Over the years, there have been many different types of pipes used in the construction of the plumbing system of homes and offices. As the plumbing industry continues to develop more efficient systems, new materials have been used to make better pipes. The ultimate goal is to use pipes that are cost effective and easy to work with.
Related: Preventing Frozen Pipes
Having a basic understanding of what plumbing pipe materials are most often used in the building of homes can help you be more knowledgeable should a plumbing repair project come up. You will be able to talk to your plumber with more confidence and have a better understanding of what the project will entail.
In older homes that were built before 1960, there is a likelihood that galvanized steel or cast iron pipes were used in the plumbing system. These materials are highly durable, but do not have a long life span. As they breakdown, rust can form and lead to clogs in the plumbing system. These days, most plumbers will choose pipes made from a different material when repairing steel or iron plumbing systems.
In more modern home construction, there are 3 types of plumbing pipes more commonly used than any others. They are copper, PVC and PEX pipes.
While copper pipes first appeared in homes around the 1930’s, they became much more common after 1960. Because copper pipes were easier to use than steel and could be made much smaller in diameter, they became a more popular choice among plumbers.
Copper pipes are durable and offer a long life span. They are considered the premium choice when it comes to plumbing pipes. Because copper is such a strong material, it will not break down and pollute your water making it safe for use in the home. The disadvantage to copper pipes is that they can be extremely expensive.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Pipes
PVC pipes were first used in homes built in the 1950’s. They are white, hard plastic pipes that are most commonly used for drain lines. PVC is very strong and very durable, because there is no metal used in its construction, PVC will not corrode or rust over time.
The advantages of PVC plumbing pipes are that it is relatively inexpensive and very easy to use. In fact, people who enjoy doing plumbing projects on their own will typically use PVC pipes. PVC is not suitable for hot water lines and is mainly used for sinks, toilets and bathtub drain lines.
Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, is the most recently developed pipe for residential use and has become the standard for home plumbing across the country. It is easy to install and cut and is highly flexible. PEX pipes is often color coded – red tubing indicating a hot water supply while blue tubing is used to designate cold water supply.
Like PVC, PEX piping will not corrode or rust. It is very durable and long lasting. One big difference between PVC and PEX is pricing as PEX is much more expensive.
While there may be other types of pipes found in homes and buildings in various parts of the country, the 3 listed above are by far the most common. If you have questions about plumbing pipes in your home, give Boydco Plumbing a call at 602-335-0323 today. We are happy to take a look and give you our best assessment.