The term re-piping is defined as a “complete re-plumbing of the entire existing fresh water supply system serving a structure or property”. The complete replacement of the existing plumbing system begins at the main shut off to the building, and extends via hot and cold tubing to each fixture and appliance. Complete re-piping includes the following new items: water main shut off valves, hot and cold supply lines, supply line shut off on the water heater, shutoffs at each fixture, washing machine box with new valves, ice maker box, ice maker line, hose bibs with vacuum breakers, and hammer arrestors on appliance supply lines. In all parts of Florida, a permit and a Notice of Commencement are required for repiping projects.
The Repipe Process
Re-routing of the new water lines is usually done from the main water service line shut off, up thru the attic, and down each interior wall to reach each fixture or appliance. There usually involves some minor sheetrock repairs where access is necessary to make connections and route piping. Typical sheetrock access points are behind shower valves, behind toilet tanks, and inside cabinets under sinks. In some cases where fixtures are mounted on outside concrete block walls, piping may be run outside and then back into the building. When completed, the plumbing system is subject to testing, per code, with air pressure. This insures the new system is leak free before loading the system with pressurized water once again.
CPVC piping is plastic tubing utilizing plastic connections and glued joints. When exposed to the elements it must be painted to protect it from UV rays and deterioration.
PEX tubing is a cross – linked polyethylene with special links and formations between the molecules that create tubing more resistant to temperature extremes, chemical attack, and deformations. For over 40 years this tubing has been used in Europe for plumbing, hot water heating, and other heating and cooling systems. Its benefits include less fixtures overall, and over head. Although more expensive per foot than CPVC, its flexibility and durability reduce labor time and quantity of fittings.
The two most common repiping materials used are PEX Tubing and CPVC. Copper piping can be used as well, however; Master Plumbers does not recommend repiping with copper. Repiping with copper is cost prohibitive, labor intensive, and presents hazards when soldering in confined spaces.