Ask Our Experts: Manifold-Style Plumbing Systems

May 3, 2017 | 6:50 pm


Question for Our Experts:

I’ve seen “manifold” plumbing systems in newer homes – the kind where each faucet, toilet, or shower has a home-run supply of water (both hot and cold) from your water source.  Are these newer-style systems better than traditional plumbing?

Our Experts’ Answer:

Short Answer

For the most part – yes, these newer-style systems are “better” than traditional plumbing systems (such as copper piping systems found in many older homes).  Of course, we speak with a broad brush almost anytime we say that something is “better” – every home or apartment complex is unique, so the best solution for your particular situation may be different from your neighbors.  Read on to discover some of the pros and cons of these systems.

Detailed Answer

Great question!  For reference, we’ve included a small snapshot of a manifold block for those readers who are not familiar with these types of systems.  In a nutshell, manifold systems allow for direct connections from your water source to each individual fixture.  So, for example, there’s a dedicated tube taking water from the manifold in your basement directly to the “cold” handle of your master bathroom sink.  There’s another dedicated tube taking water from the manifold in your basement directly to the “hot” handle of your master bathroom sink.  And there’s still another dedicated tube taking water from the manifold in your basement directly to the toilet in your master bathroom.  This makes for lots of tubing running throughout your home – but it also means more reliable temperatures and more consistent water pressure, since each fixture has its own dedicated supply of water.  Additionally, manifold systems allow you to turn off the water going to each individual fixture; so, for example, you could cut off the water going to your exterior hose in the winter (to prevent freezing) without affecting the water supply throughout the remainder of your home.  This is in contrast to traditional plumbing systems that rely on “main arteries” (larger copper pipes, for example) taking water throughout your home, branching off to each individual room or fixture along the way.

Here’s a quick re-cap and summary of the pros and cons of manifold-style plumbing systems:

  • Each fixture is connected to the manifold separately, which allows for independent control of that particular fixture.
  • Because each fixture is connected to the manifold, this eliminates fluctuating pressure concerns causing scalding and cold occurrences.
  • Each fixture will also have a shut off at the manifold, which allows for isolation should repair to the fixture be required.
  • Assuming it’s installed during a new home build-out, a manifold system also (generally) requires less labor, is easier to install, and uses pex tubing which lasts longer than copper or other material.
  • The best application for this is new construction. It would be difficult and most likely cost prohibitive to convert to manifold-style plumbing systems in existing homes.

In conclusion, though every scenario is unique, manifold-style plumbing systems are a great option for most new homes.  That’s why more and more homeowners are finding them in their homes as time goes by!  Keep in mind that similar systems are also good options for apartment complexes and other commercial applications.

Has anything here piqued your interest?  We’d love to speak with you about it.  Give us a call today!

Tuckey Mechanical Services provides HVAC system installation, maintenance, and repair services throughout South Central Pennsylvania.  Tuckey (PA HIC # 15821) can be reached at 717-249-1535 or
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DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a reference guide only. A qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies should handle all interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, remodeling, metal fabrication, and restoration projects. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

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