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Water Service Installation, Repair & Maintenance (re-pipe)

WATER SERVICE INSTALLATION

Your main water line runs underground from the street to your home and is the main supply of domestic potable water. Some symptoms of a main waterline that needs replacement are unusually high water bill, wet spots in your landscape that never seem to dry up, and or but not limited to restricted water flow and discolored water.

Lovett uses special equipment and up to date trenchless technology to replace your deteriorating and unreliable existing water supply line with long lasting, reliable and durable pipe. Lovett prefers to use PEX pipe because of its proven track record for durability, reliability and longevity.

PEX is an acronym for cross-linked polyethylene. The “PE” refers to the raw material used to make PEX (Polyethylene), and the “X” refers to the cross-linking of the polyethylene across its molecular chains. The molecular chains are linked into a three-dimensional network that makes PEX remarkably durable within a wide range of temperatures, pressures and chemicals. It can also stretch to accommodate the expansion of freezing water and then return to its original size when water thaws. Although it is highly freeze-resistant, no material is freeze-break proof.

The replacement of an existing metallic water line with non-metallic piping may compromise the electrical grounding system on existing older building (built prior to 1975) if the metallic water line was used as the only source of grounding. Without a proper service ground, a short circuit may not trip the safety fuse or circuit breaker which could lead to appliance damage, fire or a serious electrical shock.

On all permit applications for water line replacements, both the plumbing contractor and homeowner must be notified that no final plumbing inspection will be approved until it has been verified that the grounding system has been maintained or a new grounding system has been installed. Verification may be through past permit records. The installation of a replacement grounding system must be done under the benefit of an electrical permit and inspection.

WATER PIPE & REPIPE SPECIALISTS

When considering installing new water pipes in your home or otherwise known as a “repipe”, there are more than a few things to consider and or questions that you should have answers to before doing so. Your Water Pipe and Repipe Specialists in Portland, Oregon would like to share a few.

How do I know if I need a repipe?

  1. Poor water pressure or volume
  2. Leaking or corroded pipes
  3. Rusty discolored water
  4. Your existing pipes are galvanized steel
  5. You experience problems when running more than one fixture.

Poor water pressure most often is the term used to describe what actually low water volume is. The major contributing factor to poor water volume is the rust and corrosion causing the inside diameter of the pipe to close off much like ageing arteries in a heart. Adding to the problem is the constant flow of debris that flow through an aging potable water plumbing system. As water pipes age (especially steel pipes) corrosion and rust deposits form and cling to the inner walls of the pipes slowly constricting the inside diameter and limiting the amount of water or GPM (gallons per minute) that can flow through it. These deposits can and often break loose and flow to fixtures clogging the orifices that supply the fixture with water. Consider that the water supply fixtures being manufactured today are built with current technology and materials in mind. They are designed to work with newer piping materials such as plastics and other materials that don’t corrode like steel and copper. Today’s plumbing and water supply fixtures are built and manufactured to exacting standards with very close tolerances. They are extremely sensitive to any sort of debris; they can clog and or malfunction from it. Also the rust within the pipes is transferred to your water that you are bathing with or worse, drinking. Eventually the rust will eat completely through the iron pipe and you will experience leaks.

If your pipes have signs of corrosion on the outside that is usually a good indicator that the interior of the pipe has weakened or become so thin that the pressurized water inside is actually weeping out. This often occurs atthe joints that connect the pipe together and can also occur randomly in various locations throughout the entire system. Keep in mind most plumbing systems are installed inside the walls, ceilings, attics and crawl spaces of your home so this visual indicator might not be available, however it doesn’t mean its not happening!

If you’re copper piping (or any piping for that manner) is continually springing leaks in different areas there may be different reasons why. Depending on the type of copper that was put into your home when it was first built or remodeled, the builder may have used a low quality copper. For Example a type M copper is thinner than a type L copper and type K is the thickest. The vast majority of homes that have copper piping are plumbed using type M copper; unless it was a custom built home even then it would have had to be specified by the builder. Type M copper meets most code requirements and is cheaper than other types. Codes however are minimum standards that must be upheld in order to protect people’s safety and the integrity of mechanical systems and structures. There are lots of options in the construction industry that far exceed minimum standards. But due to the fact that cost is most often the major influence when structures are built, code or minimum standards are what are adhered to. Most often another reason is the chemical composition of your water may actually over time eat away at the copper piping depending on how aggressive the makeup of the water is. If the water in your area is a very aggressive solution, you may have over time thinner wall on your piping making leaks and a repipe inevitable.

Rusty or discolored water is usually a very clear indicator that your water pipes are corroding inside at an accelerated rate. The color is actually microscopic mineral deposits in the water. It is not healthy to be drinking water from these old rusted pipes. Also, it limits the amount of water flow and can cause other problems in other parts of your house as well. You can think of this rust as cholesterol for you pipes.

Illegal piping unfortunately is another contributing factor that could force one to be considering a repipe of the pressurized potable water system. – It’s a sad truth that many contractors (including licensed ones) sometimes put in piping that is illegal and not up to building code. There is usually a reason this piping is not legal and should be taken seriously as it may be a hazard. Many times people never know until they get some work done or try to sell their home and find they can sell it because of the hazard this piping creates.

What Should I Repipe My Home With?
Great question. Generally the most common way to repipe your home is to replace all the existing pipes with Pex pipe. It is the material of choice amongst most professional plumbing contractors today. All pex is not the same however there are different classifications and various fastening systems to connect it all together. Do your home work, ask around. There is lot information available on the internet these days explaining the differences. More info about specific information on PEX piping can be found at: http://www.pexinfo.com

Note: there are some reports of health hazards of older people becoming sick from copper piping that you can read at the following: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1245202/Copper-pipes-cause-Alzheimers-heart-disease-people-50.html

Lastly when you’ve decided take on a project like re-piping your home and send it out to bid, be sure you are comparing “apples to apples”. The following are some questions that you should get answered and compared to. Often overlooked is who’s going to repair the walls and ceilings that must be opened and removed to install these new pipes. This is very important cause when it’s all said and done the finished repaired wall or sheetrock is what you will see and can get pretty expensive depending where and how much there is. What system will be used for terminating the pipe and how will it be mounted? I.e. the pipes that poke out of the wall those serve the homes fixtures and appliances. There are many different ways to do it, remember that “code” is a minimum standard. A little extra time and money can go a long way to far exceed minimum standards. The warranty is very important also,compare written warranties between companies. What kind of shut off valves will be used? Are the proper permits getting pulled for the job, very important!! Permits protect you, your home and your family. Does your plumbing contractor have all the proper licenses and insurance requirements?

There are many other reasons you may want to repipe your home and other things to consider but in our experience these are the most common. Feel free to call us or send an email with any questions you have about all this information as well.