View Full Version : Re-plumb/ turn off water?

10-01-2009, 04:57 PM
I need some plumbing advice. I have a home in Virginia but I live in Florida. We just got a call from our neighbor, who checks on the house, that we had a pipe break. My husband hopped on a flight and is there now with a mold remediation company. House was built in the 70's and has copper pipes. A plumber also came out and had to fix pipes in 3 places. He says that we should consider replumbing the house. Im skeptical and don't know if that is really necessary but I might be wrong. How do you determine if it's one of those things that you have to do or if you should consider doing? And how much does a replumb typically cost?
Also, we were told to keep the water/electric on and keep the house above freezing in the winter to keep things like this from happening. The water is on a well pump so if we turn the electric off, we don't run the risk of having a never ending running pipe if one breaks. I guess my other question is what is the best way to protect our home from major leaks again from down here in Florida. We visit just a few times a year up there and don't want any more leaking pipes/broken pipes if we can help it. Thanks for any advice

10-01-2009, 06:06 PM
What type of heating system do you have? If it's not hot water or steam then turn the water off.


Ian Gills
10-01-2009, 06:35 PM
But you also may need to drain down the system. Any water in the pipes can freeze and cause damage, when you turn the water/power on again.

10-01-2009, 08:32 PM
I have been told by one person to keep the central heat /electric/hot water heater on and set the thermostat to @50 during the winter and another person told me to drain the pipes, drain the hot water heater and turn off the electric when we are not there and the pipes will not break. I had done the later and for some reason, the pipe still broke. Who know's? After talking to a few different contractors I am hearing that it is best to get rid of those copper pipes ( the house is @ 40 yrs old w/original pipes) and get the house replumbed with PVC and then drain/shut off everything when we are gone. Everyone I have talked to has told me that copper pipes keep having problems year after year and it is possible to have this kind of damage often. At this point I have an entire kitchen ceiling full of mold and thousands of dollars in damage. And I have heard that it will be @ $6,000 to replumb this house :(

Gary Swart
10-01-2009, 09:45 PM
Copper is the gold standard of pipes. PVC is not allowed for interior plumbing. CPVC is allowed, but plastic is a poor replacement for copper except when there are corrosive minerals in the water that react to copper. PEX is a product that is now being used often for repiping jobs. I would suggest a licensed plumbing contractor in the Virginia area be consulted. If your pipe froze and broke it was because there was water in them. The problem with winterizing pipes by draining them is that if there is a low spot, gravity will not drain the water from that spot. It takes compressed air to blow the pipes out and get them really empty. As far as how much it would cost to repipe the house, there is no way we can even guess. There are simply too many variables including local plumbing rates, size of house, difficulty in accessing all of the areas, and materials used. Always get at least three bids for any major job like this, but don't necessarily go with the lowest, especially if it is much lower. There's no free lunch. Also keep in mind that if a company really doesn't want the job, the may bid very high. Use a well established company with good referrals.

10-01-2009, 10:24 PM
Thank you for the advice everyone. I have several calls out but I still havent figured out if the pipes are bad enough that I will have to replumb. Wish me luck!

Ian Gills
10-02-2009, 03:51 AM
My house is 60 years old and I am still running the original copper without any problems.

10-02-2009, 07:42 AM
The question is WHY did the pipes break? If it was a freezing problem, then repiping may do little to remedy it. If it is because of an incompatibility between your water and the copper tubing, then repiping may be a consideration.