All About Home Plumbing Pipes

All About Home Plumbing Pipes

It is crucial to consider the material used for constructing plumbing pipes.

Back in ancient times, people used clay and lead pipes for their plumbing systems. However, the popularity of these materials fell due to the dangers they pose, such as poisoning. Thankfully, there are many options available today — both classic and modern materials.

If you’re in the process of constructing a new house or planning a major renovation, you might be looking for different types of pipes for your home’s plumbing system. To see which one best suits your needs, we’ll walk you through the main types of plumbing pipes along with their pros and cons.

Main Types of Plumbing Pipes

The five common plumbing pipes based on materials available are:

1. Galvanized Steel Pipes

Galvanized steel pipes used to be the most popular option for home plumbing. They aren’t used a lot these days, but they’re still one of the first types of plumbing pipe that comes to mind when thinking about plumbing systems.

Aside from being undeniably strong, galvanized steel pipes have layers of zinc coating that prevent corrosion. Despite this, plumbing companies rarely use them for carrying and transporting potable water.

Pros

  • They are cheaper than other plumbing pipes.
  • They require less maintenance.

Cons

  • They have a shorter lifespan than other plumbing pipe materials.
  • They are susceptible to rust and clogging over time.
  • They can cause lead contamination.
  • They are difficult to work with due to their weight.

2. Cross-linked Polyethylene Pipes

Cross-linked polyethylene pipes, aptly known as PEX pipes, are new to the plumbing industry. They are made from a flexible plastic material, making them suitable for a wide variety of applications. Aside from being an excellent option for continuous runs, these plumbing pipes are easy to cut and join.

Pros

  • They are long-lasting and corrosion-resistant.
  • They are the best plumbing pipes for flexibility.
  • They are easy to install.
  • They can transport both hot and cold water.
  • They are great in terms of thermal conductivity.

Cons

  • They have the potential to contaminate water.
  • They are for indoor use only.
  • They don’t go well with chlorine.
  • They are susceptible to damage by rodent bites.
  • They get damaged when exposed to extremely high temperatures.

3. Copper Pipes

Although copper pipes are considered a traditional option, they remain one of the best pipes for plumbing. They don’t come with any health risks, so these plumbing pipes are perfect for water supply lines within homes. The two main types used to outfit plumbing systems are:

  • Flexible Copper Tubing – As the name implies, this type of copper pipe is soft and flexible, best used in short runs, tight spaces, and corners.
  • Rigid Copper – This is a hard type of copper pipe used throughout plumbing systems. It can be cut and soldered together.

Copper pipes are available in different diameters — the most common are 15mm and 22mm, but there are sizes up to 108mm.

There are different thickness grades to consider before using them:

  • Type M – This grade is the thinnest, often used in drain-waste-vent piping systems (DWV). Type M pipes can transport hot and cold water.
  • Type L – This grade has a medium thickness, often used to transport potable water. Similar to type M, this plumbing pipe works well with hot and cold water.
  • Type K – This grade is the thickest; it can withstand harsh conditions and is often used for underground applications.

Pros

  • They can last for up to 50 years.
  • They are sturdy, making them invulnerable to leakage.
  • They have excellent corrosion resistance.
  • They are recyclable.
  • They can kill bacteria and viruses, making them suitable for transporting potable water.
  • They are resistant to extreme temperatures.

Cons

  • They are more expensive than other plumbing pipes.
  • They aren’t considered a green product.

4. Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes

Polyvinyl chloride pipes, aptly called PVC, are among the most popular plumbing pipe options nowadays. They are made from a thermoplastic polymer — a combination of vinyl and plastic. With their versatility, they work well for various applications, including draining wastewater and transporting potable water. They are available in different colors and thicknesses to match different plumbing applications.

Pros

  • They can last for up to a hundred years.
  • They can handle high pressures.
  • They are light and easy to work with.
  • They are affordable.
  • They are resistant to corrosion.

Cons

  • They are available in limited sizes.
  • They are susceptible to warping.

5. Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride pipes, also called CPVC, are almost the same as PVC. Their difference is that they are chlorinated, giving them the ability to withstand extreme temperatures. For that reason, many plumbing companies use CPVC instead of PVC.

Pros

  • They have a 100-year service life.
  • They work well even in high water pressures.
  • They are lightweight and easy to install.
  • They are affordable.
  • They have excellent corrosion resistance and temperature tolerance.

Cons

  • They are only suitable for indoor applications.

Call A Better Plumber for Plumbing Pipe Installations

For remodeling or new construction projects, A Better Plumber is here to help you determine the best pipes for plumbing.

Our plumbers in Aurora, CO, assess the condition of your property and other factors to determine the best type of plumbing pipe for your construction projects. They also provide a wide range of services, including installation, repairs, and maintenance. For any inquiries about how we can help you, contact us today!

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