We need to replumb the entire house

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by rainbeaux, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. rainbeaux

    rainbeaux New Member

    I own a 1923 1 1/2 story house with an unfinished basement and additional crawlspace in Maryland. Our water pressure has been steadily going down so we called two plumbers. Both said galvanized pipe was the cause and we need a complete replumb. Joy. The water comes into the house in the basement. We have an electric hot water heater, kitchen sink, no diswasher, bathroom with combined tub and shower, toilet, and hand basin on the 1st floor. The second floor has a shower, toilet, and hand basin. We have a washer in the basement. Can you give me a range of how much this is going to cost to replace with all copper?
  2. Very hard to give you a price since there's a good chance the walls will have to be opened to perform this task. With the cost of copper I would believe somewhere in the range of 5 to 8 grand would be a safe bet. Type L is probably code in Maryland.

    There will be others that'll chime in on this thread trying to tell you the cheap way, PEX, but if you know how to step between all the lawsuits and defective fittings to find the right plastic pipe, you'll accomplish a great deal more than the victims of cheap and easy have found out.
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    The unfinished basement sounds promising. If it is anything like mine, then this might be your saving grace since it may offer easier access to the pipes.
  4. tip-toeing through the lawsuits.....

    There will be others that'll chime in on this thread trying to tell you the cheap way, PEX, but if you know how to step between all the lawsuits and defective fittings to find the right plastic pipe, you'll accomplish a great deal more than the victims of cheap and easy have found out.[/quote]

    I am doing a house next week that I would rather put in copper but they insist on PEX..
    you cant change their minds.....the stuff is a breeze to install but .

    Of course as said before the only one I can trust
    is WIRSBO....PEX .... but you wonder how much longer they are gong to dodje the bullet too
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    New Hampshire
    What are the thoughts on CPVC? It is less expensive than PEX and almost as easy to run. It is available in IP sizes as well as the tube sizes that are carried in the big-box stores.

    The 3/4 is flexible enough that it can be put through joists without cutting it in little pieces like copper.

    The adapters to threaded fittings seem to be reliable and everything else can be cemented. The fittings seem to be a lot less expensive than PEX.

    Any reasons not to use CPVC in something like that?
  6. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    S.E. Idaho
    Must have been built for midgets. Those 1/2 floors are hard to get around in. :eek:

    Interesting. I don't know what kind of water you have, but "steadily going down" would indicate something else to me, such as something plugged with rust debris. The question to me would be in what condition are the galvanized pipes? If they're all corroded and this is a constant problem, then I'd certainly consider a change.

    That's quite a stretch - plumbers charge differently all over the country. And just as predicted, I'm going to ask why not PEX? And I certainly would never give a price on a job without seeing it first - and that means with the walls opened up and ready to go. I use Vanguard Pex most of the time, and have yet to have a failure. (Knock on wood.)

    I personally think it's junk, but one man's junk is another man's treasure. As to the IP sizes, I think you're confusing it with PVC. The only CPVC I've ever seen is in CTS. I'm willing to be corrected on that.

    If one were to use CPVC, I'd be sure to get good-quality fittings, particularly threaded fittings with the embedded brass because the plastic threads would keep me from sleeping at night.
  7. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    New Hampshire
    CPVC is good enough for industrial piping and is qualified for use in fire sprinkler systems. It is certainly adequate for residential water systems.


    CPVC is available in Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 Iron Pipe Sizes from 1/8" to 24". It is just not sold in the Big Box stores.

    Click here to download specification sheet
    Corrosion resistant pressure pipe, IPS sizes 1/8" through 24", for use at temperatures up to and including 200°F. Pressure rating (130 psi to 1130 psi) varies with schedule, pipe size, and temperature as shown on page 2 of this specification, and as stated in Harvel Plastics, Inc. engineering bulletin (Product Bulletin 112/401). Generally resistant to most acids, bases, salts, aliphatic solutions, oxidants, and halogens. Chemical resistance data is available and should be referenced for proper material selection. Pipe exhibits excellent flammability characteristics (ULC Listed for Surface Burning Characteristics) and other physical properties. Typical applications include: chemical processing, plating, high purity applications, hot and cold potable water systems, water and wastewater treatment, and other industrial applications involving hot corrosive fluid transfer.

    Here is another link:

    [SIZE=-1]CPVC piping for potable hot and cold water distribution systems is recognized in all model plumbing codes. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Also, CPVC plumbing pipe is safe for installation in return air plenums; however, the installation must be approved by the local jurisdiction. Even though CPVC is considered a combustible material it will not burn without a significant external flame source. Once the flame source is removed CPVC will not sustain combustion. Testing indicates that water filled CPVC in diameters 3" or less will pass the 25/50 flame smoke developed requirements for non-metallic material in return air plenums. [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]CPVC fire sprinkler pipe tested and listed in accordance with UL 1887, "Fire Test of Plastic Sprinkler Pipe for Flame and Smoke Characteristics," meets the requirements of NFPA 90A for installation in return air plenums. [/SIZE]
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  8. BobNH

    Considerations of CPVC pipe include:
    • Generally limited to 1/2" to 2" Copper Pipe Size
    • Some complaints of "plastic taste" in water
    • Fittings and pipe subject to cracking or damage on job site if dropped or stepped on
    • Solvents used to join fittings and pipe contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are known pollutants and require proper ventilation during installation
    • Subject to melting during a fire (becomes viscous at 395° F)
    • High coefficient of expansivity (1 inch in 50 feet over 50-degree temperature change) (3.4x10-5 in/in/°F)
    • Inner CPVC pipe surface can support the growth of bacteria including legionellae pneumophilia (ref. A Comparison of the Colonization by Bacteria of Copper and Other Materials Commonly Used in Plumbing Systems with Special Reference to Legionella Pneumophila)
    • Due to ease of installation, CPVC is sometimes installed by less skilled labor, potentially resulting in more frequent incidence of improper workmanship.
    • Subject to cracking during earthquakes
    • Generally requires a 24-hour cure period before pressurizing with water
    Standards and code compliance (eg. FlowGuard Gold®)
    • Meets or exceeds ANSI/NSF Standard 61 for potable water
    • Meets of exceeds all ASTM and industry standards
    • Meets model building codes, BOCA National Plumbing Code, National Standard Plumbing Code, Standard Plumbing Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, CABO 1- and 2-Family Dwelling Code, Canadian Plumbing Code
    [​IMG]Health Effects of CPVC

    Much has been written about the potential health effects of residual vinyl chloride monomer, or RVCM which is found in trace amounts in plastics containing Polyvinyl Chloride, including CPVC and PVC pipe. Proponents and detractors alike continue to debate the long-term health impact due to extended exposure to RVCM. VCM is made by heating ethylene dichlroride (EDC) to 700 degrees F in the presence of oxygen. VCM is used to produce PVC resins which are used to make pipe and other materials using a process known as polymerization. During this process, most, but not all of the VCM is consumed. Trace amounts remain trapped in the PVC resin where it either outgasses into the atmosphere, or migrates into food or drink stored in containers or pipes made of PVC. This remaining chemical is residual vinyl chloride monomer, or RVCM.
    For the record, all national building codes have approved CPVC for potable water distribution in the United States and Canada. These approvals have come after extensive testing and quality control standards which guide the production of these products. Today's product meets stringent ANSI/NSF-61 standards for water quality control. There is no scientific evidence that CPVC tubing made to current US standards is in any way harmful to health.
    However, there is little argument that extended exposure to VCMs which exceed government standards, can lead to neurological and liver effects as well as cancer, such as angiosarcoma - a normally rare form of liver cancer. As long ago as 1961, Dow Chemical researchers concluded that exposure to Vinyl Chloride levels greater than 50 ppm were considered potentially dangerous.
    Generally, high exposure levels of VCM have been historically limited to workers who produced CPVC and PVC products on a daily basis. In some cases, there have been increased incidences of rare illnesses clustered in areas near manufacturing facilities using vinyl chlorides. The shroud of secrecy surrounding VCM broke when, on January 23, 1974, B.F. Goodrich responsibly reported that it had traced three fatal cases of angiosarcoma among workers at its Louisville, Kentucky plant.
    In a 1998 Houston Chronicle article by Jim Morris called "Toxic Secrecy," the ill effects of long-term exposure to VCM is well documented. Furthermore, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced a revised fact sheet on January 27, 1998 on Vinyl Chloride as part of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.
    The EPA report, which is intended to be an unbiased information source, states that "vinyl chloride [can] potentially cause neurological effects from acute exposure at levels of 0.002 mg/L."
    "Drinking water levels with are considered 'safe' for short-term exposures: For a 1--kg (22 lb.) child consuming 1 liter of water per day: a one- to ten-day exposure of 3 mg/L; upto a 7-year exposure to 0.01 mg/L."
    "Major human exposure will be from inhalation of occupational atmospheres and from ingestion of contaminated food and drinking water which has come into contact with polyvinyl chloride packaging materials or pipe which has not been treated adequately to remove residual monomer."
    Granular activated charcoal and packed towared aeration are considered the best technologies available for treatment of water containing RVCM.
    Other findings reveal that extended exposure to VCM has been linked to a hand disability called acroosterolysis, although this has been generally limited to people who routinely cleaned production reactors. It should be noted, however, that according to ASTM Standard F402-88--and underscored by the Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (PPFA) User Bulletin 8-82--gloves should be worn when handling CPVC pipe, although many installers fail to follow these guidelines or are unaware of them.
    In addition, an unusual level of brain cancer was reported between 1951 and 1977, including astrocytoma and glioblastoma, at one manfacturer, although the manufacturer denies any conclusive linking.
    Today, the production of CPVC pipe is strictly regulated. NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), a public non-profit organization dedicated to public health and safety, audits many manufacturers of plastic pipe including CPVC, PVC, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyethylene (PE), and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).
    Products with the NSF certification are tested in accordance with NSF Standard 61. PVC and CPVC pipe is tested twice annually for RVCM, ensuring that production samples remain below established maximum allowable levels. Products with the NSF-pw certification are further tested for compliance with all other properties, including health-related.
    Therefore, if CPVC is contemplated for use in any structure for a potable water supply, it is critical that the product is NSF certified. Most codes make this a requirement, but it is no guarantee that the contractor has followed these guidelines when purchasing materials. Imported products from other regions outside the US may not meet these guidelines and could pose a health risk over time.
    [​IMG]Specifying CPVC Pipe (example)

    All hot and cold water plumbing pipe shall be manufactured from a Type IV, Grade I Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) compound with a Cell Classification of 23447-B per ASTM D1784. The pipe shall be manufactured in strict compliance with ASTM D2846 to SDR 11 Copper Tube Size (CTS) specifications, consistently meeting or exceeding the quality assurance requirements of this standard. All CPVC CTS pipe shall be packaged immediately after its manufacture to prevent damage, and shall be stored indoors at the manufacturing site until shipped from the factory. The pipe shall be manufactured in the USA by an ISO 9002 certified manufacturer, and shall carry the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) seal of approval for potable water applications, meeting section NSF 14 and 61 water standards.

    Give it time, someone will now turn to copper and try to bash its use now. Patiently wait as this always happens..

    the idea is to change the original poster's mind from using his preferred piping method like is being displayed, heavily. asmilieStirPotChef.gif
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  9. Rugged ---very good post----

    Rugged that was a very informative post...

    I did not realize you had it in you.......

    I like cpvc but I never have cared that much to use it

    it is so brittle, and can freeze and snap into shards
    under only 30 degrees.....

    filmsey and non- durable too....

    but in some respects,
    it is acutally better than most of
    the PEXES out there .....

    CPVC has been around forever...at least 30 years.....
    with no real failures....

    except perhaps at the connections to the brass joints
    ie faucets, water heaters ect...

    NO MAJOR LAWSUITS with CPVC have ever been reported
    involveing 50,000 homes that I am aware of.
    and you cant say that about pex......

    So Cpvc has quietly been doing its job for probably
    how many years now??? maybe 30 ??

    Perhaps more than 30,,,I cant say for sure,
    I think it was out back when polybuteline pipe was popular

    even though it it is cheap and might taste crappy

    it truely is time tested and you cant say that for
    most of the pexes....

    Cpvc is actually a good alternative to PEX

    It just gives me kind of a " trailer park trash feeling "
    when I use it.....
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Don't know if you all have ever read the little tags hanging from dryer cords, sweeper cords, xmas lights, but they are warnings to wash your hands after touching those cords because they can cause health problems due to the Polyvinyl Chloride. Amazing you give your kids chores and they could get sick due to it. Good thing mine are lazy. :rolleyes:
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I recently heard that just about anything other than food that you can smell can hurt you.

    Do flux, solder and plumber's torches emit odors?
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Leo, their are alot of things that do not have any smell that can hurt you. I don't know about plumbers torches or flux but for instance, a few of the drugs that are given via IV have be used while wearing a mask. Just food for thought.
  13. everything is trying to kill you

    Every microbe out there is trying to kill you....

    so get over it... and try to have a great life

    untill one of them finally catches up with you.

    The risks come with living on planet earth.

    I would be willing to bet that Someday...
    The people living in FEMA trailers down
    in New Orleans will probably try to sue the
    governement for putting them up in --sub-standard
    trailers with the smell of fermalhide in them

    their health was hurt by the government.......

    I am sure Jesse jackson will be on CNN
    some day fighting for money to pay off those
    "victims" I

    I would tell them the same thing---get over it.....
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  14. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Personally, I think it is stress that causes disease and more damage to ones body than anything. Stress is the real killer.

    Ps. I think one of them dang microbes did, lol, I have had 5 diagnoses of cancer, lol. (NHL) YET, I still adhere to my ole' school of thought regarding stress. I was on drugs that would bring a man down to his knees and to tears, but me? Nope. Oh yeah, I have moved on trust me on that one. I am alive and well one hell of a fight cat, anytime ya ready, LOL.

    Stress will kill ya. Faster than a speeding bullet. So everytime you are under stress you are lining up for the firing squad. Heart attack, cancer, high blood pressure, you name it. THEN, you will have to get over it. Wow. That is so hard.

    I don't stress over crap now. LOL. BUT, I am wondering how you would feel if you and your kids ended up one day in one of those trailers with " fermalhide" in them? Would you be upset? No one can ever tell the future. I used to be this size 2... until, I started on steriods and now a size 14 from all the steriods I have been on . Would I ever have thought that would happen someday? Did I think in 2005, I would become a widow before he even turned 50? NOPE.
    Did I have ever reason to think I would need to learn some plumbing skills so I can fix my house? NOPE. Did I think I would ever have to work even harder so the boys could finish college? NOPE. There are no guarantees in life. SURE, you will sit there and think about people living in trailers and call them " trailer trash." But, the truth is ... you just don't ever know what is your future, and the future is sooner than you think. It is now.

    Hopefully, your future will include wonderful things, I got someone wonderful in my life right now, and he makes me smile and laugh and love again. SO, what comes around goes around. Be kind it pays.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    With what I'm around, I get exposed.
    I'm almost never sick though.
    Even if I get what my kids have for days, it only lasts me a few hours.
    I get the symptons, feel bad, then it's gone.
    I think a lot of other service plumbers are that way too.
    Pretty darn healthy.

    Is flux good for you?
    I do tend to breath in too much smoke when I'm soldering.
    If you solder inside, it will set off smoke alarms.
    And some of the glues are no picnic either.
  16. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    S.E. Idaho
    I once repiped a basement bath for a client, using PEX tubing for the water lines. Some time after that, her son decided he had enough smarts to plumb, so he added a new kitchen sink, and ran water lines to it using CPVC.

    They sold the house and it was empty last winter, and the furnace quit. Guess which lines broke?

    I went back and replaced the CPVC with PEX. By the way - there was a new parquet floor in the basement that covered approximately 30' x 20'. It all had to be replaced.

    I'm sure CPVC works great in Texas. But it's not for Idaho.
  17. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Yep, life is fatal ... and ventilation is a key to prolonging it.

    None of us would seal our heads in plastic bags, yet we wrap and caulk our dwellings with all kinds of barriers that keep harmful things inside. So-called "progress" or "improvement", then, can at times actually be deadly.
  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Just leave a window cracked. I leave a light on and a window cracked all the time. That way the burglars can see it is open, lol. Only kidding... :)
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I too would consider PEX! It lends itself very well to repipes and in spite of what the PEX bashers say it does have a track record.

    There are 2 instances of a problematic PEX failure that have occurred and the bashers are claiming the sky is falling. Both PEX problems involved failures of fittings and not the tubing itself. The first involved Kitec and involved corrosion of fittings in aggressive water conditions. The second was Zurn with defective poorly engineered, bad material, poorly machined fittings from the same folks that made Playskool toys with lead paint.

    The answer given above that the water should be treated in regard to copper pipe failures should apply to PEX as well. Infact water conditioning is not the only cause of copper failure. Soil conditions, & electrical bonding issues are also candidates for copper failure.

    I say Go PEX!
    Repipe your house for 1/2 the cost of copper!
    The Sky is not Falling!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007
  20. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    I don't think there is anything wrong with the PEX system.

    As far as I know the class action is due to substandard fittings that were used and they were Mfg. in Tiwan or China.

    The Mfg. probably pulled a fast one and Mfg. them different than the specs.

    This is my guess only.
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