I need to repipe my house and am getting a lot of conflicting opinions from plumbers. justalurker suggested asking you for advice, so here I am, asking you for advice. I hope you don't mind.
Here's the sitch...
I have a 1985 mobile home in the Phoenix metro area. It has the bad old polybutylene pipe. The PB sprung a pinhole leak, causing a lot of damage before the leak was discovered. It needs to come out before it leaks again. My late husband was a plumber; he wanted to repipe with copper but died last year before he had the chance. Money is now very tight.
The water pipes are under the floor in the crawlspace under the house. The new pipes will probably be below the insulation batting so I plan to cover them with pipe insulation.
I don't want PEX because we have roof rats around here. They manage to get through the skirting into the crawlspace, where they sometimes burrow into the insulation. They will chew through PEX.
We rarely have more than an occasional, light freeze. Summers are extremely hot, but it's cooler under the house than it is outside, much cooler than an attic where a lot of people have their water pipes.
Water pH is between 6.48 and 7.7. Hardness is a very hard 17.1. A water softener is not an option. I don't have room for one and even if I somehow made room, I can't lug bags of salt or afford the monthly cost for a water exchange system.
My pipe options seem to be copper and CPVC. Only two plumbers I've spoken with recommend CPVC. One of them is my brother in Albuquerque, but he hasn't been plumbing for awhile. The other plumber specializes in mobile home repipes. He likes PEX, but thinks CPVC or copper would be better in my situation.
Here are the pros and cons as I understand them. Please correct me if I'm wrong:
PROS FOR FLOWGUARD GOLD:
1. Less expensive than copper: $850 vs $2500.
2. Doesn't build up scale or mineral deposits.
3. Best resistance to biofilm accumulation.
4. Lifetime warranty if installed correctly. (not that replacing a section of pipe for a few dollars is worth that much)
5. The plumber who would do it has a lot of experience with it.
CONS FOR FLOWGUARD GOLD CPVC:
1. Installation is easy but repairs are difficult. Most plumbers around here don't use it anymore and aren't skilled in working with it.
2. According to the other plumbers I've talked to, it's ALWAYS terrible. It ALWAYS gets brittle and cracks. It's TOTAL JUNK. It's been recalled. Is this true? I mean, if it's so prone to failure, why is it mandated for government buildings?
3. Possible leaching of toxic chemicals from the pipe or bonding adhesive. Not sure this is an issue, because even if I go with copper, the water is in PVC pipes from the city before it ever gets to my house.
PROS FOR COPPER:
1. Tried and true. Our water pH is safe for copper. I know some people who have had it for decades.
2. Good resistance to biofilm accumulation.
3. No leaching of carcinogens or estrogen disruptors.
4. I could have it installed and forget about it.
CONS FOR COPPER:
1. Very expensive. Would be a financial hardship, but not impossible. (It would have been affordable if my husband had done it)
2. Possible scale buildup with hard water.
2. Risk of fire from the torch during installation.
3. Can get pinhole leaks?
The plumber who could install the CPVC has his journeyman plumber's license and insurance, but is not a licensed with the ROC. A ROC license is not required in this state for manufactured home repipes. Is this something I should worry about?
If I get copper, what thickness do you recommend? Any particular type of fittings?
I know this is a lot of information and a lot to ask. Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this far and offer advice.