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Old 12-27-2010, 05:34 PM   #1
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re-plumbing my house

I bought an old house about two years ago with the intention of a major rennovation. It's going along fairly well and I'm to the point where I need to address the plumbing. It is currently plumbed with copper which is paper thin in many places and patched with shark-bites all over the place. I am going to be installing new kitchen cabinets and sheetrock soon so while I have good access I want to re-do the plumbing. I am going to use pex and my plan is to run all of the tubing while the existing is still in place so when I switch over I won't be without water for too long.

I want to plumb my house properly and hopefully address the pressure problems I currently have, but have no idea how to do this. I was hoping someone could point me to some reference material to properly size the pipe as well as get some recomendations for a shallow well pump to replace the dinosaur that I currently have.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 12-28-2010, 09:07 PM   #2
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What kind of pressure problems are you talking about. What is your heat source? As a rule of thumb 1/2 inch for supply lines. 3/4 for heating. I am guessing you have well water saying you need a pump. I would replace the pump and holding tank and then see if there is still a pressure problem. If you are running pex, get a good manifold. Make sure you have enough taps for all lines and a few in case you add anything later. I would recommend you install the new pump and tank, and install the manifold, once you have that done you can start running new lines. I would diagram what you have now and see if you can make any runs more efficient. I would definitely cut everything out before you start to run new lines, save you from drilling new holes for lines. You should be able to run lines with someone helping you in a day, for the house easily. Also before you start get a could shark bite end caps, this way you can cap lines if you need to test ect. Last I would install shutoffs in the basement so you can isolate each bathroom, laundry room, kitchen ect. It will be worth it if you want to work in a bathroom, everything else will function.


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Old 12-29-2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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First, I'm not a plumber but have done a ton of research on PEX and have done a PEX installation in my own home. Here's my take.

Since you have low water pressure, I would use a trunk and branch system with 3/4" pex to each location like the kitchen, back-to-back bathrooms and the laundry room. At each location install a manifold and run 1/2" pex to each fixture except for the bathtub I would run 5/8" pex. This is the most economical way for single users.

If you have simultaneous users, then a home run system would be better. Manifold is near the source and then individual 1/2" lines to each fixture except 5/8" lines to the bathtubs. This applies to both hot and cold lines.

For simultaneous users you could also do a modified trunk and branch system with separate 3/4" lines to each bathroom and then a manifold in each bathroom branching to the fixtures in that bathroom.

I would not even consider running any 3/8" pex lines.

Also, since you have low water pressure, consider the Wirsbo/Uponor pex system. It uses larger fittings than the crimp or cinch systems so has better water flow. The con is the expansion tool is expensive. But the tool is usually on sale at for about $290.

Here's a link to a pretty good PEX installation guide. It doesn't discuss the Uponor pex system but is quite informative:

Good luck,
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