Plumbing upgrades can be a bit of an unusual topic for many homeowners. While everyone can see the benefit of a new tub or a faucet, the benefits of replacing parts of your plumbing that are out of sight may be a little bit less clear. Replumbing a house can also be expensive, leading many homeowners to delay this sometimes necessary upgrade.
You may not need to do anything if your home has older copper plumbing. However, replacing your plumbing may make sense in certain cases. These four pros and cons will help you decide if replacing your home's older copper plumbing makes financial sense for your situation.
Pro: You'll Reduce Frozen Pipe Risks
If you're replacing your copper plumbing with crosslinked polyethylene (PEX), one surprising benefit is protection against frozen pipes. While water in PEX pipes can still freeze, PEX is more flexible and less likely to burst under these circumstances. Although PEX pipes can still burst, you'll typically have more time to react to a problem and won't necessarily face issues until temperatures become very cold.
Although you can easily avoid frozen copper pipes by taking some precautions, the extra protection provided by PEX can offer peace of mind if you live in a colder region.
Pro: You Can Solve Persistent Leaks
Copper plumbing has the interesting property of being extremely reliable right up until it isn't anymore. Under normal circumstances, copper pipes are highly resistant to corrosion and typically won't leak. However, water chemistry or pressure issues can cause copper to corrode. Once this process starts, you'll often find persistent pinhole leaks constantly sprouting up.
If you've noticed your copper plumbing springing these leaks, you may be in for a messy future. Replacing your plumbing now can help you avoid these potentially costly problems.
Pro: You May Increase Energy Efficiency
PEX piping offers better "natural" insulation compared to copper plumbing. This added insulation offers two major advantages. First, the added insulation will make your cold water lines less likely to freeze. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, you'll retain more heat in your hot water plumbing. As a result, you'll gain some efficiency and may even have better water temperatures at distant faucets.
Con: You'll Spend More Upfront
Of course, the cost is the number one downside to replumbing your home. Replacing plumbing behind walls or inside ceilings can be expensive. If you aren't experiencing any issues with your plumbing, these added costs may not be worthwhile. On the other hand, these upfront costs are a small price to pay if your plumbing is deteriorating and you're facing the threat of serious water damage.
One budget-friendly option may be to split the difference and replace parts of your plumbing in stages. Replacing your exposed plumbing will be cheaper and less disruptive, and you can replace the rest of your home's plumbing as your budget allows.
Contact a local plumbing service, such as Plumb Doctor, to learn more.