Although it might not be the most interesting aspect of a bathroom or kitchen makeover, you may need to consider the sort of plumbing pipes you choose – particularly if you have an older property with galvanized plumbing.
Did you know that copper pipes are a popular choice for water delivery because of their advantageous properties such as durability? But those perks come at a cost! With the rising value of copper, the price of copper pipes rises as well. Copper is significantly costlier than cross-linked polyethylene (also known as PEX) but it may be worth the expenditure for small tasks in the long term.
I am sure you know that several materials have been utilized throughout the long and rich history of plumbing, beginning with hollowed-out wood. For many years in the age of contemporary indoor plumbing, the most preferred material was galvanized steel, which demonstrated to be more durable than any metal previously utilized. Steel pipes made indoor plumbing possible, and many households and companies still have them today.
However, due to steel’s tendency to deteriorate over time, copper pipes have surpassed galvanized steel as the metal of choice during the previous seven decades. Copper is now competing with polymers such as PEX, PVC, and CPVC, although it remains a popular alternative. And why plastic is occasionally a superior option.
For ages, plumbers and repairmen have debated whether a copper pipe is best for your home’s infrastructure. Each way, like any other option, it has its own advantages and disadvantages, but do not worry, I am here to help you out! I have compiled a list of benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.
Let us delve deeper into what makes copper an appealing choice for plumbing.
Do you remember why lead pipes were no longer used in water lines? Since lead may dissolve in water and eventually wind up in our bodies, causing serious negative effects that could even result in death. Are you wondering how dangerous lead is? Healthcare professionals have unanimously concluded that there are no acceptable amounts of lead in the human body!
Look to see whether your home was constructed before the 1950s and if it still has lead pipes. Although galvanized steel pipes are not harmful and offer no health hazards, the brown water they produce cannot be used for drinking, or bathing.
It will also discolor porcelain fixtures and choke showerheads, faucet aerators, as well as other fixture valves in the household. This is when copper pipes come into play. Copper pipes are highly resistant to corrosion and will not react with water, therefore there is little chance that they will contaminate your water.
Now, how does copper stack up against PEX in this respect? The Environmental Working Group discovered 150 pollutants in water flowing via PEX pipes. Each of the more than 70 PEX pipe manufacturers evaluated leached numerous toxins into the water, but there are no enforceable government requirements for customers to cross-check.
An unbiased study examined six kinds of PEX pipes and discovered that each type produced scents that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards (EPA). Chemicals such as toluene (neurotoxic) and MTBE were also leached from the pipes (cancer causing agents).
A factor to bear in mind is that bacteria can grow in PEX pipes if bacteria are present in the water supply to your home. That will not happen if copper pipes are installed.
Fun fact: Copper plumbing pipes have shown to be extremely long-lasting! This pipe material can withstand pressures of up to a thousand pounds per square inch. Copper pipe has an average lifespan of five to seven decades, according to factors such as the surrounding environment, quality of water, and operation habits. For a lifespan, this material can resist the needs of large to small families.
Another possible explanation is that copper plumbing pipes are famous for their ability to tolerate extreme cold and heat. In contrast to other materials, these pipes are less prone to freeze during the winter season. Furthermore, a copper pipe is impervious to water corrosion.
In comparison to PEX and PVC pipes, the production process for copper plumbing pipes is more ecologically friendly since it emits less harmful pollutants and chemicals into the atmosphere. Furthermore, copper pipes may be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Because copper plumbing pipes are lightweight, they are simple to install by specialists. Furthermore, this material is incredibly flexible and can span huge distances all through the household. Because copper is incredibly resilient, it does not need any additional materials or equipment to meet your specifications.
Copper pipe is fire resistant due to its high thermal rating. Copper is a fantastic alternative for consumers that are worried about employing fire retardant materials. Outside, copper pipes can be used.
Even though most plumbing pipes are normally hidden behind walls, you may need to put water pipes outside, where they will be visible. If you are in the same boat, copper is your best buddy.
In this example, I will also contrast copper pipes to PEX pipes, which are more commonly used as an option. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, copper is unaffected, contrary to PEX pipes, which deteriorate with time.
Copper pipes are more flexible around connections than PVC and PEX. Because of the procedure used to connect them, PEX and PVC pipes are fairly solid around the joints. If the region where you reside is prone to tremors such as those encountered during earthquakes, copper pipes can endure the shocks and resist damage better than plastic pipes.
Now, what are the disadvantages of copper pipes? What would entice you to investigate copper replacements as a plumbing material?
The primary driver of the growth of alternate solution pipework is affordability. Copper plumbing piping is costlier than polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or cross-linked polyethylene piping (PEX). Because of its durability and flexibility, the latter is increasingly becoming a benchmark in many household applications.
The affordability is one of the primary reasons why most households prefer PEX over copper pipes. If you are repairing all of the pipes in your home or building in a new property, the price gap between copper and PEX will be enormous, and some individuals will easily pick PEX.
Copper pipes cost between $2 and $4 per foot, based on where you live. PEX pipes, on the contrary, will cost between 50 cents and $2 dollars per foot, while PVC will cost between 50 cents and $1 per foot. Copper pipe installation will also cost more than PEX or PVC pipe installation. Copper pipes take more time to cut, prep, and connect than PEX pipes.
One benefit of installing PEX over copper is that you do not have to make as many cuts in the walls. Because of their flexibility, they may easily be snaked through ceilings and walls.
Copper is relatively solid (not flexible) and will thus require multiple connections (elbows) that will eventually need to be welded and inspected for leaks. All of this takes time, and as we all know, time is of the essence.
While the effect is minor, copper plumbing pipes may provide a metallic flavor to your water supply, which may be undesirable to some homes. Some individuals have noted that copper pipes may give water a metallic flavor. This is particularly apparent if you have not used the water in your residence in a long time, such as after returning from a holiday.
The good news is that the metallic-tasting water is not hazardous to your health. In this scenario, you should hire a qualified plumber to install a reliable domestic water purification system.
Do you use well water or water with high acidity concentrations? You may experience problems with your copper pipes a few years after installation.
This will be a worry for people who get their water from a personal well, but not so much for those who get their water from the municipal supply. If the water from your well is acidic, your copper tubing will have issues years after they are installed.
As far as metals go, copper is the most flexible, but plastic pipes can bend to fit into practically any area. Plastic pipes’ color-coding makes them considerably easier to use for plumbers, who may specify different colors for hot and cold plumbing.
In conclusion, in terms of expenses, it is a good idea to evaluate both PEX and copper pipes, as well as the fittings that go with them, depending on the job at hand. If you hire a professional for the service, request an itemized quotation for both choices.
When it comes to plumbing for your home, you do not have to stress about choosing between all copper pipes and all plastic pipes! An experienced plumber will combine the two, utilizing copper for main lines and PEX or CPVC for branch lines, determining the optimal material for each work. This is why, rather than an amateur, you always should entrust your plumbing to a competent expert.