Upgrading plumbing

Asked by Shalabh Shankar, Fremont, CA Mon Aug 20, 2012

I know it is a broad question. But how much does it cost to upgrade plumbing from galvanized steel to either copper or PEX. i am looking at about a 3b 2b home ~1250 sq ft. Is PEX a good option at all?

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The Medford Team’s answer
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Aug 20, 2012
There are two primary companies here in the bay area that specialize in re-piping – they can do it faster and cheaper than any regular plumber I know because it is what they do all day long every day.

Repipe Specialists - http://www.repipespecialists.com
Repipe1 - http://www.repipeone.com

I have not used either company and therefore this does not constitute an endorsement, however, I’ve heard good reviews of both. They can give you prices on both copper and PEX.

While used in many other parts of the country with success for years, PEX has been slow to catch on in California because of opposition from the plumber’s unions. It takes considerably less time to install PEX, therefore unions have lobbied against it in an effort to keep plumbers employed using older, traditional methods. There are many key advantages to PEX:

1. Ease of installation – you only need one clear stretch of pipe from the manifold to the end supply device. Since it goes around corners and can be poked through tight spaces, numerous labor intensive joints are a thing of the past and it can be installed almost anywhere. Pipe is cut with shears rather than a saw or pipe cutter and fittings are crimped – it is a MUCH faster process.
2. Cost – copper is climbing in price every year.
3. Safety – anyone who has soldered any number of fittings knows about the vapor given off when soldering.
4. The manifold – since everything goes to one central location, it’s very easy to hook up new lines. This can also be a downside – it can mean longer runs than with copper resulting in a longer period of time to obtain hot water at the faucet.
5. Identification – color coded lines make it a snap to identify hot and cold, rather than the age old method of grabbing onto a hot pipe.
6. Pipe knock is eliminated.

Make sure permits are pulled and, if you choose PEX, you make sure it is approved in your local area.

As for cost, call both companies and ask them for a quote.
3 votes
Upgrading your plumbing can depend on the type of materials that you are installing and the company that you go through. You can always find a few plumbing repair companies and get a few quotes. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a good deal for what you are paying.
Flag Tue Dec 16, 2014
My wife and I just moved into a new home that has PEX plumbing. I really don't notice any difference, but I'm not sure what I would do if there was ever a leak. I usually do my own repairs on my house, but in this case, I would have to hire a plumber for sure. http://www.marvsplumbinginc.com/services.html
Flag Thu Nov 13, 2014
Thank you for clearing that up. I am going to be selling my home next year. I want to upgrade the plumbing, and I couldn't decide if I wanted PEX pipes. After reading your post, I have decided that it is the best option.

Flag Sat Nov 1, 2014
Wow, I never realized that it would be that cheap. I've been thinking about updating the plumbing in my house for a couple of weeks now. What exactly is PEX? Would that work better than copper? http://www.zapitdrains.com/
Flag Wed Oct 22, 2014
Thanks Carl. Clearly each system has it's pros and cons. Where it is used makes a difference. An just because PEX is less expensive, doesn't mean
your plumber will pass those savings on to you.

As with most things in construction; thoughtful planning is valuable in the future, while most construction is done on a get in and get out ASAP basis
with no concern for future maintenance repairs.

A key factor many are unaware of is that most building codes probably do not require original construction to prevent rodent or insect intrusion. I'm personally aware of at least two incidents where rats gnawed on CPVC fire sprinkler pipes and created major property damage.
Flag Tue Oct 21, 2014
I was curious about this sort of plumbing issue myself. We have a home that is over 100 years old. It still works pretty well, but we want to be ahead of potential problems.
Michael Foster http://www.beebeinc.com/Plumbing__Heating__Irrigation_Products_and_Par.html
Flag Wed Sep 10, 2014
I agree that it is so important that everyone has a good plumber. Accidents happen all the time and it's so nice to have a good plumber on hand that you know you can call. I hope you find the right plumber that will work best for you!

Dean Reese | http://www.centralmt.com/kalispell-plumber
Flag Tue Aug 26, 2014
mattdalek47, , Columbus, OH
Tue Mar 17, 2015
I would call in a professional plumbing company to look it over for you. They can give you a good idea of what you need and what it will cost. This is the best way to get a clear picture of the situation. Call a few local plumbing companies and see what they will charge to look at everything and what certifications they have.

1 vote
Sunil Sethi, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Oct 6, 2014
I know many of the new home builders are now using the PEX system, however one caution against it is rodents. If the home gets rodents and they decide to eat the PEX tubing (and I've heard stories about this), then be prepared to open walls for repairs. This problem doesn't ever happen with copper piping.
Web Reference:  http://www.sunilsethi.com
1 vote
Who would be able to best advise? I think I'd rather talk to a plumber than a home builder for something like this. If the piping is vulnerable to rodents, what else is it vulnerable to? And if it is damaged, the water and other liquid would leak all through the walls. It sounds like something to talk to a professional about.
| http://www.cranenewyork.com
Flag Mon Oct 27, 2014
Randybradfor…, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Tue May 19, 2015
Shalabh, it sounds like it could be important to shop around for the best price when looking to do some plumbing work like this. Being able to save some money while you work on things yourself seems like it might help you in the long run. I have a sister who needs some plumbing work done in her new house and this might be good advice for her as well. http://www.klostermanplumbing.com/our-services
0 votes
Arpad Racz, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon May 11, 2015
Carl had some good links that I have also looked into in the past.

All the best,

0 votes
garypuntman, , Los Angeles, CA
Mon May 11, 2015
I really want to do a bathroom renovation. I think it would be nice to find some people who can help me with this. I'm sure I'll need to find a plumber. How much did this end up costing you? http://www.blackburnbennett.com/services.html
0 votes
lewisremingt…, Home Owner, Rochester, NY
Mon May 4, 2015
I would call a few plumbing companies and ask them for a quote. Calling them directly will help you get the best idea for what the cost would be. This way you also get to start the process of choosing a company to do the work for you.
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Thu Apr 30, 2015
My parents would like to upgrade their plumbing as well this year. It sounds like a good idea to me since they live in an older home. For the both of you I would recommend finding a plumber and maybe getting a quote on it. http://www.dicksonplumbingservices.com.au/services
0 votes
Gary Birtles, , Scottsdale, AZ
Tue Mar 17, 2015
In this matter, it all depends on the company you buy materials from, and the amount you need. Another factor is whether or not you are taking on this project yourself. Obviously, if you are hiring someone to do the swap, this will increase cost. If you do hire someone though, they may be able to get parts for a lower cost. There are definite benefits to both options. http://www.rakeman.com/
0 votes
Jackson Will…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Mar 11, 2015
It's hard to say exactly how much it will cost. A lot of times you won't be charged solely for the job, but rather for the hourly work. If it takes a long time to fix, it's going to cost more money. You should look into getting a few quotes before going forward with this job.
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Sat Feb 21, 2015
My parents were doing some repairs and upgrades with the plumbing in their home not too long ago. They never mentioned anything to me about how much it cost them though. To get the most solid answer to your question I would recommend looking around to see if you can get a quote. http://www.eddiebplumbing.com/cinnaminson-nj-residential-plu…
0 votes
I agree with Kelsey, you are going to make sure that you get a quote. Upgrading your plumbing can be quite pricey now, but can save you a lot of money in the long run. There is nothing worse than having a pipe break. Then you'll have to deal with all kinds of problems with water damage. http://www.101industries.com/residential_heating_and_plumbing.html
Flag Tue Feb 24, 2015
Celine Sande…, Home Buyer, Walla Walla, WA
Tue Feb 10, 2015
I would call a couple local plumbing companies to see how much 1250 square feet would be. I don't know much about PEX, but copper is always a good idea. If you compared the prices between copper and PEX, you could come up with a much better educated decision of what's best for your house. Plus, you are even upgrading the resale value of your house when you do! Keep that in mind too if one costs a little more than the other to increase the resale value!
0 votes
Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Thu Feb 5, 2015
If you are wanting to upgrade your plumbing and want to know know the cost, it might be a good idea to just get some quotes from various plumbers. Since there will be quite a few different prices depending on what service you get, you'll want to compare. For the most part, it should be about the same, you just want to be sure that you get a good price and also good service. I would suggest for you to also look up the prices of the various plumbing systems to see what that should cost! http://www.billclarkeplumbingandheating.ca/en/plumbing.html
0 votes
Gerald Vonbe…, Home Buyer, Jackson Springs, NC
Tue Feb 3, 2015
It's pretty hard to say even a ballpark amount for the upgrade. The materials are probably going to be the same just about anywhere you go. You could potentially save some money on labor if you can find the right plumber. You don't want the lowest cost, because that will just give you bad plumbing work. However, if you find an experienced plumber, chances are that they'll have lower labor costs because they can do it more efficiently. http://www.battagliaplumbingservice.com.au
0 votes
Myersjulie31, Home Buyer, Blakeslee, PA
Tue Jan 27, 2015
One thing that will definitely vary for you is who you end up hiring. Each plumber will probably have a different price for this service. It might be a good idea to get a quote from a few options that you have, just so you can try to narrow down some options. I would also suggest that you look into both of these options for plumbing, and possibly do some research on what is more durable and long lasting! http://www.rameyplumbing.com
0 votes
Kelsey Compa…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Sat Nov 15, 2014
I don't know much at all about plumbing. I would like to get all my plumbing upgraded as well. I should start looking into the residential plumbers in my area. http://aaplumbing.com/residential-plumbing/
0 votes
Mark Leach, Home Buyer, Pine Bluff, AR
Thu Nov 13, 2014
I am thinking of replacing all of the plumbing in my entire house. Will that impact the value of my home? Also, I am wondering if I should have a water softner installed in my home, how will that impact the value of my home?
Mark Leach | http://www.heilplumbing.com/portfolio-item/fixtures/
0 votes
It depends on how big your house is and how hard it is to get to the pipes. I would get in contact with a contractor, because they should be able to tell you how much it would be to take out the current plumbing and put in a new one. That's a pretty good place to start. http://www.jubileeplumbinginc.com
Flag Mon Dec 15, 2014
John Connor, Home Buyer, Kansas City, MO
Wed Nov 12, 2014
I would call around to the different plumbing companies in the area and see what they are offering. You will have to find that best pricing option for yourself through calling and using referrals. I have found some pretty great deals by doing that. http://www.actionplumbingandheating.com/
0 votes
Calvin James, Home Buyer, Orem, UT
Thu Oct 30, 2014
I think PEX is the way to go. I am not a plumber but I have had great experience with it. We had it installed in our house 3 years ago. I think it costed us about $7000. http://www.davidsonsairandheat.com/plumbing.php
0 votes
Zach Thalman, , Midwest, WY
Thu Oct 30, 2014
I think depending on the area you live in, it will really depend on the price range. I would talk to a couple of potential plumbing contractors to see what they think of the project before you start. I like that you are wanting to finance first before you just buy into the work. It is really good to make sure you have the money before you start a project like this.

Zach | http://www.stephenspandh.com/plumbing-and-repair.php
0 votes
Jackson Will…, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Oct 29, 2014
This is something you should probably talk to a plumber about. Every plumbing job is going to be a little different and the cost will reflect that. I think your best option would be to talk to a few different plumbers and get an idea of the cost you'll have. They would also be able to tell you the major differences between copper and PEX.
0 votes
Amber Johnson, , Brookhaven, Raleigh, NC
Wed Oct 22, 2014
I think that it is very important to upgrade your plumbing if you can. I would fix any plumbing problems you have before trying to sell your house. I don't think any one want to have to deal with plumbing issues, especially in a new home. Best of luck! http://www.blackforestplumbing.com/markham.html
0 votes
Kevin Richey, Agent, St George, UT
Tue Oct 21, 2014
Sounds like Carl has a couple of good resources. I recommend using people that are referred by people you know and trust.
0 votes
Finding those who friends and family recommend is very wise. I would contact someone who can come over to your house and look. They could give you a very quick, accurate estimate of the cost.
Flag Thu Oct 23, 2014
Mark Leach, Home Buyer, Pine Bluff, AR
Wed Oct 15, 2014
Checking the pipes before moving into a home is important! It can really make your life a ton easier! I have nice water pressure now, and confidence that my pipes and home are healthy!

0 votes
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Tue Oct 14, 2014
issues are sunlight, and material attack by brass fitting.
More pros. I suggest you check with city see if they approve it or what the ASTM type is approved.
0 votes
Sam Shueh, , San Jose, CA
Sun Oct 12, 2014
yes, copper plumbing is recommended.
0 votes
Wally West, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Thu Oct 9, 2014
We had to upgrade our system. My wife and I moved into a new apartment that is not the best and when we needed to use the water, it was all brown. It was really gross. I had to call a plumber to come and get it fixed and cleaned out so that we could have drinking water and shower.

0 votes
Micah Matson, Agent, Athens, AL
Tue Jul 29, 2014
Pex is pretty common nowadays due to its cost vs copper cost and engineering upgrades. Ask people for recommendations on licensed plumbers. Check the BBB.
0 votes
Eugene Dean, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Tue Jul 29, 2014
I have galvanized steel pipes and want to replace them, as well. I know it is going to be an expensive upgrade, but I want to go with PEX. I am afraid that my old pipes have become corroded. Should I look for any special licenses or certifications when I am shopping for a contractor?

0 votes
Tim Schultz, Agent, Mankato, MN
Sun Dec 29, 2013
PEX is definitely a good option, as the labor costs are so much lower for installation.

Call a few local plumbers and ask them if they do free estimates. Then research the one you choose to make sure they have a good reputation in the area.

Good Luck!
0 votes
elijahali21, Home Buyer, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Nov 12, 2013
That all really depends. You need to call a professional, have them look at your house and they can give you an estimate. That is the safest route to go.
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Jun 12, 2013
cost also depends in large part on accessibility
0 votes
Shalabh Shan…, Home Buyer, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 22, 2012
Thanks everyone for your advice
0 votes
Shalabh Shan…, Home Buyer, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 22, 2012
Thanks Carl. for the contacts..
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Aug 20, 2012

You really need to have the person who is bidding the work to take the time to do a "site survey", so to speak.

I can recommend: Gary Confenti, Owner; A Good Plumber, Inc.

0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Aug 20, 2012
I have never use PEX, but we recently installed new plumbing into a large (1510 sq ft) 2BR 1 BA flat in the city and it was about $10K
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Mon Aug 20, 2012
Just exactly how would a contractor, (assuming that there are contractors on this Real Estate site), survey your plumbing and give you a quote without seeing your house.

Why don't you call a few plumbers and ask them.
0 votes
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