Copper repiping is an important maintenance service for houses or buildings that have outdated, damaged pipes in need of replacement. As the name suggests, the process of copper repiping consists of replacing old rotted pipes with new pipes made of copper. This service becomes necessary when pipes installed more than twenty-five years ago become damaged.
Most pipes installed twenty-five or more years ago are made of iron. These pipes, commonly known as galvanized pipes, have a zinc lining that effectively prevents rusting within the pipes. As time goes on and water continuously travels through the pipes, the zinc eventually wears away and the iron is exposed. Once this has happened, the galvanized pipes become rusty and eventually begin to erode, which brings with it a number of problems that must be addressed and repaired via copper repiping.
Most people do not know that they are in need of new pipes until it is too late and the pipes are severely damaged. However, there are some indications that will allow one to tell if one’s home or building has damaged galvanized pipes:
- A decrease in water pressure. This is usually the first warning sign that people tend to notice. A significantly weaker stream of water from the garden hose, the faucet, and/or the showerhead is a clear sign of a decrease in water pressure. At this point a mere inconvenience, this is usually an early warning sign that the pipes are in need of replacing.
- There is a nasty odor that comes from the tap. This is a result of the rust that has built up on the inside of the outdated galvanized pipes. The running water is carrying the rust out through the tap and causing the stench.
- The water becomes discolored. This is also a result of the rust buildup in the pipes. The rust becomes mingled with the water as it travels through the pipes and out of the tap.
- The pipes begin to leak. This is the surest way of telling that one’s plumbing is in need of repair. In dramatic cases pipes may end up bursting, which can lead to damage to the house or building that needs repairing. The above three warning signs are much better at narrowing the list of potential problems down to the need for copper repiping.
If one experiences any of these warning signs, chances are good that the pipes are deteriorating and a copper repiping is needed in the near future. Copper repiping is the best response to these problems because of copper’s lightweight nature and its resistance to rust (which is a must for running water). Copper is also the preferred material because it is malleable and easy to bend into place if it does not fit exactly.
Copper repiping is by no means a simple job: it is a lengthy task that is best suited to experienced, professional plumbers. As such, there are a few basic steps to the process:
- The site must be inspected by a professional plumber, after which he will give an estimate of the cost of the job.
- After the client accepts the estimate, the plumber is typically given a 50% deposit. He then proceeds to map the pipe system within the house or building.
- After all of the materials are ordered, the site is prepared for work, the walls containing the pipes are cut open and the galvanized pipes removed. During this step one should expect to be without water for about 1-3 days.
- The copper pipes are installed and then tested.
- The walls are repaired and repainted, which marks the end of the job and the plumber is paid the remainder of his wages.
The benefits of copper repiping are numerous, should one choose to do so. The most obvious benefit is the negation of the risks that rusty pipes bring. With copper pipes, one is able to enjoy fresh water with the peace of mind that the water is clean. Copper repiping also negates the risk of leaky or burst pipes. With no leaks, one’s water pressure will be higher than before. Furthermore, one can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in plumbing repairs if one acts before a pipe bursts.
In conclusion, copper repiping is an important maintenance service for replacing faulty galvanized pipes. The rust-resistant nature of copper pipe makes it a superior replacement to galvanized pipe, which eventually erodes and causes the water to become contaminated, discolored and stink. With the proper planning and finances, a copper repiping can effectively save money while averting damage to one’s pipes or home.