Now that we're sure that the septic system is in good working order and won't bite, we can move on to hot and cold running water!

He says:

The whole house needed to be re-plumbed.  You can really freak yourself out if you are new at plumbing and you start reading plumbing message boards on the internet.  You'll read a lot of paranoia and professional plumbers trying to convince people to leave it all to them.  Don't let it get to you.  

Every home improvement store in the world has a nice selection of PEX plumbing tubing and fittings.  There's a reason for this:  it's easy.
Yes, you will need to practice a bit to get really proficient at making the necessary crimp connections, but it costs almost nothing to make a test crimp then cut it off and do it again.  I bought a couple of plumbing books, but really they weren't necessary.  The kinds of things I actually needed help with weren't in them.  

One thing I knew I wanted was a manifold block.

This is a "water fusebox", providing individual shutoff valves for each pipe in the house.  Very handy during a reno!  I recommend buying this item online if possible, because home improvement stores don't usually carry them...which means you have to go to the dreaded professional plumber's supply.  

Beware the pro supply houses.  My experience of them (plumbing, AC, electrical) has been universally dreadful.  All the pros have credit accounts, trying to pay cash identifies you as a DIYer.  Expect to be significantly overcharged and take anything they say with a large grain of salt.  Home improvement stores may be understocked, disorganized, and have a staff that specializes in ignorance, but at least they aren't running a game on you.  

One thing to note:  The very first thing you want is a main water shutoff valve for the house, preferably outside in the yard.

I dug up the main water line from the meter (3/4" PVC), and called the utility Co. to shut off the water for me.  As it turns out our meter is designed to allow the homeowners to shut it down themselves, and Mr. Utility Man demonstrated, but since it is a long way from the house I added a 1/4 turn shutoff valve to the main line just outside the house anyway.

We needed a new water heater as well, so I built a water closet out of a pre-fab oak pantry, and installed the 40 gallon heater and manifold bloc inside.  Very tidy, if I do say so myself.

She Says:

I love the fact that I can shut off the water to any particular appliance all by myself!  We've got each one labelled on the Manabloc, and just a half turn to the right, and it's off!  (And yes, by the way, I had to mumble "righty-tighty, lefty-loosy" before I wrote that.  So what?)  Anyhoo, I took a nice hot shower in our crappy little bathroom tonight.  HoneyDo, you are my hero!

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