Home Buying in Sarasota>Question Details

Susan, Other/Just Looking in 34119

I see a lot of listings that say 're-plumbed'. What exactly is this and why is this so prevalent in the Sarasota area?

Asked by Susan, 34119 Fri Aug 24, 2012

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I had my home replumbed in Sarasota as many of my neighbors had done the same, some before a crisis, others after unfortunately. There are two schools of thought whether to go with the expense of PEX versus PVC. I settled on PVC due to its simplicity.

Information I found was that the municipal water supply was sanitized with Chlorine for many years but they changed to Chlorimine around 2000 or so. The pinholes were atrtributed to the Chlorimine effect on copper. Once it looked to be a problem many municipalities swirtched back to Chlorine and problems dropped off although in many homes the damage was already done.

Pinholes are not only in the floor but do happen in the walls. My neighbors have experience that first hand.

Best to replumb for insurance and safety proactively than reactively. The costs after the fact are much more than the cost to do it right.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 28, 2012

Lots of information here but I do have a few things to add.

Pinhole leaks often occur copper plumbing within the walls as well as within concrete. The exact cause of the leaks is suspected but unknown. Since the leaks are common regardless of the location of the copper pipes many believe that the leaks are caused by excessive treatment of water at the water treatment facilities. The thought is that it is actually the water drawing minerals (or other impurities) out of the copper which result in the leaks.

That said, pinhole leaks in copper pipes are not exclusive to our area. It is well known that copper plumbing is susceptible to having pinhole leaks in many parts of the US and also worldwide.

Yes, "re-plumbed" does refer to having the copper plumbing that was leaking replaced. Some of the "re-plumb" jobs are complete and some are part. As you can imagine, there are some pipes that are easier to get to than others. Typically, when a property is re-plumbed CPVC pipe is used. It is commonly referred to as PVC pipe. This is a flexible "plastic" type pipe material that can be installed with minimal holes being cut.

There are also companies that offer a service to "coat" the inside of copper plumbing with a liquid material that seals the current holes and keeps the water from interacting with the interior surface of the copper plumbing.

Probably more information here than you need but I hope this helps!

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
I don't think anyone has clearly answered the question about the pinhole leaks in the copper water lines that run under the older homes in FL. They think it may be a chemical reaction with the poor water we have in some areas. I have personally had an issue with this as my home in Venice built in 1958 developed a pinhole leak in the concrete slab. It was difficult to find, but there are companies out there that use detection equipment that can isolate the problem within inches. They then have to smash up the concrete to repair the leak. The problem is that once one develops there are sure to be others. This was my case. I repaired 3 until I bit the bullet and had the house replumbed with PVC running through the attic. It is not as costly as you might think if you find the right plumber and it saves alot of future headaches and worry. We have no basements in Fl. so they did a monolithic concrete slab pour over the water lines back then. The concrete could have something to do with it, but my guess is that is is a combination of new water treatment and chemicals in the water that causes the reaction.

Bruce E. Slater
Rossi & Company Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
Susan, there are pockets of high phosphate fields underground (in Sarasota) in some areas this causes "pinhole" leaks in the piping. Although common in copper piping i have known it to occur in some homes with pvc piping. The water supply for the residence is then re-plumbed in the residence. This can be very costly. If you select a home that has been re plumbed it is a big factor similar to a new roof or new a/c.

Not all homes are affected by pinhole leaks.

Each area has their inherent issues. In Pinellas and Hillsborough sink holes are of concern. Some new home subdivisions were built on pasture lands and the trees are immature. Thus, you'll have to wait til they grow.

It is part of living in Florida.

Best regards,
Lynn Brock
Brock Realty Inc.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
Exactly like it sounds, New plumbing.... They should really use a better description the re-plumbed. Such as new pumbing throughout. You will see this alot in homes with slabs and homes near the ocean
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
The explanations of the others are good and informative. I would like to add a bit more about the issue. As stated, most of the "pinhole leaks" occurred below the foundation. These were often caused but corrosion of copper pipes by the acids contained in concrete. Sometimes they were cased by slight settling of a slab over time.

It is very rare that a repipe still uses PVC. The most commonly used piping for new construction and repipe plumbing is called PEX, made from high density polyethylene. It is run through the ceilings and walls making it more easily accessible in the event of a leak and more easily identifiable as hot and cold water lines use different color pipes, red for hot and blue for cold.

PEX is also easily adaptable to what is called a “manifold” system where each pipe enters a box, usually located in the garage, and is then distributed to different locations in the home. A huge benefit of this system is that each and every location has its own shut off valve at the manifold and a leak can quickly be isolated without having to crawl under a sink or squeeze behind a toilet.

If a leak is found in a foundation and requires a “repipe” or “re-plumb” it is not the end of the world. While it is not a cheap repair, it is usually not terribly expensive (although inconvenient) and will result in a far better plumbing installation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012

My understanding of "re-plumbed" (also known as re-piped) is when pipes that were once run through the foundation of a home have been rerouted overhead and down walls. Pipes run through the foundation of a home, especially if they are copper, are more susceptible to leaks. A re-piped home uses PVC.

I hope this is helpful!

Chad Gray PA, Realtor
Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

Clients think we have the Best Realtors in Fort Lauderdale! Check out their testimonials: http://luxurylivingfortlauderdale.com/what-clients-are-saying/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012

Homes in parts of Sarasota with copper plumbing experience corrosion which causes pinhole leaks. Because so much of the original copper plumbing in an older home is in the foundation slab, this causes major repair issues.

If you are looking for a home in our area, I have an "Advice" page on my website that covers most of the common issues and questions you could face as a homebuyer: http://www.davidbarrhomes.com/advice

Best regards,
David Barr, Broker Associate
Sandals Realty
Twitter: @sarasota_homes
Blog: homesinsarasota.blogspot.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
Re-plumbed means they replaced the plumbing in the home. There have been a lot of instances of pin-hole leaks in copper plumbing in this area. Here is a link to information on that in Sarasota County. http://naca-nokomis.com/copper.faqs.6.05.htm

Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Green Lion Realty, Port Charlotte, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 24, 2012
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