Homeowners in Idaho often ask us, what’s the average cost to repipe a house in Boise?
Here’s what we tell them: The cost to repipe a house in Boise ranges from $4,000 to $15,000+.
Why the huge price range?
Well, what you’ll actually pay depends on these cost factors:
- Size of your home
- Type of pipe material you choose
- Number of plumbing fixtures in your home
- Local permit fees
- Contractor, you hire
We’ll go into more detail about each of these cost factors. We’ll also share some signs your home needs to be repiped sooner rather than later.
Factors that determine the cost to repipe your home
The following factors will determine how much you’ll pay to repipe your house in Boise:
#1: Size of your home
The bigger your home, the more expensive the repiping job will be. Most contractors charge per foot of pipe (see next section for a price breakdown) plus labor (how many hours it takes to complete the job).
So the higher the square footage of your home, the more pipes you’ll need and the longer it will take the plumber to do the job, which raises the total cost of the project.
Additionally, 2-story homes are more expensive to run pipe than single-story homes because the plumber has to navigate through walls.
#2: Type of pipe material you choose
The pipe material you choose affects the total cost to repipe your home.
The 3 most common plumbing pipe materials are:
- PEX: PEX pipes are made of cross-linked polyethylene, and are often the preferred choice for plumbers because of their durability and easy to install in hard-to-reach places. They usually run $0.40–$0.50 per linear foot (not including labor).
- CPVC: Similar to PEX pipes, CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is a flexible thermoplastic that can withstand high temperatures (up to 200° Fahrenheit). PEX has a slight advantage over CPVC because it’s a little more flexible and doesn’t require glue/solvent weld. A downside to CPVC is that it can become brittle over time. CPVC costs around $0.50–$0.60 per linear foot (not including labor).
- Copper: Copper is the most expensive piping material, costing around $1.50–$2.00 per linear foot (not including labor). But it’s also the most durable, often lasting 50+ years. However, a downside to a copper pipe is that when it freezes it can split. Chlorine can also negatively affect copper by eroding it and weakening the solder joints.
The type of pipe you should get depends on your home’s needs, the climate you live in and the chlorine levels in your water. In cold climates like Boise, we recommend going with PEX pipes because they won’t burst in freezing temperatures. PEX pipes also seem to have the best capabilities for weathering the effects of chlorine.
You should consult a plumber to find which piping option is best for your home and region.
#3: Number of plumbing fixtures in your home
The more plumbing fixtures you have, the more expensive the repiping job.
You see, each additional plumbing fixture means the plumber has to add in a secondary drain and incoming lines to reach that fixture, which increases cost, time and materials.
Plumbing fixtures include…
- Water heaters
- Washing machine
#4: Local permit fees
Most cities require plumbing contractors to pull permits before they start any work on repiping a home. Usually, there’s a fee to obtain this permit, which the contractor adds to the total cost of the project.
The cost of this fee varies by city. In Boise, this permit fee ranges from $130 to $325+, depending on the square footage of your home.
#5: Contractor you hire
Generally, higher quality contractors charge more for their services. And you usually get what you pay for. For example, if a contractor comes in at a low price, often the quality of the job reflects that low price.
So how can you find a high quality contractor? The Idaho Division of Building Safety recommends following these tips to find a good contractor:
- Ask family and friends for recommendations on trustworthy plumbers.
- Check the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Yelp and other review sites to gauge how well the company provides client satisfaction.
- Ask the contractor to verify they’re insured and licensed. Idaho requires all plumbing contractors to keep their licenses up to date. Your contractor should also have insurance in case something goes wrong on the job. If they don’t have insurance, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.
- Avoid any contractors who demand payment in full upfront, or who say they can speed up insurance payments or pulling permits. That’s illegal, so it’s a sign the contractor is shady and just wants your money.
- A good rule of thumb: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Signs your home needs to be repiped
After seeing how the cost to repipe your home can quickly rise, you may be wondering: “Do I really need to repipe my home?”
We’ll share 5 signs you’ll know it’s time to repipe your home:
Sign #1: You have frequent pipe leaks
If you’ve had 3 or more leaks in less than 6 months, that’s a sign your pipes should likely be replaced.
Sign #2: Your home is 50+ years old
Once your home starts to get over the 50-year mark, it’s common for pipes to start breaking down because of corrosion or general wear and tear. A plumber can inspect your pipes to determine their health.
Sign #3: You can see signs of corrosion
Check for visible signs of rusting and discoloration on your pipes. If you see these signs, you’ll know your pipes are starting to corrode and that it’s only a matter of time before they start to break down.
Sign #4: You have rust-colored water
If you see rust-colored water coming out of your hot AND cold water taps, you most likely have corroded piping.
Note: If rust-colored water just comes out of your hot water tap, then it could point to a problem with your water heater—not your pipes.
A plumber can determine if the rusted water is coming from your pipes or water heater.
Sign #5: You have polybutylene or galvanized pipes
Polybutylene pipes are an inexpensive, flexible plastic that was used from 1978 to 1995. But because these pipes are extremely susceptible to rupturing, they’re no longer accepted by U.S. building codes. If you see the letters “PB” printed on the label of the pipe, you’ll know you have polybutylene pipes.
Galvanized pipes are steel pipes coated with zinc that were commonly used in homes prior to the 1960s. Over time, the zinc coating on galvanized pipes breaks down and causes the pipe to rust internally, causing reduced water pressure, clogged lines and water discoloration.
To know if you have galvanized pipes, find where the piping enters your home and then lightly scratch it with a nail or sharp object. If the scratched area is a silver-gray color, you have galvanized steel pipes.
The bottom line: If you have polybutylene or galvanized pipes, we recommend repiping your home because it’s only a matter of time before they wear down completely.