From the Forum – Anyone had PEX pipes installed? Recommendation for a plumber?

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Anyone had PEX pipes installed? Recommendation for a plumber?

Dear PoPville – We have an old Mt Pleasant row-house with a galvanized water potable system that has “rust” written all over it. I am sure this is a time bomb for many old houses in DC. We have set our mind on re-piping with PEX since we have heard predominately good things about it. Has anyone actually tried replacing galvanized pipes with PEX? Any issues? I was going to repair any damage to the walls myself to save on costs. …suggestions of plumbers with PEX experience are greatly appreciated!!

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18 Comment

  • We had our galvanized pipes replaced about 1.5 years ago. We replaced all of the pipes in the house. We had just purchased the house and figured it would be easier than doing it piecemeal or doing it later on. We live in a 1200 sq ft rowhouse in Mt Pleasant and it cost about $7500 if I recall correctly. I do not remember what they replaced the pipes with.

  • gotryit

    I just did that in my renovation using Aspen Hill plumbing – they were great to work with for the most part.

    I think PEX is a great option when you’re going to do home runs for each fixture, but I recommend spending some time thinking about where to put the manifold(s) to minimize pipe runs, etc.
    We ended up doing a main manifold just off the kitchen, and close (<20ft) to most of my water needs. The master bath was a bit farther away, so we did a 2nd manifold there.

  • Out of curiosity, why do you want PEX? I don’t think it’s cheaper than copper, but maybe i’m wrong. Our plumbers did copper for all of the water lines and PEX for a good portion of the gas lines. There’s a nice manifold in the basement for the gas lines that makes it really easy to turn off individual fixtures.

    • +1. This is a heated topic among plumbers and home renovators. Copper is tried and true and doesn’t seem to have a lot of the drawbacks of PEX. If the prices are similar, I’d choose copper every time. It’s personal bias, yes, and admittedly somewhat irrational. Still, the thought that a mouse chewing on a tube could destroy my floor and cost me thousands freaks me out.

      • Why would mice chew on tubes??? ..unless 0.75″ tubes obstruct their passage.. though go figure those pests…

      • What are the drawbacks of PEX (besides mice teeth and slightly more expensive?)

    • PEX is much, much less expensive than copper. For example, 1/2″ copper pipe costs about $1.40/ft retail price ($14.64 for a 10′ length at Home Depot), while 1/2″ PEX costs about $0.28/ft (100′ role $27.95). Additionally, PEX is much easier to work with because there’s no soldering involved–lower installation labor costs.

      • I do agree that materials and labor costs are much lower for PEX than copper piping . Besides, copper can freeze and break in cold winter (if ever get one in DC). You can also get those nasty leaking pin holes…

    • Can you get a manifold with copper?

      • gotryit

        You can do a manifold with copper, but it would be a lot harder to run all home-runs in copper compared to PEX. You’re talking orders of magnitude more expensive.
        With PEX, I’d run home-runs as much as possible.

  • Contact OTTO SEIDEL, hands down the best no bullshit fair priced plumber around. The guy has 40 + years experience and can plumb blindfolded. We just used him for a big scale project and he saved me thousands of dollars and provided great work.

    202 397 7000

  • i need to get the supply line from the main to the meter and into my house replaced with 1.5″ diameter pipe to support a sprinkler system. anyone know of a good plumber who can do this? most plumbers that work on indoor projects don’t seem to have the equipment, and the one quote i got was $9,750 which seems extreme for 20 feet of pipe…

    • Standard rule of thumb is about $150 per linear foot installed, depending on how deep in the ground it is, other obstructions (retaining walls, trees etc).

  • I am a plumber and use PEX almost exclusively. Much easier and quicker to install (glue rather than solder). It is ever so slightly flexible which means it almost never breaks if it freezes and the material cost differential is huge now that copper is such an expensive commodity. Copper fittings and pipe to redo the average 2100 sq/ft 3 bath row house cost about $1500 bucks. The same with PEX is about 400.

    • How does one contact you?

    • gotryit

      I’ve never heard of gluing PEX – do you have a reference for that? I’ve only ever seen compression type fittings.

    • I’m sorry, but if you are a plumber, you might need to find another line of work. PEX doesn’t use glue. CPVC does. PEX is awesome and I have plumbed dozens of houses with it. It is amazingly strong and has some insulative value as well, unlike copper which conducts heat like crazy.

  • We had a plumber update our entire house with PVC about 6 years ago. Recently we did some extra additions to the system and used PEX for that. Additions were a half bath (PEX for supply and PVC for drain lines) and a new outdoor hose (advantage = no threat of bursting with a freeze). We used sharkbite attachments to tap into the PVC pipes. so far so good. I found PEX a good option for doing small upgrades to an existing system. I recall reading that PEX has been used in Europe for 50+ years and ages well.

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