Kitchen remodeling - First Roadblock!

MSethSeptember 30, 2013

Plumbing experts PLEASE HELP!!!
(Posted in plumbing forum as well)

We are remodeling our Kitchen n bath as well as adding a room above the garage. The kitchen was demoed and while moving drain lines n all, the GC noticed that the copper pipes under ground (concrete slab) are corroded. He advised this is the right time to act if we want to. he has yet to give us a quote for what's the added expense for that.

The technique he is suggesting is, leave the current copper pipes underground UNUSED. Run a new line from the mains to the ceiling (maybe Attic he said) and then come down wherever through dry walls.
Since I have no clue about plumbing, the only question I had for him at that time was, will the water pressure be affected to first go up the attic (2 floors) from the main line and then come down? There must e lot many rational questions to ask which I am not sure of...

Husband and I are not very handy/knowledgeable about all this. Just worried if he is honestly concerned and warning us about the corrosion and possible issues in future or just trying to run new line to make his life easier. Very confused how to validate?

Please advise!

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It's what we had to do to our house 20 years ago. Copper buried in concrete just doesn't last.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Not a plumbing expert but a survivor of a slab leak. Moving the plumbing now, rather than having to tear up your floor later to fix a slab leak is probably a pretty good move.

We chose to reroute a lot of our house into the attic using PEX which seems to be the piping of choice these days. Depending on your climate, be sure to ask about any freezing issues that might occur.

Don't really think pressure is an issue, don't you pipe water upstairs now already? Unless you have a well and a very weak pump or something I doubt that's an issue. Most city water systems have way more pressure than is needed. Most faucets now a days have very strict flow regulators.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 2:33PM
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I don't have experience with copper pipes, mine were old iron ones. My advice/story is more Murphy's law. Hubby and I put in a new well. We added all new pipes up to where our pump was located, which at the time was 20' outside our house over the old well. We also built an entire new addition and gutted the kitchen, therefore redid every inch of pipe in the house. The 20' of pipe running between the pump and the house was not that old, hubby remembers helping his dad put it in. Wouldn't you know the week we moved back into the house and turned the water back on that 20' of pipe failed us.

If the pipe may be going your guy is right, now is the time to do something. I am no expert on what to do, but I can say doing something later is a much harder and annoying task.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Wondering what year is your house? Are the pipes beneath or embedded in the slab?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I think what your contractor wants to do is abandon the old pipes in place, and re-route new ones a completely different way. The old ones will remain in the slab, unused.

We did this when we ran a new water line from our house to our well: he left the old one in place and simply unhooked it. Then dug a new trench and ran a new line.

I say: do it. This is the best time, and you will sleep easy at night:)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:39PM
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We did this as well. We used PEX as well. No discernable difference to water pressure.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:49PM
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We've done the same - no change in water pressure. Water temperature will be impacted though. Cold water will be warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. May need to look at insulating the pipes in the attic.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Pressure will be unaffected, but temperature will - your tap water will be warmer in the summer and potentially cooler in the winter. Also, the wait time for hot water is generally a function of the length of the run, so if this increases the length of the run, then you'll likely have to wait longer for hot water.

This post was edited by GauchoGordo1993 on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 17:37

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Your contractor is correct. Copper in concrete is a no-no. Replace/re-route. It was once common practice but time has shown the practice to be unsound and is generally now against code.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:49PM
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