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Copper Repiping

Question: I just purchased an older home that has galvanized water pipe throughout. I will be renovating the kitchen and bathrooms but I had not considered replacing the galvanized water pipes. I have looked at the pipes and they seem to be in good shape and I generally work on the principle if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! But, some articles I have read suggest that the galvanized piping should be replaced with copper. What are your thoughts?

Answer: I also believe in the philosophy that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, in your case, you stated that you are planning on renovating the kitchen and bathroom and because of this I would replace the galvanized water pipes with copper.

With galvanized plumbing it is really not will it eventually break, but when will it break.

You or your plumber is going to have to do some work on the current galvanized water pipes in order to complete the renovations. One thing that I have experienced is that once you start working with old galvanized plumbing that is when the problems start to occur. Working with the galvanized fittings will cause stresses on other sections of the pipe and if there are weak joints, that additional stress may be all that is required to create additional problems with the galvanized water pipes.

You did not say if it is a one story or multi-story home and whether or not the basement is finished, if in fact there is a basement. All of these items will have an effect on the cost of copper repiping. The key to the cost is not really in installing the new copper pipe, but in the access to the galvanized pipe and the ability to run new copper pipes. How much plaster or drywall repair will be required?

It should be noted that there is no reason that the old galvanized pipe cannot remain in the walls, if there is a simpler solution to run the new copper pipe.



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