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Thread: New home - hybrid copper / cpvc or pex?

  1. #1

    Default New home - hybrid copper / cpvc or pex?

    Ok, long time lurker first time poster. No stranger to plumbing. Not my main occupation though.

    I'm building a new home right now. 3000ft, costs escalating, value declining. I'm in a bind. My bank has asked me to save money. But being an engineer, I refuse to compromise performance/quality.

    House is a 2 story, victorian replica. 2.5 bath, powder room first floor, two full baths second floor. The kids bath and powder room are directly above/below. The master bath is on the opposite side of the house. The kitchen is on the way to the master bath.
    The master bath has some high end fixtures / big garden tub / shower /etc.

    I'd planned to plumb completely in copper, and I prefer copper due to the antibacterial qualities, and longevity. However as you all know it's running at historic highs now. I would do pex as I am comfortable with it, but we have mice here and I've been told (and seen) that they think it's cheddar cheese. House is too expensive to lose to water damage.

    So what I've been considering is plumbing each bath area in copper as a bath group, so the copper would be in the walls, then feeding with pex or cpvc to the entry point in the basement of the bath group. If copper ever falls in price, I could replumb in the basement. This method would save me a few hundred feet of 3/4 or 1 inch copper pipe. (We're doing a recirculator for the master bath due to the distance, so there's an addditional pipe for return hot)

    Can anyone give opinions on this sort of arrangement?

  2. #2
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking you are skimping on your future

    their simply cant be that much difference between
    the copper and pex for your own home...

    so you spend another 800 for the better copper....

    2 dollars a foot compaired to 45c.

    yes its more expensive but it is your personal home

    If you have to save somewhere run the recirc line out
    of pex...


    If you are having to cut it that close,
    then just put in the pex wirsbo and coat it
    with some d-con for the mice..



    .

  3. #3

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    Dcon is pellets not powder.

    800 here, 1300 there, it's adding up fast. But penny wise and pound foolish is not smart either. Mice like to chew on pex.

    And it's a big difference in cost. 3/4 is 2.50 a ft here.
    I need probably 250 ft of the stuff.

    But thanks for the advise.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    If you do go with PEX just don't use this kind...



    Seriously, I wouldn't be all that concerned. One thing I take into consideration when I run pex is the paths that mice would typically follow. I try to run PEX in a manner where they would not travel. They are creatures of habit and its not all that difficult.

    Your house could be very nicely done in PEX! One thing I would consider is running to mini manifolds for each bathroom group with reciculation loops off each one controlled by an qccupancy sensor. These mini manifolds could be mounted in a box with an access panel in a nearby closet or, even in the wall behind a vanity with a cover. I would not run it home run from a basement manifold. To much of that spaggetti effect and impossible to set up recirculation.


  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I would go with the copper in the walls and PEX in the basement like you said.

    With the PEX ID smaller than copper you may want to run 1" instead of 3/4"...that will give you better flow.

  6. #6

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    With the smaller ID of the pex, when I want to get 3/4 copper gpm to a fixture, where do i find a pex manifold to do 3/4?

    Ugh. So many choices on this stuff.

  7. #7
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 86turbodsl View Post
    With the smaller ID of the pex, when I want to get 3/4 copper gpm to a fixture, where do i find a pex manifold to do 3/4?

    Ugh. So many choices on this stuff.

    But being an engineer, I refuse to compromise performance/quality.


    Why are you even drawing the line, why would you subject yourself to double work and not do it at one full swoop?


    I have no sympathy for anyone and their hardships when they try to cost cut on their mechanicals; you get what you deserve when things go wrong, mice come a runnin' a new sprinkler system in your basement.


    Being an engineer, provide clarity to this statement:

    I want to do half and half, maybe later put copper in when prices come down.


    So you'll do the task twice, waste that time and effort to do it one way to save a few bucks and then spend the time to do it the way you should of the first time and it be a memory????


    Think about what you're typing because as an engineer you should be hedging on performance and reliability, not "save a buck" antics that you know in your profession is wrong.

    I can't believe I had to type this kind of response out when you already answered your own question by nonchalantly letting the world know you're an engineer. If the bank is telling you to save money, keep the decision making solely at your discretion, nobody elses. Cheaping your mechanicals is a move that'll have you enjoying the lipstick and rouge of a property that has more problems than it's worth.
    Last edited by Dunbar Plumbing; 04-02-2008 at 06:49 AM.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  8. #8

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    and my alternative is I spend the best on everything mechanical and the house doesn't appraise at the cost to build and I lose it to foreclosure.

    Maybe I should have typed: I'm an engineer AND a pragmatist.

    I'm already cheaping out on everything else I can such as light fixtures, paint, flooring, whatever I can find that's not nailed down. And especially if I can easily change it to better quality later, which sealed in a wall would not be. My goal at this point is to finish the house and have it appraise high enough to not lose it.

    a year ago when we started, not a problem, but we lost 20% value in ONE YEAR!

  9. #9

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    My personal preference for my homes has always been copper. However, that has not always been the right decision where well water is acidic. Our current home had to be completely replumbed plastic due to acidic water.

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEW View Post
    My personal preference for my homes has always been copper. However, that has not always been the right decision where well water is acidic. Our current home had to be completely replumbed plastic due to acidic water.
    I have a lot of copper in my garage in barrels that has come out of the homes that you speak of... Its going to take that foul brew they have in their well a long time to eat through the PEX I installed. Water can eat copper better than any mouse could eat PEX.

    Is I stated in my earlier post... Know the habits of mice and you can run Pex in ways that it is highly unlikely that a mouse will ever chew on it! Here in Connecticut the field mice make an annual pilgramage to look for a warm home for the winter. Yep, Their here and I have no problems on ones I've installed...

  11. #11
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking if that is the case.....

    Quote Originally Posted by 86turbodsl View Post
    and my alternative is I spend the best on everything mechanical and the house doesn't appraise at the cost to build and I lose it to foreclosure.

    Maybe I should have typed: I'm an engineer AND a pragmatist.

    I'm already cheaping out on everything else I can such as light fixtures, paint, flooring, whatever I can find that's not nailed down. And especially if I can easily change it to better quality later, which sealed in a wall would not be. My goal at this point is to finish the house and have it appraise high enough to not lose it.

    a year ago when we started, not a problem, but we lost 20% value in ONE YEAR!


    It sounds like you have already got yourself into troubles,

    I hope its not as bad as the peopel out in california that had 650k , mortgages on their homes only to see the value of the homes sink down to 325k with the same huge bill to pay...

    I am sorry about your troubles but it sounds like you
    ought to plan on selling it before you lose it to forcolsure.... and its better to put the good stuff in
    instead of cheapening the place down too much...


    good luck either way

  12. #12

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    Build a smaller house.

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Rut Roh!


    Constable's coming!
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking I would not wish it on a dog

    I had a loser brother-in law that got in over their heads
    on a new house back in 93, right from the get go he was
    borrowing money from the in-laws to make light, heat and
    electric bills.. (lost his job before he ever moved in) ....

    instead of reading the writeing on the wall right in front
    of his nose and bail out while he could .,,,, he opted to stay in the house till the very last weekend.....

    they wouold be literally moveing all his stuff into storage
    on Monday morning with the Sheriff right there....

    So he lost all his equity in his home.....and the extending family had to move his sorry ass and his wife and kids into an apartment......for the next 7 years they stayed


    and then have to see them every x-mas and holiday after that.....

    nothing I would wish on anyone

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herk View Post
    Build a smaller house.
    You do realize that the shell is already up right? There's no way to downsize at this point. Only try to cut costs and make it work. Foreclosure is not an option!!! We need to make it work. The housing crisis was just getting out when we signed the papers. I asked about potential problems, was assured no issues. They're still saying I'm ok, since I have a high steady income and very good credit. Solid borrower. But they are getting nervous that the house won't appraise high enough to cover the note. We got appraised at 450K a year ago, now it's more like 350K. Michigan is tanking. It's going to be a ghost town here in 10 years, nobody but the deer and winos. And we did it to ourselves. Fat cats and union BS. Guys drunk on the job from Friday through Tuesday and terrible build quality. Toyota eating our lunch. American consumers just want top quality for a decent price. Hang onto your wallets. It'll roll down hill to the rest of the country later...

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