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I live in Phoenix in a 1400 sqft home that was built in 1973, single story, brick and frame. A few days ago we experienced a slab leak in our guest bathroom, and we're currently entertaining bids to fix it. However, we're a bit in the fog as far as what our best option is as far as the future health of the system is concerned. Currently we've got three options:

  • Repair the damage, by tearing through the concrete, etc. Insurance will cover everything (demo and replacement) but the repair itself.
  • Reroute the hot water line in question through the attic, which will be paid by the insurance company in full.
  • Repipe the house entirely. Insurance won't pay for this, but I think having them reimburse us for one of the two options above will allow for the cost of repiping to go down.

Our concern is that the first two options will only result in another slab leak elsewhere. It's in this case where we are entertaining repiping of the whole house, especially if it's going to happen again. We've got some minor issues that will also be taken care of, like fixing the lines that tap into the irrigation (amateur leaky job) or moving the tankless water heater a bit to allow for a better water filtration set up.

So we'd like to know if the 'one-and-done' expensive solution is the right one, or is it not worth it?

  • Depending on what system/pipe type you want, you can do both options 2 and 3. I prefer PEX and I prefer the "home-run" system. You save water and energy and you have shorter wait times for hot water. It uses more pipe, however. You can do each room as money/schedule allows and you can even postpone installing the main manifold until you are sure you want to commit to a total repipe. – Paul Nov 2 '14 at 20:01
  • Do you mind sharing the insurance provider name? I use Farmers (in California) and they do not cover damages similar to yours. – jsh Dec 11 '15 at 21:59
  • Paid in cash, ended up being pretty affordable. – Ellocomotive Mar 12 '16 at 3:47
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The future health of the system can only be insured by gutting it. However, you're paying insurance; who cares? I don't really know the ins-and-outs of insurance but perhaps you should send them a letter recommending that they do replace the whole system; providing leverage for you to stand on when it breaks in the future and they want to raise your rate after you need to have more work done.

If you do care, then go with the third option after doing the second. Have as much work done, paid for by the insurance company, as possible. Piping into the attic should lower the bid to replace everything else. I wouldn't want to start tearing up concrete as a homeowner or as an installer, where I could just run it above (which your climate permits); much easier and less messy.

  • If you found this recent leak to be less than catastrophic, ride it out and let the insurance worry about it.

  • If it was, drop the cash on a new system and sleep better at night.

Ideally you go big or go home (gut it). Otherwise however, I cannot quantify what your piece of mind is worth to you, and what possessions are at stake.

Bottom line: the most cost effective solution for you and the insurance company is to only repair what's necessary, provided you're not looking at a rate hike and don't have any Picasso's hanging on the walls.

protected by Community Sep 29 '16 at 5:10

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