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Types of Pipes Used in Home Plumbing

Did you know there’s probably a few different materials that make up your plumbing system? Different plumbing jobs can call for different types of piping. Read on to learn the types of pipes used in home plumbing and see what might be snaking through your home.

Pex Piping

This piping is the newest type of piping available within the plumbing market and has quickly become the most popular.

Pex piping is a flexible, plastic pipe that is used for water supply only. It is strong enough to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures while also flexible enough to easily weave through walls, ceilings, basements, and crawl spaces.

Many professionals appreciate that PEX pipe is color-coded red for hot water and blue for cold water and note that its flexibility allows for 90-degree curves, which is advantageous in specific situations. However, professionals admit that this piping’s push-fit plumbing fittings could potentially lead to leaks.

Copper Piping

Copper piping is the standard piping used within the plumbing industry. This pipe is known to last for up to 50 years within residential homes. In addition to its longevity, copper piping is available in two thickness categories: rigid and flexible.

Professionals will tell you that two of the most significant benefits of copper piping are its corrosion-resistant and eco-friendly properties. Not only does copper piping resist corrosion, but it is also able to handle high pressure and varying temperatures.

Furthermore, copper piping is easily recycled and should be top-of-mind for environmentally conscious homeowners. It is essential to note the possible cons of copper piping, which would be the expense of this material. However, when considering the lifespan of copper piping, most would agree that copper piping is a worthy investment.

PVC Pipes

PVC piping is commonly found within your sink, toilet, and shower drain piping. Many plumbers appreciate the fact that this form of piping is lightweight, versatile, and mostly blockage-resistant.

Before incorporating PVC pipe within your home, it is important to educate yourself on possible cons. PVC pipes are not built to withstand significant temperature changes. Additionally, it does not easily bend, which enables PVC to withstand high pressure. Otherwise, PVC pipe proves to be a very affordable option.

ABS Piping

Also known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, this is a plastic piping material very similar to PVC, with its only distinguishable feature being black coloring.

Even though ABS and PVC piping share similarities, they have key differences as well. ABS is only utilized for drain and waste piping. This piping is structured to withstand colder temperatures and is, therefore, less flexible than PVC piping.

ABS is also considered easier to install because it does not require a solvent application before installation; it merely requires cement. However, homeowners need to be aware that ABS cannot withstand direct sunlight and warps quite easily.

Galvanized Steel & Cast Iron

Galvanized steel piping was previously used to serve multiple purposes within a home. For instance, galvanized steel pipes were historically employed for drainage, water supply, and gas supply. Similarly, cast iron piping was commonly incorporated in homes built prior to 1960 to supply vertical drains, vent stacks, and the occasional horizontal drain line.

Cast iron pipes are relatively heat resistant and effectively reduce the sound of moving water within your home. However, both cast iron and galvanized steel are highly prone to rust and corrosion. Once these pipes reach a certain level of corrosion, a blockage is inevitable. You’ll notice that over the years these materials have been replaced with copper and plastic piping.

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