A Quick Plumbing Retrofit

I do have some progress photos of the plumbing I did in the shower. Honestly, this is the part I was most afraid of, but it was the easiest.

Just like when changing out a faucet, you have to turn off the water, but there is no handy shut-off under the sink for this. You have to turn off the water to your whole house. You really want to make sure you have all the pieces you need so your house can have water returned ASAP. Ask me how I know this. Yeah, experience. Quick (not quick) trip to the store in the middle makes for a long time you can’t wash your hands or flush a toilet or get dinner started while you’re waiting for the missing part.

Anyway. You have all your pieces. (The guy at my local lumber store was extremely helpful in getting it all figured out for me. Take pictures of what you’re doing with you.) The water is off. Let’s get this party started.

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Here is what I started with. I would have been happy to keep a two-handle faucet, but they barely exist anymore, so I had to go to a single-handle. That’s what got me into this particular mess.

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This is your friend. It’s called a pipe cutter and it’s fun to use! I had to disconnect all the brackets (again, learned the hard way) that were attaching the pipes to the studs so I could get this to turn around on the pipe. The pipe goes in right where my index finger is and tightens down so the blade can cut through.

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Cuts are made and I’m using a burr remover called for by the SharkBite company. If I had the skills and knowledge, I could have soldered copper fittings, but that is waaaaay out of my skill set, so I went for these amazing fittings. My helper at the lumber store also said I could rent a crimper and save myself some money, but, again, I wouldn’t have had a clue what I was doing, so these fittings made me feel MUCH more confident in my amateur plumbing job.

If you’re doing this project, watch this video.

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This is what the fittings look like on the current copper pipe. They just slid right on.

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I transitioned to Pex pipe. And you sure can cut Pex pipe with this same pipe cutter. They advertise a specific cutter, but it was $12 or so, and if I can get away with what I have, I sure will. My father-in-law replumbed his 100-year-old house using Pex, so I knew it was a good choice.

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Some measuring, a couple of cuts, and a few more fittings later, I had my new faucet plumbing installed and the fitting ready for the new shower head.

It seriously was super easy. I only had to call my father-in-law once to ask about cutting the Pex.

I ended up using eight fittings and two 5ft sections of Pex. I could have gotten away with this cheaper, but peace of mind is worth a lot.

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