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plumbing tools and blueprints

Does the plumbing system in your home have leaks, faults, and bad connections that need fixing? Are you preparing to sell your old Sacramento home and are worried that antiquated plumbing may be a sticking point for potential buyers?  Or perhaps you just want to update the piping in your home to meet the current California plumbing code.

Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to repipe your home 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.

Of course, 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 an  expensive waste of time if a pre-existing problem simply causes another break within a 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 since the average lows in winter are only 40 ̊F. However,  with highs of over 90 ̊F in summer, this extreme temperature change can cause pipe materials to expand or contract, loosening connections or even causing a burst.

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 may be better off letting a repiping specialist handle the job from the start).

Budget the Cost of Available Materials

How much does it actually cost to repipe a home? 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 the costs when repiping your home will be 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. For many metal pipes, such as copper, you can even recycle the old material or sell it off to recoup some of your expenses.

Assess the Size of the Project

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 may change depending on what material the old piping was made of.

Pro Tip: 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. 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. Again, in most instances, hiring a professional plumber to replace the pipes is the best way to ensure that you avoid potential problems.

Test Your New System

Even with the assistance of a professional inspector, it is good to know what you should look for after a home improvement project as large as repiping your home. Pressure testing is the most efficient way to make sure there are not any leaks present. Fill your pipes with pressurized air, around 80 psi for most water systems, and watch for any pressure reduction after turning the compressor off for 15 minutes. While you wait, do a visual check and see if you can spot any water dipping.

In the instance of repiping in order to sell your home, it’s not a bad idea to take photos of your work. You’ll have a reference to your excellent work hidden behind the walls and under the floors. It will also be a great guide in case there are any future plumbing problems.

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 a daunting task, but it is not one that you should have to go through alone. Securing assistance from a team of Sacramento based repiping specialists can make repiping your home much less stressful and time-consuming.

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