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Thread: Inspections for DIY Copper Repipe

  1. #1

    Default Inspections for DIY Copper Repipe

    I've got some old galvanized water pipe in the basement I'd like to replace with copper. Since all the pipe is exposed, and the all the pipe going to the upper floors is already copper, I'm going to take on the job myself.

    I've never dealt with getting a permit or inspection before, and was wondering what the pros and cons of going through the permit/inspection process on a job like this would be for a DIYer. I'm not planning on doing anything that goes against code (though I would assume everyone says that), so is this even a necessary step?

    What benifits do I get from having the work inspected, other than confirming that the job was done to code?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    I don't know where you are but where I am the only time the inspectors want to inspect water pipe is on new construction. Existing pipe replacement is not inspected. Who would have/want leaking pipes in their house?

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Most homeowner and handyman repipes are wrong.

    Rather than sizing the system to code, they decide what size they want to work with. Whoever buys the home, has to live with it.
    If the piping is not thought out, it will have built in problems.

    In the Seattle area, most three bath homes have a 1-1/4" line coming in from the meter and most two bath homes have 1".
    http://www.terrylove.com/watersize.htm

    Shower valves are the pressure balanced type.

    The copper Piping must also be grounded to the electrical panel.

    Most places require a permit, to protect the homeowner, the future homeowner, your neighbors that share a common water suuply, and insurance companies.

    Third world countries don't have inspectors,
    They also have horrible plumbing.

    Some homeowners think that by copying the old sizing, that it will be right.
    Codes have undergone many changes over the years though.
    Last edited by Terry; 05-27-2006 at 11:38 AM.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default repipe

    Normally, any major revision to the house, including replacing the water heater and/or repiping the water system, require permits and inspections in order to insure that everything was done to code as far as sizing, and location is concerned.

  5. #5

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    sounds like a permit will be in order.

    If I do go ahead an do the repipe myself, do I risk not passing inspection if other parts of the plumbing system have been done incorrectly? or is the inspection only for the work that I've done? (There are a few related plumbing things that were already in place when I bought the house that might not be up to current codes... I'd assume the grandfather clause would cover them).

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    If you get a permit then you will also need a plumbing contractor to sign off on it. No reputable contractor will "sign off" unless they do the work themselves. Pipe sizing requirements work hand in hand with available water pressure. The problem with replacing the existing with the same pipe size is (1) has there been any fixture unit values added since the original construction? (2) what if you plan on adding existing FU in the future? Generally speaking water requirements have reduced since the requirement of water saving fixtures (1.6 gallon toilets, ect). If you do it yourself make sure you do proper research and do it correctly. If you cannot do it correctly then pay someone that can.

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default inspection

    Normally the inspection only covers the new work you did, unless there are some obvious safety errors somewhere in the original system. Then they would have to be repaired. If the city gives you the permit to do it yourself, then you would not need a contractor to sign off or verify the work done.

  8. #8

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    What is the best place to turn to if/when questions arise concerning following proper code?

    the library?
    the inspection office?
    internet forums?
    a licensed plumber?

    While I am familier with the basic plumbing code issues covered in most plumbing books, what about the specifics?

    I would assume just doing what I think is right would probably be a bad idea.

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    The local authority (plumbing inspector) in your area has the final say. They are usually tied to the health department services in your community.

    Call them before 9am in the mornings mon-fri to get the answers you need for your particular situation.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

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