After suffering one too many damage-causing leaks in my mid-‘80s Burnaby house I recently decided to rid myself of all the problem-plagued polybutylene water pipes and have them replaced with PEX piping. After reviewing the limited number of companies who do whole house re-piping and soliciting quotes I decided upon Kodiak Heating & Plumbing, owned and operated by Rudi & Andrea . Being a small company with minimal overhead their quote was half that of the next highest from a much larger company, as was their expected time to complete the job. I wasn’t disappointed.
Rudi & associate Ralf showed up on time and hit the ground running. Much like an affable Teutonic tag-team they worked tirelessly over the next 5 days without so much as taking breaks. Admittedly, I had made their job a little easier by already removing all the sections of drywall needed to expose the old pipes, but the re-piping was still a complicated job and I’m sure at times an exasperating one with all the twist and turns pipes take in confined spaces. After decades of plumbing experience both here and in Germany Rudi certainly knows his stuff and impressed me by preferring to install only quality products, whether it was the Grohe brand (German, of course) pressure balance valves in the bathtub/showers, or the brand of PEX pipe he uses. Interestingly, he refused to use any brand of pipe other than Heatlink’s Purelink pipe, which he considers superior to other brands (& is a Canadian product, as well, with a 25 year warranty). The job wrapped up exactly when Rudi said it would.
There are a few quibbles but they’re relatively minor (the routing of one section of pipe I would have preferred to be in a more accessible location, and shut-off valves extend a bit further out from the walls for my taste); but, importantly, none of these affect the integrity of the plumbing system.
One thing Rudi made clear was that he is a plumber and neither a carpenter nor a dry-waller. Even though Ralf accompanies him on major jobs and can install wooden backer boards and bracing as required, I was given homework and tasked with acquiring additional lumber and installing some of the backer boards at night, myself; as well as caulking around a new vent pipe in an exterior wall. Replacing all the removed drywall and refinishing the walls and ceilings was not part of the quote and was also left up to me. But, given the substantial cost savings over other plumbing companies these were tasks I was happy to shoulder.
An interesting postscript. I also had Rudi install a Rinnai tankless water heater in conjunction with the re-piping. Two days after the job was finished it started acting up, flashing a condensate drain line error code. I phoned Rudi that evening and he suggested various fixes over the phone but came to the conclusion that it must be the heater, itself, and that I would have to call the manufacturer under warranty. I was mulling over that prospect, not exactly thrilled, when, surprisingly, a few minutes later Andrea called back and said that she & Rudi were on their way from North Vancouver. Within a few minutes of arrival Rudi had ascertained what the unusual issue was and quickly fixed the problem. I can’t think of too many plumbing companies that would have been willing to come out mid-evening for a non-emergency call; and not too many which also give a one year warranty on their labour. I’m already thinking of renovating the master bathroom and relocating some fixtures; and when I do, I’ve got Kodiak’s number.