How hard is it to replace copper with Pex?

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Old 09-25-20, 08:20 AM
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Question How hard is it to replace copper with Pex?

I have a ton of pinhole leaks. My house is older 50+. It actually does need the copper replaced, so I don't think it is some kind of panic thing. The cost to fix by a licensed plumber is about $5500. I'm sure I could get lower and higher estimates, but it is for everything, and I know folks should get paid. It would still be thousands regardless. This is for the whole house.

How hard is it to replace copper pipe with pex? I don't mean just a small length where the pin hole is. I mean from where it enters the house. I expect there to be some manifold involved, but I am not sure, and I could just branch like the copper does, if code allows. It's flexible, so it "feels" easier. I doubt it is, just no soldering I'm guessing.

My experience is cutting copper and repairing with things like a Sharkbite from HD.

Thanks for advice.

Edit: Also, I'm not saying the plumber's work isn't worth it. I am only trying to see what I as a DIYer can do.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 08:36 AM
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PEX is easy to work with. I had never worked with PEX before but when I renovated our bathroom I decided to go with PEX. The problem is accessibility of the piping. That went so well that I replaced all of the copper piping in the house with the exception of piping buried in the walls feeding the upstairs bathrooms.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 09:13 AM
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I also just re-piped a bathroom with PEX. I had used it before for small repairs with Sharkbites, but for this I learned to sweat copper so I could solder on a PEX barb for the transition from copper to PEX. Running the PEX was fast and easy, and the connections are easy, too (I used the stainless steel rings and bought the $45 tool.)

I think most plumbers quote a job based on what they like to work with best unless you specify what you want, so if your plumber quote is for copper aren't you still going to have pinhole leaks down the road?

You can branch off just like copper, or you could do "home runs" where the PEX travels unbroken from the manifold to the fixture. This might cost more because you are using more pipe and have to buy the manifolds, but PEX pipe is very inexpensive.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 09:17 AM
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The quote is for PEX. There is a 2k higher quote for copper.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 09:23 AM
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PEX is much easier to work with than copper. The difference is even more noticeable when doing a retrofit or replacement as the flexibility of the PEX makes it much easier to snake around in a completed home.

In parts of my county the well water is corrosive to copper and even brass. If you have pinholes, cut out a section of pipe. If it's paper thin you might not want to use brass PEX fittings as your water may be corrosive to it as well. In that case plastic fittings might be a better option believe it or not. I've had brass fittings fail in as little as ten years on well water. The problem is so many of the fittings come from China and the composition of the brass is largely unknown. While plastic may seem cheap it is largely impervious to waters' pH.
 
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Old 09-25-20, 10:17 AM
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I agree, PEX is a good solution for a repipe. Access to your 2nd floor bathrooms and such will be difficult regardless, but PEX can be pulled in ways that copper could never be.
 
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