|Time to Repipe? Guest Blog.
You’ve no doubt gotten the flyers asking if you’re tired of rusty water, scalding or freezing in the shower, and low water pressure, and offering to cure these problems for the lowest price in town.
Maybe you’re wondering how we stack up here. Well, we’ve done thousands of repipes over the last few decades, and know what we’re doing. In fact, we are one of the few companies authorized by the City of Los Angeles to inspect and certify our own piping and water heater replacements. But we are not, never have been and never will be, the cheapest repipe in town.
Long ago it was explained to me that we had three choices when making a purchase; our purchase could be based on quality, service and price. It was further explained that one could really hope to get the best in any two of those three aspects. This means that if one gets great quality and price, then the service will suffer; with repipes this might mean that the job drags on for weeks or months (and I’ve heard of such repipes). Or, if you get great service at a great price then quality has to suffer.
A plumber can disregard this rule and do well, at least for a while. Most contractors fail after 4-5 years; this is the point at which their mistakes in plumbing and running a business catch up with them. And this is why, when somebody offers you a warranty of 10, 20 years or longer, you ought to consider how if the business will be around to honor the warranty.
At Peet & Son Plumbing we take pride in providing great service and great quality; we feel that this gives our customers great value also. Lots of people agree with us (see our Customer Satisfaction award on this site). This does mean that we’re not the plumber for everybody.
No matter which contractor you hire, you should get some guidance on how to work with your contractor, and what you should be able to expect. I recommend checking out the Contractors State License Board site at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/, where you can find out about what to look for, and even check out your contractor.
But back to repiping. For years we’ve used the heavier grade of copper, known as Type L copper. Likewise with lead-free solder, low-corrosion flux, reaming the tube ends and strapping the system for quietness. We take special care to see to it that your repipe gives you many years of quiet, dependable service. Sometimes it makes sense to replace only part of the water system; then we use special fittings to minimize the corrosion which occurs when you connect copper to steel.
But what does the future hold for repiping? Well, as copper replaced steel, now cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is becoming popular. PEX is cheaper and faster than copper, and takes less skill to install. Peet Plumbing will be doing our first PEX job in early 2001.
We’ve also been investigating a new process in which the water pipes are not replaced, but instead scoured internally and then lined with epoxy. This process has a very long warranty (about 50 years, I believe), and is currently practical only for very large buildings. In fact, we saw a downtown hotel being done, with minimal mess, fuss, and inconvenience, while the hotel was open. In fact, I bet most of the guests didn’t even know what was going on. The developers of the process have told me to expect that they’ll have the process scaled down for domestic use by Summer of 2001.