Here is the situation:

Water softener blew up. So i figure i might as well correct any other issues at the same time.

Here is what it all looks like now:

Now, what i want to accomplish:

- Frame out the wall with 2 x 6 metal/steel studs
- replace all the valves with ball valves
- place all plumbing in the new wall and insulate the wall
- tee off before water softener for outside spigot so i stop wasting softened water
- replace water softener in roughly same place

Here is a sketch of my plans:

- BLACK LINES are where the studs will be, approximately
- BLUE DOTS are where new valves will be
- RED SQUARES are where i will put "access panels" which will be the cold air return vents

Around the water meter, i figure i will leave that whole area open. Other ideas? Should i stuff insulation behind it? How much space should i leave around the water meter when i frame the wall?

Speaking of insulation, any of you ever see inexpensive insulation that i could leave exposed, instead of having to drywall this wall? Eventually this wall will be in a mechanical room/closet, so it will not be seen.

Finally, i've never drilled through the top plate or bottom plate of a steel stud - any tricks i should know of? I should just aim for the center and drill, correct?

Any problems you see (besides spacing issues of studs - its hard to mock up in "Paint")?