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Thread: PEX install on older home using too small diameter pipe?

  1. #16
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pexhouse View Post

    total: 21.5

    looks like 1" from meter through trunk of the house?

    He'll have a coronary if he has to dig up the yard at his cost. Might get interesting.
    I always run 1" on a 3/4" meter for a two bath home. It could be different in your town though.
    The labor is the same.

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    DIY Senior Member houptee's Avatar
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    Did you have a written contract for this job or was it all verbal?
    The scope of work in the contract should have described what was going to be done and who was responsible for the permit fees etc.
    In NJ any type of home improvement work over $500 requires a written contract with the contractors license number on it.
    It sounds like you made a verbal deal with the low ball guy and no contract or permits were pulled?

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    Quote Originally Posted by houptee View Post
    Did you have a written contract for this job or was it all verbal?
    The scope of work in the contract should have described what was going to be done and who was responsible for the permit fees etc.
    In NJ any type of home improvement work over $500 requires a written contract with the contractors license number on it.
    It sounds like you made a verbal deal with the low ball guy and no contract or permits were pulled?
    It was verbal but in reality he did pretty much what he said he was going to do. He told me in the past that permits are included in the price. Never heard anything about a written contract for over $500 or anything of the sort where I'm at. I asked questions but 'assumed' based on the answers I guess. For instance, I asked him 1" or 3/4" for the service from the meter so I assumed his answer of 3/4" meant 3/4" all the way into the house and the water heater! It never in a million years would have occurred to me they would be different, iow go from a large pipe down to one 2/3 the size before it even gets to anything. oh well. live and learn.

    I called the inspector and he said some here are plumbed with a main trunk of 3/8". He said there's a formula for figuring up the fixture units for the size of that and he'll have to do that when he gets in the office tomorrow (I called him at home) and has the books in front of him. He also said he'd look up the permits when he gets there.

    I'm feeling that how it is now is the way it's going to be staying but we'll see.

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    Ok the inspector came out and took a look. He looked up in the code and can't find anything in it that shows it should be 3/4" and that includes the fixture units. He thinks it would have been better and a good idea to make the trunk bigger but he can't force them on his opinion if it's not in the code.

    Seems I'm at a dead end.

    Oh well

  5. #20
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pexhouse View Post
    Ok the inspector came out and took a look. He looked up in the code and can't find anything in it that shows it should be 3/4" and that includes the fixture units. He thinks it would have been better and a good idea to make the trunk bigger but he can't force them on his opinion if it's not in the code.

    Seems I'm at a dead end.

    Oh well
    It sure makes me appreciate Washington State, where inspectors don't have to "think" and "read about it" to know how to plumb water to a two bath home.
    That's stuf you know in the first few months. It would be interesting to see if he can pass our commerical plumbers test here.

    I guess all that thinking is making the gray matter sizzle.

    I think we need pictures, at least of how they hooked up the water heater for our "bad plumbing" page.

    I'm beginning to think that your inspector would be right at home in places like Mexico. Though I have seen better plumbing in the resorts there than what you have.

    E201.1 Size of water-service mains, branch mains and risers. The minimum size water service pipe shall be 3/4 inch

    In real world usage, what happens now when you are in the shower, and others are doing things like flushing a toilet, or filling a pot in the kitchen?

    Looking up the 2006 IPC
    Pressure range 50-60 PSI
    Length from meter, 80 feet.

    Hot fixture units, 5.0 for two bath home
    Cold fixture units, 7.4 for two bath home without outside hosbibs.

    Allowed fixture units on 1/2 pipe 2.5
    Allowed fixture units on 3/4" pipe 9.5
    Allowed fixture units on 1" pipe, 32

    According to the IPC chart, your home "requires" 3/4" to the water heater, and 3/4" out until you reach both bathrooms.
    The inspector is wrong.

    The UPC used a different chart, but both the IPC and the UPC would "require" that the water heater be plumbed with 3/4" and that the two bathroom sets be plumbed with 3/4" for the cold before you branch off for the toilet.

    By the way. Code is the minimum requirement. You would think an inspector would "know" what those are.

    Last edited by Terry; 02-11-2014 at 05:08 PM.

  6. #21
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; He didn't know that and went and got 1/2" PEX, copper and galvanized off his truck and sure enough it is much smaller. He said he'd do 3/4" if I wanted it but that would be extra $$$$. He said going to 3/4" wouldn't help the pressure or flow at all.

    It will not help the STATIC pressure, but will help the dynamic pressure AND flow. Using geometry, a 3/4" PEX pipe has TWICE the volume of a 1/2" one, and a 1" pipe would have FOUR times the volume. If he didn't know the difference between 1/2" galvanized, copper, and PEX, then that is why he doesn't know how changing the pipes would be an improvement. Here, if you contacted the Registrar of Contractors, they would MAKE him install the correct size at NO extra cost, once the smaller piping was installed. I know our code, and I am sure it is the same where you are, specifies 3/4" piping TO THE WATER HEAtER.
    Last edited by hj; 02-07-2014 at 05:42 PM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #22
    DIY Senior Member houptee's Avatar
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    Why did your friend the inspector have to come take a look?
    It should have been inspected once already and passed or failed if the plumber pulled a permit.
    In NJ it even says on the back of the permit you hang in the window of your house: Final payment to contractors should not be made until a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, pursuant to NJ State Law 13:45A-16.2

  8. #23
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    quote; He'll have a coronary if he has to dig up the yard at his cost.

    That's what he gets for giving you a lowball figure. Your inspector must have been one of those inept contractors who went broke and decided to go to work for the city.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  9. #24
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    Hard to believe a licensed plumber doesn't know that there is a difference in ID's between galvanized, copper and Pex.

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    In real world usage, what happens now when you are in the shower, and others are doing things like flushing a toilet, or filling a pot in the kitchen?
    It's all OK when just one thing is running. I say OK but in reality I've never seen everything in this house run with a large, clean pipe so not sure if one thing running would work even better with a larger pipe. Currently from what I see where it starts to have problems is when more than one thing is open and turned on. A good demonstration of this is turning on the shower and washing machine at the same time while I turn on and off the hot water on the main bathroom sink. Doing this I can make the water dance like it's the water display in front of the Bellagio hotel in Vegas.

    After Terry's Friday post above I was up till 1am Saturday and spent much of yesterday printing pages off and reading the IPC. I am going to post my figures and a graph I have drawn up of my house to hopefully give an indication if I understand and have done this correctly. My community uses IPC 2009 so that is what this is based from unless noted.

    First from TABLE E103.3(2) here: http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...ppe_sec003.htm



    TOTAL WFSU
    ---------------------------
    Bathroom Group - 3.6
    Water closet - 2.2
    Lavatory - 0.7
    Kitchen Sink - 1.4
    Dishwasher - 1.4
    Washing Machine- 1.4
    Hose Bibb - 2.5 (Figure from IRC 2012 TABLE P2903.6 http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic..._29_par034.htm)
    Hose Bibb - 2.5 (Figure from IRC 2012 TABLE P2903.6 http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic..._29_par034.htm)
    Total: 15.7

    HOT WFSU
    ---------------------------
    Bathroom Group - 1.5
    Lavatory - 0.5
    Kitchen Sink - 1.0
    Dishwasher - 1.4
    Washing Machine- 1.0
    Total: 5.4

    Following calculations based from here: http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...ppe_sec004.htm

    MAXIMUM DEVELOPED LENGTH
    -------------------------------------
    Meter to front of house - 32'
    Front of house to water heater - 49'
    Water heater to furthest hot faucet - 32'
    Total: 113'
    multiplied by 1.2 for fittings loss = 136'



    TABLE E201.1
    Based on the 150' "Maximum Developmental Length" column and WFSU of 15.7, 1/2" pipe is up to 1.5 (too small), 3/4" is up to 6.5 (too small), but 1" pipe is up to 25 so the main distribution pipe in my house, according to code, would be 1". Would that be a 1" line all the way to the water heater?

    Based on the same "Maximum Developmental Length" of 150' and a hot WFSU of 5.4, 1/2" pipe is up to 1.5 (too small), 3/4" is up to 6.5 so my hot water main line from the water heater would require 3/4" to meet code. If I did do this correctly I do have one question. Once the main hot passes the dishwasher, kitchen sink and washing machine, it just goes to the 2 bathrooms that have a WFSU of 2. Does that mean the 3/4" changes to 1/2" on it's way to the bathroom or does it stay 3/4" for the entirety of its run? One thing I am worried about if 3/4" is taken all the way to the bathrooms is that the hot water will take longer to get there. That is one thing that is MUCH improved since the new lines is the hot water getting to the bathrooms much quicker. I'm assuming that's because it's a small 1/2' PEX pipe that is flushed of cold water quickly when a hot tap is opened.

    Also of note is the plumber used a mini-branch and put the cold shower and main bath toilet on the same run. Since a toilet is 2.2 and shower is 1 that would equal 3.2 and would be a code violation (maximum of 1.5 on 1/2" @ MDL of 150') and that branch should be changed to 3/4".

    Here's a drawing of the plumbing layout of my house:



    http://imageshack.com/a/img835/8051/uqiv.jpg


    Thanks for the help everyone!
    Last edited by Terry; 02-10-2014 at 10:30 PM. Reason: Changed 3 to 1.5 in the first sentence in the hot water paragraph

  11. #26
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    For starters, let me say how proud I am of you. You have taken this information and run with it.

    TABLE E201.1
    Based on the 150' "Maximum Developmental Length" column and WFSU of 15.7, 1/2" pipe is up to 3 (too small), 3/4" is up to 6.5 (too small), but 1" pipe is up to 25 so the main distribution pipe in my house, according to code, would be 1". Would that be a 1" line all the way to the water heater?
    It would be 1" from the meter, and for most of the cold in the home. Since the water heater is only concerned with the hot, 3/4" is enough for that.
    I'm still a bit tired from skiing today, so I would want more time to go over the calculations. You are very close to a perfect understanding of this though. When you and I get this totally figured out, it would be interesting to contact your local newspaper with this information. I think it's very important for your community that people realize that the building department is not sticking up for the rights of the homeowners there. This is big!

  12. #27
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    Thanks

    One thing I am not sure on is my understanding of your saying the line from the meter needing to be 1" and not 3/4". I was reading the third row to mean 3/4" service pipe from the meter to the front of the house and 1" distribution pipe under the house for the main trunk.

    It would seem logical to make it 1" but I'm not seeing how that is specifically stated in the code.

  13. #28
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Let me play with that tonight.
    I have some plumbing I need to get to. Throwing in some HansGrohe stuff.

  14. #29
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    I'm mainly clear (imho) on everything except what the pipe under the front lawn (water meter to the front of the house) should be (in reference to the 1" you stated above). I think this is because I am confused by the terms due to me not being a plumber.

    To put it simply I thought on these charts http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...ppe_sec004.htm the "METER AND SERVICE PIPE" meant from the water meter to the front of the house and "DISTRIBUTION PIPE" meant the main pipe under the home (on it's way to the water heater). That was how I took it from the IPC2009 definitions page. However on your page here http://www.terrylove.com/watersize.htm it's implying that the first column is something else while the second column is basically everything from the water meter to the water heater. Thus on the IPC2009 page linked above it would mean all the main pipes would be 1" (like you previously stated). I admit that seems to make more sense but I still want to make sure I 100% understand this when I go to the inspector.

    That would make more sense with some of what I was reading. For instance on the IPC page linked above point .5 last sentence reads, "In no case does the size of any branch or main need to be larger that the size of the main distribution pipe to the building established in Step 4." (bolding mine) That makes it sound like it's under the lawn, or includes what's under the lawn, as well as the entire sentence to me implies that whats under the house can't be larger than what is under the lawn from the meter.

    If that's true then the size (currently 3/4") under the lawn needs to be 1".

    ug...hours of looking over the codes and trying to figure it all out makes me look like this:

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  15. #30
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    The Medium pressure chart
    3/4" Water Meter
    1" line from meter to home.
    1" cold main line
    3/4" cold to water heater
    3/4" hot from water heater until it reaches the bathroom groups.




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