What Type Of Plumbing Pipe Is Best?

09/28/2021
Rusty pipes

Identifying the types of pipes in your home can be challenging. The age of your home can play a big role in the type of plumbing pipe used. Many older homes used materials that are no longer used (especially lead as this is an extremely hazardous material) and/or used multiple different materials for the water and plumbing pipes. If you live in an older home, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your pipes are made out of hazardous material or that the plumbing is even original. Chances are, repair jobs and renovations since then have included updating the piping.

 

Timeline, Facts, Pros and Cons Of The Different Plumbing Pipe Materials:

Cast Iron (prior to the 60’s)

 Copper (mid 30’s – present)

PROS OF COPPER

Old copper pipe

    1. Not prone to leaks
  1. Very durable
  2. Will not contaminate or pollute drinking water
  3. Old copper pipes can be recycled
  4. Very long lifespan
  5. Heat resistant

CONS OF COPPER

  1. Price
  2. An older copper plumbing pipe may contain lead-based solder

Galvanized Steel (1900’s – mid 70’s)

CONS OF GALVANIZED STEEL

  1. Heavy and difficult to work with
  2. Zinc coating causes internal rusting
  3. Can lead to reduced water pressure/clogged water lines
  4. Lead can be released in the tap water through a corroded galvanized steel plumbing pipe
  5. Water discoloration

Plastic (60’s – present)

Types of plastic pipes:

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes)

PROS OF PVC

  1. Doesn’t rust, corrode, or degrade overtime
  2. Great for sinks, toilets, and bathtub drain lines
  3. Commonly used for main water supply lines
  4. Effective at carrying high water pressure
  5. Cheap
  6. Easy to work with

PVC piping

CONS OF PVC

  1. Can warp when exposed to hot water

 

CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes)

PROS OF CPVC

  1. Safe for drinking water due to extra chlorine
  2. Easy to work with
  3. Effective for hot and cold water supply
  4. More flexible than PVC

CONS OF CPVC

  1. If it freezes, it will split
  2. Old CPVC pipes cannot be recycled

 

PEX (Or Cross-Linked Polyethylene)

PROS OF PEX

  1. Best for retrofits
  2. Very versatile and flexible
  3. Effective for hot and cold water supply
  4. Heat resistant

CONS OF PEX

  1. Due to the means in which PEX is produced, its safety to be used in a water pipe for drinking supply can be of concern.

Over the years, an assortment of materials were installed and then discontinued for residential plumbing pipes. Some older plumbing pipes are still found in homes today, but most have been repaired or replaced to create a safer, and more effective system for your home. Understanding the plumbing pipe material used for your home currently is important before considering any plumbing updates, but it is also important to ensure the safety of your drinking water and your home.

Before attempting any DIY plumbing, it’s important to do your research. However, with something as important (and potentially damaging) as your plumbing system, we suggest always calling the professionals if you do not have plumbing experience! For all of your plumbing needs contact Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating! In emergency situations, contact us 24.7 and take advantage of our emergency plumbing services.