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plumbing tools and blueprints

Does the plumbing system in your Sacramento area home have issues? Is the system riddled with leaks, faults, and bad connections? Or, are you preparing to sell your old Sacramento home and are worried that antiquated pipes may be a sore point for potential buyers in a tough housing market? Maybe you just want to update the piping in your home to something new that meets the current California plumbing code.

Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to renew your home’s piping and take charge of critical home maintenance issues.

Identify the Locations of Your Pipes

If you want to do a thorough repiping of your home, you are going to have to study your home's blueprints. Many of the pipes in your home are located beneath flooring and behind walls, so you need to know how much structural renovation may be necessary in order to access the plumbing.

Obviously, before you start tearing into walls and floors, you’ll want to clear furniture, electronics, and other valuables from the rooms where you will be working on pipes. If you have the space, store these items in a room with no water pipes running through it; otherwise, you may have to rent a storage unit for these items while you work on the house. 

If you need to replace your main sewer line or water supply line, you should consider whether or not a trenchless solution is viable. Trenchless technology makes it possible to replace and refurbish existing lines with minimal disruption to your property. If you decide to pursue a trenchless solution, you’ll need to contact an experienced plumbing contractor familiar with trenchless technology.

Where do I Start?

Before you shut off your water supply, you need to inspect the old pipes for signs of wear such as leaks or corrosion. Determine what caused the initial failure, whether it was natural wear and tear from decades of use, a sudden burst caused by an outside force, or corrosion from a problem with the water supply itself. Going through the process of stripping out your existing plumbing and replacing it is going to be one very expensive waste of time if a pre-existing problem simply causes another break within the next year.

 Only by knowing what caused the initial failure can you be certain to prevent it from happening again. For example, if a contaminant in your water supply was causing the pre-existing pipe material to corrode early, then you need to find and fix the source of the contamination to prevent it from ruining the new pipes as well.

Pipes may also burst due to excessively low or high temperatures. Many Sacramento homeowners might discount the possibility of freezing causing a pipe to burst, since the average low temperature in winter is only 40 ̊F in winter, but with highs of over 90 ̊F in summer, the temperature change can cause certain pipe materials to expand or contract. This expansion and contraction can in turn loosen connections or even cause a burst in extreme cases. 

By knowing the cause of the old plumbing’s failure, you can address the underlying issues when replacing the pipe by selecting materials that are more resistant to those specific forms of damage or by taking other appropriate measures to prevent a repeat of the previous disaster. If you can’t determine what caused the fault, don’t hesitate to reach out for an expert opinion (in fact, you’ll probably be better off in the long run letting a professional handle the job from the start).

Assess the Cost of Available Materials

Consult with a plumbing expert to determine what materials are approved for use in your Sacramento home or business, and determine how much material you will need. A large part of your costs in repiping the house is going to be simply obtaining enough material to replace the existing pipe. Also, you may wish to use materials that are specifically resistant to whatever factors caused problems previously.

Measure the existing connections for their length, but don’t rely on these measurements alone. Sometimes, especially in older homes, the pipes may have been installed incorrectly, and you may need to completely rework the arrangement of the new pipes. If you are planning on selling the home, you MUST install new fixtures according to the current plumbing code. This may mean you will have to purchase wider diameter pipes, or you may have to purchase more length of pipe than was originally installed. Even if you are doing a DIY job, you may want to ask a professional contractor for assistance in evaluating your plumbing system and designing your new layout.

Remove the Old Pipes

Now that you have your new pipe and a layout for installing it, you can finally shut off the water to your home and begin removing the old pipes. The specific tools you need for the job of removing the old pipes may change depending on what material the old piping was made of. For many metal pipes, such as copper, you can even recycle the old material or sell it off to recoup some of your expenses.

To protect your floors, lay out some heavy-duty mats to prevent water damage and keep drywall dust and other debris from collecting on your carpeting, wood, or tile.

Start Repiping

Your specific instructions for this process will vary based on the materials you use and the specific provisions of the California plumbing code at the time of your installation. Again, in most instances, hiring a professional plumber to replace the pipes is the best way to ensure that you avoid potential problems. Once finished, you will need a certified inspection performed to verify that all the pipes are in working order and are up to code before sealing up the walls.

Once your pipes have passed inspection, you can begin the process of repairing the damage done to your walls and/or floors. You can take advantage of this opportunity to inspect the space between your walls by checking for holes or gaps, and sealing them with foam to improve your home's insulation and prevent insect intrusion.

Repiping your house can be an extraordinarily trying experience, but it is not one that you should have to go through alone. Securing assistance from a team of highly qualified Sacramento sewer & drain experts can make repiping your home much less stressful and time consuming.

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Topics: Plumbing Tips, Inspection, How To, Preventative, Trenchless Technology, Pipe Lining, Relined, Inspection