Ask Vince # 12 Water Temperature Changes and Old Pipes in Sacramento

Water Temperature Changes and Old Pipes in Sacramento

QUESTION: The water in our showers ranges from extreme cold to extreme hot without us turning the knob. This happens in both bathrooms. The water heater is about 12 years old. What causes this and how can it be fixed?
Liz Irons, Elk Grove

ANSWER: “I doubt that your water heater has anything to do with the shower problem,” says Vince McDonald of McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Sacramento. “My guess is that you also have low water pressure and possibly an older plumbing system, or perhaps one which is not properly engineered to deliver water to your showers without large temperature fluctuations. One option is to install pressure-balanced shower valves. These valves have been required on all new construction and remodels for the past couple of years. They automatically adjust the hot-water flow through the valve when the pressure fluctuates.”

“I suspect that the root of the problem is more serious. Older homes often have a galvanized steel piping system that gets clogged with corrosion, causing lower water pressure and greatly reduced flow. When you hop in the shower, the system, with its capacity to deliver adequate water flow, is overwhelmed when another plumbing fixture in the home is used at the same time,” he says. “There is only so much water that this troubled system can deliver, and it currently is just not enough,” he says. “Make sure that you announce to everyone in your home that you are going in the shower and ‘Don’t run anything!’”

“The best way to resolve this problem is to have your plumber change the water piping system. It needs to be designed according to current sizing methods and tables found in the Uniform Plumbing Code. Simply replacing the old pipes with new pipes the same size may not be enough. If your home does not have galvanized pipes, then it is possible that it was not properly engineered and sized. Consult with a licensed, reputable plumbing firm. They should be able to properly diagnose your problem and provide you with options and a written estimate.”

Repiping Your Home in Sacramento

Repiping is the process of replacing all existing water pipes and installing a new system throughout your home or building. A repipe is necessary when a house or office has serious pipe corrosion problems or slab leaks.

There are multiple types of materials to use when doing a repipe project. At McDonald Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, we always assess the current situation, understand the needs of the client, and then recommend the best solution. There are two primary alternatives for a repipe project—Copper and PEX. We offer complete PEX and Copper repipes.

Copper vs Pex Pipe–Which to Use for a Sacramento Repipe Project?

PEX is crosslinked polyethylene tubing that is specially designed plastic tubing with distinctive properties that make it an effective solution for radiant floor heating and plumbing systems. PEX pipe has become very popular in recent years, replacing copper piping in many residential applications. While familiar with copper pipe, many homeowners a may be unfamiliar with PEX and unaware of the benefits of water line leaks repiping in PEX.

Advantages of Repiping with PEX Pipes

PEX is the latest technology in piping and has a number of advantages for interior use. PEX is:

  • Very durable – for interior applications only
  • Flexible allowing it to expand and contract with changing weather
  • Easier to install using fewer fittings
  • More affordable because of easier installing and currant copper prices
  • Corrosion resistant in high pH water areas
  • Estimated to have a useful life of up to 75 years
  • Condensation resistant
  • Quiet (no singing or clanking pipes!)
  • Ideal in winter environment

The two primary disadvantages of PEX are its reaction to ultraviolet rays (it should not be used for exterior applications), and it may not be as contaminant resistant as copper pipe.

Advantages of Repiping with Copper Pipes

Copper pipe has been around for years and has replaced galvanized pipes, once used extensively in residential plumbing. The advantages of copper pipe include:

  • Copper is durable
  • Copper is resistant to ultraviolet rays making it well suited for outdoor applications
  • Copper is resistant to bacterial growth
  • Copper is soft and easy to install

A primary disadvantage of copper pipes is that high pH, acidic water leads to corrosion in copper piping.

Making the Decision–Copper vs PEX for your Sacramento Area Home

So which should you use? The plumbers at McDonald Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning are experts in repipe projects, and qualified to help you make this important decision. We will ensure you understand your options, the advantages and disadvantages, and make a recommendation so you can make an informed choice.

Let the experts at McDonald help with your next water line repipe project. For complete water line replacements, partial repairs or project installation, we have the experience and commitment to get the job done right the first time at a fair price. Your Satisfaction is Guaranteed.

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the seat of government of Sacramento County. It is at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California’s expansive Central Valley. With an estimated 2011 population of 477,891, it is the sixth-largest city in California and the 35th largest city in the United States. Sacramento is the core cultural and economic center of the Sacramento metropolitan area which includes seven counties with an estimated 2009 population of 2,527,123. Its metropolitan area is the fourth largest in California after the Greater Los Angeles Area, San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego metropolitan area, as well as the 27th largest in the United States. In 2002, the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University conducted for TIME magazine named Sacramento “America’s Most Diverse City.



Schedule A Technician