I had another post about my slab leak (thanks for all the comments),
but I wanted to hear specific comments about rerouting my current
under-slab hot water line around the back yard, underground a foot or
My house is about 40' long, so the current run from the heater to the
far side of the fouse is about
37'. The plumber would rather reroute the line outside the house
rather than tear out ceilings, etc. And he has a bit of a
philisophical problem with running pipes up into the attic and down
again (I'm not too thrilled with that either).
This reroute would add several feet to the run (10-15' or so).
Currently, if I haven't been using hot water for a while it takes
about 1.5 minutes (timed this last night) to get hot water.
I haven't seen a lot of posts about rerouting "around" the house,
though I have seen posts about running hot water between houses and
As long as the plumber uses high quality copper (and I know some of
you recommend PEX), is this a reasonable solution? I would assume that
the temperature a foot down is the same whether outside or under the
slab (constant 55 degrees?).
On Jul 13, 7:29?am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
use the super insulated PEX, it comes in a 2 line version, 2 lines in
heavy insulation inside a 4 inch flexible drain pipe, with foam
insulation all around the lines. this not only insulates it but
provides a recurcliating line for install later, instant hot water,
and a selling point at home resale time.
where do you live? that outside ground temp can vary a lot.
I THINK you said texas. in texas the hot attic would help keep the hot
water hot at no extra cost of energy.
I HIGHLY recommend you call at least 3 plumbers and get free
estimates, on site.
water lines run in second stories nationwide without a problem and PEX
is so easy to use, I suspect your plumber is going to overcharge you,
even with the previous discounts included.
I live in metro Atlanta.
It seems that everyone seems to like PEX. I don't know why my plumber
doesn't want water in the attic. Also, I just had new furnaces
intalled in the attic, and all three HVAC guys didn't want me to
install humidifiers there and wanted me to sign a disclaimer if I
I think they could easily install PEX going from the heater, up into
the attic, across the attic, and tie it into the upstairs baths. Then
tie upstairs into downstairs. Should be a lot less than $6400.
But I'd still have the old cold supply under the slab.
Attics can get down to freezing temperatures, even in Texas. Having
water lines in the attic means you have to be careful to insulate them
well or risk a freeze and subsequent leak and water damage. I'd still be
perfectly happy running water lines in my attic, but I'd be careful
Personally I'd insist on PEX as it's more durable under these conditions
and much cheaper labor wise to run due to it's flexibility. I'd also
replace everything at once and be done with it. If you want to avoid the
attic and don't mind ripping up the slab, you can install some 4" PVC
pipe between the various locations and then pull the PEX tubing through
that pipe. This keeps things under slab as normal and allows you to pull
in more PEX tubing later or pull out and replace a section should there
be a problem (unlikely).
OK, so you also agree the attic isn't the best idea? But to get an
indoor line to the other side of the house, I'd need to rip out the
entire ceiling and drill the joists since they run the wrong way.
Other than that, I'd need to drill up the slab (for PEX or copper).
Do you think running the line outside the house (a foot under) would
be OK, even though it isn't the best of options? I'm lookig for the
least disruptive alternative. Unless you think the plumber is off-
base. I've dealt with these guys before, and I've been pleased.
On Jul 13, 8:55?am, email@example.com wrote:
so why rip out the entire cieling? pex can be pulled just like
electrical cable. why not run it over joists then add a foot orr two
of insulation over it?
that should keep it from freezing in most condoitions and pex is
like i said you need more on site opinions best gotten by free
estimates from a variety of plumbers.
whats the harm in calling some?
how much grunt work are YOU willing to do? standy by point and wreite
check or dig ditches? PEX is super easy to use, no doubt thats why the
plumber doesnt like it:(
So are you talking the attic again? Isn't the second floor nailed to
the joists or is there space? As you can see, I'm no construction
More a matter of time. Between the leak repair (temporary), HVAC
guys, etc., I've given enough excuses to the boss. But you're right,
I need more quotes. BTW, the plumber (owner) is highly respected, she
is on all sorts of professional boards, appointed by the governor to
boards, etc. (for what it's worth)
Sure, I could dig. I could just draw the line between what I can do
and what the plumber will do.
Can't see the house layout from here, but sounds like you might be
candidate to move the heater or add a second heater or local heating to
shorten the run(s).
I don't like adding even more distance to the run than already there.
Don't say where you are so can't judge the temperature issues, but it's
easy enough to add trace heating to an exposed attic line if needed.
Same thing w/ outside -- if you're in a cold climate, 1-ft isn't deep
enough to ensure it won't freeze.
Given the effort, can't see that the overhead route is that much more
disruptive -- if it's just sheetrock, that's a pretty simple repair.
It's the easiest and lowest labor way to do it, since the attic
presumably has ready access, and PEX tubing is easy to run since it's
flexible, has minimal joints and you don't need to solder joints and
risk setting things on fire. It's also the least disruptive since you
shouldn't need to rip out any ceilings, walls or floors.
Should be able to drill the joists from the attic side just fine.
Being a DIY guy, that would be my preference. I'd have no problem
pulling up carpet and removing sections of tile and then cutting
trenches out of the slab to run 4" PVC pipe as conduit for pulling PEX.
I expect I'll need to do this at some point with my slab here in TX. I
recall an article in Fine Home Building showing the PEX through conduit
under slab technique.
It would certainly work, and running hot water and heating water lines
underground between buildings is common in commercial construction so
it's not like it isn't done. It certainly presents it's own set of
issues, probably more than the attic does.
Both outside and attic should have little disruption. Ripping up floors
and cutting slab to install a conduit to pull PEX through would be the
most disruptive. The under slab conduit for the PEX plumbing is probably
the best solution long term since it's "normal" and also very
if you know where the lines like sewer are under the house dig 2 holes
just under slab depth and tunnel between them. if gravel or soft dirt
sand underneath might be able to use water jet to force line
think out of the box the box isnt your friend
I'm gonna guess your plumber's real philosophical objection is to the unpleasant
working environment in the attic - hot,
dusty, fiberglass, etc. Quite understandable but it's his problem not yours.
It's hard to understand his objection to "tearing out ceilings" - the walls are
going to have to be opened in multiple places
to do the job, and assuming it's all plaster, wall/ceiling work is pretty much
I also agree with what another poster said - burying a hot water line in the
ground, the cool earth draws heat from the pipe
and you get less hot water. Put the pipe in a hot attic and you'll do much
OP question. How deep are the water lines to homes buried in atlanta?
Thats how deep your outside line will HAVE to be:( to prevent it from
In phoenix where family is a foot, here in pittsbugh about 4.
Your likely at least 2 feet minimum.
That may not meet local Code--that's where you need to go to find out
what it should be if choose that route.
I think its the cheap initial installation choice but not the best
solution by far. Getting it somewhere it can be insulated well will go
a long way towards solving the time delay to hot water and make a
noticeable reduction in heating costs that will only get more expensive
w/ time. Also, the installation/repair is a one-time cost/hassle, but
you'll be paying the utility bill from here on out. I'd be looking more
in that direction than at the immediate short term problem.
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