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How Much Does it Cost to Replace Galvanized Pipes?

Last Updated on December 3, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If your home was built before the 1960s, chances are it still has original galvanized steel pipes funneling water to taps and appliances. But after 50-70 years, corrosion buildup inside causes low pressure, leaks, and rusty water. Replacement becomes very important to restore proper flow around your home.

We’ll compare current pipe types – copper, PEX plastic, and PVC – on factors like price, ease of installation, and durability. You’ll also get a realistic sense of project steps, costs, and timelines. Let’s get to it!

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Galvanized Pipes?

Currently, the cost to fully repipe a standard 5 room, 2 bath house with galvanized plumbing falls between $2,500 – $15,000, on average.

Depending on the type of pipes you’re getting, the same 5 room, 2 bathroom single story house will cost this much to have all galvanized pipes replaced:

PEX Piping: $2,500 – $8,000+

PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) plastic tubing is flexible, super durable, and faster to install than rigid materials. Supply lines easily snake through walls and curve around obstacles. Thanks to snap-fit connectors, no soldering or glue is required either. Overall an affordable DIY-friendly choice.

You might also like our articles about the cost of inground hot-tubs, Thermospas hot-tubs, and hardwood stair installation.

CPVC Piping: $2,500 – $8,000+

  • 2.5 bath, 13 fixture house: $3,700 (Atlantic Re-Plumbing estimate)

For a rigid piping solution similar to old galvanized, CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) plastic works well. It handles both hot and cold water unlike PVC which is cold use only. Installs quicker than copper and stands up to corrosion for decades.

Copper Piping: $2,500 – $15,000

  • Cost per linear foot installed: $4 – $10
  • 2 bathroom house: $5,000+ (Repipe1 company estimate)
  • 2.5 bath, 13 fixture house: $4,500+ (Atlantic Re-Plumbing estimate)

The longtime gold standard, copper remains a premium pick thanks to its natural corrosion resistance and recyclability. Soldered connections take more skill. But sweat fittings create secure liquid-tight seals outlasting other methods. The price fluctuates but generally costs more.

The wide cost range is largely due to accessibility factors and the total length of piping needed. Custom homes or those with recent remodels likely fall at the top end as tighter spaces slow work.

Keep in mind that copper pricing fluctuates more over time based on worldwide supply dynamics. So inflation impacts copper projects in a bigger way.

On BiggerPockets, a user reported a quote of $5,000+ for replacing galvanized pipes in a one-bathroom house, a kitchen drain pipe, and a washing machine drain pipe. Another user mentioned that a plumber in their area would charge $2000+ for the replacement of the pipes.

Bell Brothers stated that homeowners should expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 on the very low end all the way up to $15,000 or more to replace galvanized pipes in their old house. The cost can vary based on the size of the house and the plumbing system.

We Do Repipes Inc notes that galvanized pipe replacement for an average two-bathroom home typically ranges from $8,000 to $15,000 when replacing with copper. Alternatively, opting for a whole-house plumbing replacement with PEX in an average two-bathroom home typically costs between $5,000 and $9,000.

An article in The Seattle Times talks about the cost of replacing galvanized pipes, which often ranges between $6,000 and $10,000 for a house with three bathrooms, but that’s just for the plumbing work.

Why such a wide cost range to swap aged pipes for new ones?

Here are just some of the reasons:

  • House size and layout
  • Piping material chosen
  • Total length of piping
  • Specialty parts needed

Later we’ll detail money-saving tips. First, what influences project pricing?

Cutting a Pipe

Factors Impacting Galvanized Pipe Replacement Cost

While no two repiping jobs are identical, the main elements that affect costs are:

Pipe Material Selected – Popular replacement choices are flexible PEX plastic or durable copper piping. PEX installs faster and is cost-effective. Copper has a longer track record but is pricier.

Number of Plumbing Fixtures – The number of sinks, showers, and appliances needing connections impacts the materials needed, as well as whether you have a water heater.

Pipe Accessibility – Open walls and space to maneuver make installation smoother than tight, enclosed areas. Though with the right tools and training, any layout is manageable.

Included Services – Will drywall repair, debris removal, permit help and more be handled for one bundled price? Repipe Specialists offers full-service “One Stop Repipe” options.

Additional Potential Costs Beyond the Pipes

On top of physical pipes and installation, be ready for expenses like:

  • Service activation fees – $50+ per utility
  • Permit applications – $100+
  • Sediment filter for new pipes – $100+
  • Survey for permit plans – $350+
  • Contractor Inspection Scheduling – $50 – $150

You will also have to consider living without water during work.

Pro tips: schedule office/fun outings to occupied homes during workdays. For single-home properties, temporary water stations can be set up onsite limiting major disruptions to just bathing.

The Case Against Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized steel piping was once revolutionary thanks to corrosion resistant zinc coating applied both inside and out. This innovation brought clean, reliable indoor plumbing to the mass market.

So what changed? Over decades, mineral deposits still accumulate internally, causing restrictive plaque. And pieces of the zinc finish deteriorate, exposing the steel to corrosion. Tiny pitted holes and flakes then contaminate water supply, restrict water pressure, and necessitate repairs.

Replacing galvanized lines becomes the only long-term solution. Thankfully today’s piping solutions make this a smooth, relatively affordable process. Now let’s examine your material options.

What’s Needed for Whole Home Repiping?

Swapping all supply lines is a major project, but modern materials and pro techniques minimize hassles. Here is the standard repiping workflow:

  1. Thorough Inspection – Locating all supply branch-offs.
  2. Job Scheduling – 1-5 days depending on house size.
  3. Prep Work – Covering floors/furniture to protect.
  4. Opening Access Points – Cutting necessary walls/ceilings.
  5. Shut Off Water – For safe installation working conditions.
  6. Installing New Pipes – Snaking new lines room to room.
  7. Reconnecting Water – Testing for leaks before turn on.
  8. Restoration – Patching drywall, painting, cleaning up.

Tradespeople can reconnect your water service each evening. So you can likely stay in your home without major disruptions when they replace the plumbing.

Now let’s wrap up with smart shopping tips…

Finding a Qualified Galvanized Pipe Replacement Pro

Take time to research and evaluate potential repiping contractors before committing. Look for:

  • Specific Repiping Expertise – Ask how frequently they get to work on full repiping projects and check their training.
  • Local Referrals – Friends and neighbors provide trustworthy reviews. Search sites like Yelp as well.
  • Licensing and Insurance – Protect yourself by verifying all credentials, bonding and liability coverage.
  • Detailed Quote Scope – Itemized descriptions of exact work, materials, and site protocols carry more weight.

In the end, having decaying galvanized supply lines swapped out by a pro is a stress reliever and a great investment into your home for the decades ahead. Know the process and average costs now so you can budget wisely when the time comes.

Tips to Save on Galvanized Pipe Replacement

While repiping costs can seem intimidating, smart planning keeps projects affordable:

Do it now, not later – Pipe material and pro labor prices continue rising over time. And further deterioration risks pricier water damage down the road.

Inspect carefully – Confirm galvanized pipes are truly your main issue before committing to a full repipe. Request an in-depth video inspection from specialists.

Show Off Access – During house tours, point out easy access like basements and crawl spaces so contractors see simpler routes.

DIY demolition – Volunteer to open walls and clear debris yourself guiding pros if cost savings will be shared.

Compare multiple in-person estimates – Verbal guesses lack accuracy. Detail-oriented specialists like Repipe Specialists offer free consultations and exact quotes.

Final Words

While inevitable, swapping out aging galvanized pipes can be done efficiently if planned smartly. With modern piping readily available and experienced contractors like Repipe Specialists simplifying the process, your home can have upgraded water flow quickly and affordably.

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