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Question DetailsAsked on 10/27/2014

Hot water not connected to a shower. How much to break into wall and connect?

I have just bought a new house previously in foreclosure. One shower is connected to hot water but backwards--hot and cold switched. Other two tubs have no hot water and no water when turned fully to hot. Checked cartridge on faucet so it is not a missed setting. About how much to cut open walls and route hot water to faucet? What are worst case problems?

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Since was in foreclosure, I would look for missing piping (stolen), and also any pipes that have been cut and capped because they were leaking - maybe due to breakage due to freezing,or long-term sitting caused water to go stagnant and corrode through the pipes ? Might be you are totally missing a bunch or pipe, or just short sections - that would define your scope of work.
I would also check all other water users before figuring out the scope of work - dishwasher, kitchen and bath siks, washing machine, etc to be sure their piping is intact and correct too. Also - what is the water in hot water heater and any boiler like - if it went stagnant, might have corroded the devices beyond functionality, especially with hot waer heaters that are left on but not used so go sulferous. Check cold water too, to make sure you do not have hot wter going to cold faucets - including outdoor hose bibs. Also check outdoor faucets for hot/cold swap and for leakage or bursting due to freezing while house was vacant. Ditto to any pond, fountain, swimming pool, well systems. I would say probably about $200 minimum charge for the job regardless of scope. Assuming the valves/cartridges are OK (can run $100-1000 apiece installed depending on brand and sophistication - typically a few hundred installed for normal ones), then I would say about $75-125 per location with an issue assuming some but not a long run of new pipes, or swapped around - so sounds like $225-400 in your case with 3 tubs/showers with issues but no new shower/tub valves or riser pipes - just messing with the feeds to the shower/tub area, and no tearing into the tub/shower surrounds. Worst cases - highly corroded pipes that were cut and capped, but you have an entire house needing replumbing - several thousand $ typically - more prior questions on that in the Home > Plumbing link in Browse Projects, at lower left. Another major cost contributor - if you have back-to-back shower/tubs, so to get at the pipes (if you cannot tie into existing pipes to faucet valve below floor level from below) you have to tear out a surround or tile. Probably only $25-50 per location difference in plumber labor to get at it the hard way (from below or through surround) but could be easy several hundred to $500 range to replace surround if entire thing has to be redone to match the part that has to be repaired at the access point. Another major cost contributor - if access from hot water source to destinations is very tough - very low crawlspace, have to break into a bunch of walls - might add say 25-50% or so to the plumber labor charges, but also maybe add $300-600 say (off the cuff ballpark) for drywall repair and repainting to repair the access points, Obviously, if plaster or fancy surfaces more - also if you need to repaint entire walls/ceilings or entire rooms to make the repair paint match the rest if you are picky or higher-end house, which is fairly common because it is REAL hard to match aged paint color and finish gloss. Also, unlikely to be the case, but if existing pipes need replacing and are embedded in concrete or brick walls or floors, then you could be looking at extreme (thousands) to replace them unless you bite the aesthetic bullet and put the replacement pipes in enclosed chases in the interior living space or tacked onto the outside of the house (heated if in freezing area) to run the new pipes.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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