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Question DetailsAsked on 3/5/2016

what is the approximate cost of re plumbing entire house ?

I bought my house ln July 2015, two weeks after moving in we had to use our home warranty b/c of slow draining in both baths, kitchen, and washing machine backed up. Plumber came out and snaked the washing machine drain, both baths and kitchen. a month later called warranty co. again for what appeared to be a slab leak in the master bath. looking at spending at least 600.00 out of pocket. 1600.00 total including the 1000.00 the warranty co. portion. with all the issues we have had in a very short amount of time, I am considering a whole house re-plumb. Concrete work would be required.

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Thousands.. Assuming you are talking the drain/sewer pipes only (not water supply lines), probably in the $2-5,000 for the in-house part and possibly more depending on how much plaster/drywall has to be redone and repainted and how much is under concrete - can be MUCH more if you have fancy wall or ceiling coverings like inlaid wood or copper or murals or a historic house or such. I have seen it reach $200-300,000 to replumb very high end about 4000-5000SF very high-end (multi-million $) or historic preservation houses.

The cost to replace the part to the street it depends a great deal on what is in the way (buildings, drive, planters, trees or plantings, etc) - generally at least a couple thousand range, sometimes into the $5-10,000 range if having to bore under trees that need saving, a very long run to the street, or difficult digging and deep burial depth because of topography or deep frost penetration depth.

You don't say how OLD this house is - if say 60's-70's or earlier your sewer pipes might be well deteriorated and need replacement, though I have worked on houses with lead and iron pipes over 200 years old that were in perfect condition after a routing -even one with handmade clay sewer tiles that were about 350 years old at the time and had only one offset joint and were in excellent condition.

My recommendation - though what the warranty company will pay for factors into this - is that you first have the pipes thoroughly cleaned of the built up fiber, soap scum, and grease that builds up over the years, and then (on same visit) have the same sewer cleaning contractor run a sewer camera to see what the condition actually is. Be sure to tell him to bring the camera - many companies have nmore trucks than cameras so don't always have it with them.

Generally, except with badly deteriorated pipe made of asbestos, asphalt/paper or cast iron pipes or clay tile drain which can be damaged by it, instead of a jetting cleaning (which tend to skip places unless checked with an on-board camera as it is pulled back out) I recommend a full-diameter scraping with a router. The cutting head looks generally like the following link - (the two in the center of top row, and first and third in second row), where the scraping heads are smooth (with cutting edge) and the sawtoothed ones are for hard clog and root removal -

Full run from an upstairs toilet or cleanout in the house to the street likely about $300-500 range (be sure each main branch in the house is routed out if multiple branches), including the subsequent camera run (preferably color - shows pipe condition and damage much better). If not in bad condition, just blocked up a bit, will save you thousands in replacement cost. Or it might show that you have just a local problem that $500-1000 in excavation and repair will fix and be done with - maybe a local break or offset pipe joint, or root penetration say. Can also show if the problem is due to a localized sag in the line accumulating solids and backing up there.

One thing on the backup/slow draining - read a few of the other prior questions with answers in the Home > Plumbing and Home > Sewer Cleaning links (in Browse Projects at lower left) regarding sewer backups and their cause, and how snaking (as opposed to routing out) can just push a clog down the line and result in reclogging in a few hours to weeks.

Sewer Cleaning would be your Search the List category to find well-rated and reviewed vendors for this. Some Plumbers also have the long-reach routing machines, some do not. you definitely want to chase it all the way to the street, because only partial lcleaning can just push the clog down the line to build up again somewhere else.

It may well be that the second incident was another partial backup because your pipes are generally restricted from buildup (which should be routed out every 10-25 years depending on how much hot water goes down the drain from laundry and especially from showers (which is good) and how much garbage disposal debris and grease goes down the drain (which is bad for it). The second backup might, if it came out a drain (tub, floor, etc) have just been indication of a backup, not a broken pipe. Ditto if it leaked around the toilet, which would indicate a leaky wax seal at the toilet which might work fine when flushing but would not hold the water sitting there constantly during a backup. About $100-150 range to repair that if that was where the leak was - and that might well be one point the router will go in the pipe so the toilet has to come off for that anyway, so no added cost to replace the seal at that time.

I really would get the routing and camera run to see WHAT the problem is before perhaps needlessly dropping thousands, especially if a newer home - plus it will tell you WHERE the problem is if a local issue, and also whether the in-house pipes or the run to the street (or septic) might be bad but only one or the other, not both.

One other thing, with this being a recent house buy - if on septic, was the septic tank pumped or at least checked as part of the purchase ? If not, perhaps it has not been pumped as often as it should be, so during high flow events (washing machine most common, emptying tub and shower second most common because of the large volumes involved) might be causing a backup into the drain lines, but flow OK during small volume or short-duration flows. Again, if that is the problem around $500 very rough ballpark to pump it, versus thousands in pipe replacement.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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