated. You will also need to remove any items from the areas under your sinks, such as cleaners from under the kitchen sink and personal care items from the bathroom sink.
How long do plumbing pipes last in a house? ›
Regardless of the material, each of these plumbing products have a life span that you should know so you can gauge whether you need an upgrade. Brass, cast iron, and galvanized steel have a life span of 80 to 100 years, copper lasts 70 to 80 years, and PVC piping only survives for 24 to 50 years.Does PEX leak over time? ›
As with any other pipes, PEX is not prone to leaking. Nearly all of the plumbing leaks occur at joints (connection spots) and most of them are due to incorrect installation. Much like installing PEX tubing, repairing it is also an easy process.Is PEX plumbing a problem? ›
Some PEX pipe manufacturers use cost-cutting processes which lead to pipes that aren't uniform in composition and are defective. Defective PEX pipes will not last 50+ years as advertised and quickly degrade and become brittle when exposed to hot chlorinated water. These pipes are destined to fail.How far should PEX be buried? ›
Underground. Normally, you would bury your underground insulated PEX pipe 2 feet deep (24 inches). This is the right depth for burial for most ground types. Just be diligent enough to backfill it with soil that is not rocky or preferably sand.Should I replace 60 year old copper pipe? ›
Copper pipes should be replaced every 70-80 years. Galvanized steel pipes should be replaced every 80-100 years.What lasts longer copper or PEX? ›
Lifespan. While PEX piping should be able to last for 50 years with proper care, most PEX piping starts to break down after about 30 years. On the other hand, copper pipes can last over 50 years with proper care.Should I bend my elbow or PEX? ›
Use PEX bend supports instead of elbows.
While these, unlike elbow fittings, cannot provide a sharp turn, they are suitable for most frame homes and will provide a certain degree of protection for the pipe from rigid/abrasive stud edges.
Mice and rats will chew through anything they can, including plastic, so PEX tubing is at just as much risk as the plastic-coated wiring in a car or an HVAC unit. While all rodent damage can be expensive, if rodents chew through a home's PEX water pipes, the result can be disastrous.What is a disadvantage of PEX? ›
The biggest disadvantage to PEX is that it is unknown how well or long it will last. While PEX piping is warrantied for up to 25 years, it is unknown what could happen to PEX piping as the years go on. Since it is so new, it is hard to know what water will do to the plastic over 30 years.How likely is it for PEX to burst? ›
It has also been overtaking copper and CPVC because of its flexibility compared to copper and although PEX might freeze, unlike PVC, it would not burst.
How much does it cost to Repipe a 1200 square foot house? ›
The average cost to replumb a house will vary between $5,000 to $7,000. However, the total cost of repiping a house may be as high as $15,000 depending on a variety of factors. These variables include pipe location, number of bathrooms, quantity of fixtures, and how many stories a home includes.Is it cheaper to run PEX or PVC? ›
When you compare the material costs of PEX vs PVC, PEX comes out more expensive. (However, balance this factor against the lower labor cost to install PEX.)When did they stop using copper pipes in houses? ›
Copper was the plumbing pipe of choice from the 1950s until 2000 and was widely used both in new construction and to replace the galvanized steel water supply pipes that had been the standard into the 1950s. But copper's use has gradually faded, due to the introduction of PEX plumbing tubing.When should you not use PEX pipe? ›
PEX plumbing is fine inside the walls of a home, no matter the temperatures as it can be covered with insulation. However, one of the disadvantages of PEX plumbing is it cannot be used outdoors in cold climates as there is no way to cover them and protect them from freezing temperatures.How much does it cost to Repipe a house with PEX? ›
While the majority of repiping jobs fall between $4,200 and $6,000 on average when installing PEX pipes, the cost to repipe a house can range anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000+ depending on a variety of variables.Is plastic plumbing better than copper? ›
Copper is resistant to corrosion and minerals to a degree, but it is still a reactive metal. With minerals in the water and a slightly acidic pH, copper can corrode as bad as steel. Plastic is not as rigid or impermeable as copper. This means that it is slightly more susceptible to contamination.What do I do if my water pipe is leaking? ›
- Use a Fiberglass Tape. Make sure to clean the damaged area of the pipe with a wet cloth before applying the leak tape and wait for about 15 minutes before turning the water on. ...
- Use Epoxy Putty. ...
- Use a Repair Sleeve. ...
- Use a Slip Coupling.
If you own your home, you're responsible for the water pipe that runs from the boundary of your property into your home, and the internal pipes and fittings. If you're a tenant, this is your landlord's responsibility to fix and maintain.Is a leaking water pipe an emergency? ›
What to do in an emergency. If you suspect a water leak, you should contact a professional plumber as soon as possible. Don't delay – ignoring a leak can lead to more damage to your property. If you have a leaking or burst pipe in your home, you should turn off your water immediately.Can I use Flex Seal on a leaky pipe? ›
All of these products are guaranteed to create a watertight seal keeping out the elements. A leaky pipe? Flex Seal Tape can fix it!
Can you sell a house with a leaking pipe? ›
But generally, you are not required to repair a leak in your flat before you attempt to sell. Just beware that some buyers might lose interest in making an offer on the property once they learn that it has a leak which you are not fixing before selling.Are water supply pipes covered on house insurance? ›
Most buildings insurance will cover you for water damage as standard. Insurance providers often call this 'escape of water damage' and it'll cover you whether damage is caused by burst pipes in winter or a leaky washing machine. However, while your contents may be covered under accidental damage, this isn't guaranteed.What is a leakage allowance? ›
A leak allowance is provided by a Wholesaler to reduce charges for a customer site where additional charges are incurred due to a leak.Who do you call to fix a leaking pipe at home? ›
Calling a plumber to fix a leaking pipe is the best thing you can do, as attempting pipe leak repair without relevant experience could lead to further damage and repair costs. Pipe leaks can also be in hidden places that a plumber would know how to find.Will a leaking pipe get worse? ›
If you have a leak from pipes or taps at your property, it's important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Over time, leaks will often get worse and could lead to damage to your property or belongings. Not only that, but persistent leaks waste large amounts of water - a precious resource that we need to protect.How much water can you lose from a leaking pipe? ›
A leak can lose up to 700 – 1,400 gallons of water in 24 hours. A single leak in toilet supply line, which flows at 2-3 gallons per minute, can lose up to 3,000-4,000 gallons each day. A washing machine hose can leak up to 10-12 gallons per minute, causing the loss of more than 12,000 gallons in 24 hours.How do you fix a leaking pipe behind a wall? ›
- Cut out some part of the wall. ...
- Get a paper sheet and wrap the pipe. ...
- Get a container that will collect the water spill. ...
- Cut the pipe. ...
- Use a paper towel to dry the pipe. ...
- Cut the pipe, again. ...
- Clean and sterilize the pipe. ...
- Solder the copper pipe.
Plumbers usually charge for their work by the hour, and the national average cost is about $100 per hour plus a service fee or minimum charge. Overall, hourly rates for plumbing can range from $25 to $200, depending on the experience level of the plumber and on the repair needed.