DIY Plumbing--Should i be AFRAID?


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Old 07-03-08, 07:18 AM
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DIY Plumbing--Should i be AFRAID?

Here is the problem. My copper pipes were stolen from under my house. My friend who owes me $1650 and can't afford to pay it back said he and his brother will do it for me plus some other things. I'm wondering if I should let them do it or get a professional to do it. Mostly it is just connecting the kitchen to the bathrooms. One bathroom is already plastic. The ohter bathroom, I'm not sure if they stole the pipes from there or not. It doesn't appear to be the case.

How difficult is it to plumbing right? Should i get an experienced person or should i just let them do it?

Are there any gotchas that a nonprofessional plumber may not be aware of?

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-03-08, 09:08 AM
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Do you have homeowners insurance? I would not allow a friend and his buddy do any plumbing work for me unless I was absolutely sure they knew what they were doing.
 
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Old 07-03-08, 11:07 AM
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Are there any questions i can ask them to see if they really know what they are doing? They claim they will do the job according to code.

I was also told that PECS or PECKS pipes don't freeze.
 
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Old 07-03-08, 11:29 AM
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PEX. It can/will freeze, but the manufacturers typically claim that the freezing will not burst the tubing.
 
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Old 07-03-08, 03:33 PM
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PEX seems to be the way to go unless you can afford copper,
Ya right

What you need to know is some brands of PEX require you to get a certification before using there product or they will not warranty anything. Also you may have issues with homeowners ins. if not installed by a qualified person, and/or inspected by your town official.

Aside from the bad news, as long as the pipe is sized properly and there are no cross connections and the pipe is properly supported, there really isn't too much to water piping.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 07:43 AM
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Thanks for the info! I didn't see why pumbling should be that hard aside from a few things.

So i should get PEX. Should i get insulation? What would pipe insulation look like?

After they do the work, what should i do next? Should i get a city inspector to come and inspect it to make sure it was done right? What would you recommend?
 
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Old 07-05-08, 08:56 AM
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Is this place a camp, or summer home?
Do you drain the plumbing at the end of the season?

I would at least get a licensed plumber to look it over after it is completed. Insulation will definitely help in any cold areas.

PEX is a pliable plastic pipe. It usually comes in rolls, but it may be purchased in 20' straight lengths. Special tool needed for installation.
Watts or Zurn PEX is usually red and blue pipes. Sometimes white.
Wirsbo/Uponor PEX is white.

And CPVC is a cream color. Must be glued together.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 11:08 AM
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This is just my house--only residence. I'm in south Alabama by the way and freezing is not a very common problem. We only drop below freezing a few days out of the year.

I've never heard of draining the plumbing.

Is PEX installation hard since it requires a special tool? You don't glue this stuff together? It requires new skills?

Thanks! I'm starting to feel a little bit better about this project. I don't want to shell out another $1500 if i can get my friend to do it for the money he owes me.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 12:37 PM
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PEX is so easy...

IF you go with the Watts or Zurn PEX it is not too bad and the tool is a little over $100.00
You will also want a pipe cutting tool for about $25.00
You can use a hacksaw, but you want nice clean straight cuts.

Once you have the tool, which is good for 1/2,3/4, & 1" pipes you have purchased the most expensive part other than the pipe. The tool I am talking about is a "cinch clamp tool". If you get the one for solid metal rings, you may need to buy a tool for each size. Just do a little research before deciding which brand of pipe and tool you want to use. Price things out.

I live in NH and sometimes if people close down a house for the winter, they need to drain down the water so it doesn't freeze and burst the pipes over the winter.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 01:06 PM
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Thanks so much for the info! You have taken me out of confusion and into the LIGHT! I appreciate that.
 
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Old 07-05-08, 01:47 PM
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PEX is assembled with special tools, which differ per brand of pipe. Another type of pipe often used for homes is CPVC ( NOT plain PVC.) It is also inexpenive, and easy to work...it does glue together, like PVC, but with the proper(different) cement.

I don't understand....did they take ALL your pipe? Do you have ANY working water right now? Did you have basic homeowners' insurance, which would surely cover this? The insurance company would not allow work by unlicensed plumbers. And no matter who does the work, this job would require a permit.

Was this a new or otherwise unoccupied building? Crooks are getting pretty bold, apparently!
 
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Old 07-06-08, 07:45 AM
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People don't care now and days and companies are no different. Everything is survival of the fitest. Companies lie left and right just to make an extra buck.

Permit? I don't think anybody lincensed or unlincensed has requested a permit. I thought that if i needed one they would request one. I thought they were obligated. I have heard that permits are also a way of documenting what you have done to your home so that when you sale it you have documentation that you increased the value and you don't have to pay taxes on that amount just the appreciation of it. Should i be concerned about this?

My agent. I have a basic fire plan. When i first started on my house, they would not give me homeowners because i was doing work on it. I asked her what the difference was between my plan and homeowners and she said she didn't know. I should have tape recorded the conversation. She has all these credentials on the wall but she couldn't tell me anything? Not even a comparison of coverage. I had to get online to find out what the different. I was told by another forum taht i should get another agent! So i don't think theft if covered and even if it is, my dedectible is about $1000 (i think) so only a third of it would be covered. Once i get everything done, i'm going elsewhere. I have ALFA. I have not alerted my insurance company to the pipe problem. She hasn't explained any restrictions on things of this nature.

It was unoccupied. I'm staying home until i get everything together. I feel it is cheaper but undoubtedly NOT! I asked several people if they thought i should get burgar bars put up to keep people out, I was told i didn't have enough copper under there and no one would bother it. I was still concerned but I let it go.

It is probably someone who has been watching. That house has been unoccupied for many years before i bought it. Also I've had it for a year now and all of a sudden someone is interested in the pipes?

Nevertheless, I'm making progress and I'm very satisfied with how things are moving along.

Thanks for your help guys!
 
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Old 07-11-08, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jacobpressures
Permit? I don't think anybody lincensed or unlincensed has requested a permit. I thought that if i needed one they would request one. I thought they were obligated.
The homeowner is legally responsible for knowing what permits are required and legally responsible for obtaining all the necessary permits.

Doesn't mean you have to do it yourself, just that you're the responsible party. You can make getting a permit a part of the job bid, but put it in writing and be sure to follow up! Make absolutely sure the contractor actually got the permit(s) and get a copy of them before you make the final payment.

Nobody *likes* the permit process or the costs, but it beats having to tear it all out later because it wasn't done to code and problems crop up. Not only do you end up with damage repair costs and system replacement costs, but there's that hefty fine from the code inspector. And then you still have to pay the permit fee after it's all said and done.

If you do decide to skip the permit process (and many do), definately pay someone qualified to come inspect the final work.
 
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Old 07-11-08, 03:08 PM
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I'll get a permit if that is what the law requires. However, someone told me i could get fined for the work I've already done on the house. Really nothing major has been done other than the fact taht I put a roof on the house and put up a fence.

I tiled the floors and I put in a hardwood floor but i don't think a permit would be necessary for that.

Thanks so much for the information.
 
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Old 07-11-08, 03:54 PM
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I hope many members get a chance to read this...

Anything that is part of the plumbing, electrical, or structure should have a permit applied for and inspected as required by code.
You do not need a permit for simple repairs like changing a faucet, replacing a washer, replacing a light fixture, or things like tile, flooring materials, and wall coverings. But if you want to move the toilet over, add some lighting, or move a wall, you must have a permit. And possibly roofing.

I used to think permits were just a waste of time and money, and were only required so the town can keep track of your upgrades and tax you accordingly.
But after being a plumber for 25 years and seeing the things I have seen, I am a firm believer in permits in some cases. These permits are a safety device implemented so you do not have your roof cave in, house burn down, someone get electrocuted, poisoned, or asphyxiated.
I think they sometimes over do it like needing a permit for a licensed plumber to replace a water heater, but I have seen some pretty scary homeowner hook-ups.

Don't be afraid of the inspectors. They are not there to hurt you, only to help you. If you go to them and explain what has been done, they usually will work with you and there will be no fine.
The inspectors usually only fine those that try to pull a fast one on them.


Also some things I have been finding out within the past few years is, if something catastrophic were to happen, like a fire, flood, collapse, etc., your homeowners insurance does not have to pay off for anything that did not have proper permits and inspection by the code officials.

I don't think they will fine you but if they notice something previously done without a permit, play dumb and ask what is the best way to rectify the situation. Hopefully he will work with you. Hopefully what was done was not full of code violations.
 
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Old 09-07-08, 11:43 AM
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Thanks for the reply.

I'm going to consider what all i need to do about this.
 
 

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