We often get questions about what types of pipes are best for your home. Depending on the age of your home, it could have a variety of different materials for its piping system - from lead to galvanized steel to copper or plastic.
If you have to repipe your home or are contemplating what types of pipes to install, you’re likely deciding between copper or plastic pipes. Today we’ll provide you with an overview of each of these types of pipes and will share some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Sadly, we won’t leave you with a definitive answer of which is better, but we will give you a wealth of knowledge about each to hopefully help you make a decision about what’s best for your home.
The Benefits of Copper Pipes
Copper pipes have long been a favorite for residential piping, and they offer a number of benefits. Many homeowners are accustomed to these and have come to rely on them.
Copper pipes are durable, and they resist corrosion. Plus, they’re a “biostatic atmosphere,” meaning it’s hard for bacteria to grow in them.
Additionally, copper pipes are not affected by UV rays, which means that they can be used outdoors. All in all, they’re a durable and reliable choice for indoor and outdoor piping.
The Benefits of Plastic Pipes
Plastic pipes, known as cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), are a newer and increasingly popular type of piping. For new homes, these are the most common type of pipes to have installed.
These pipes are flexible and require fewer connections and fittings, making them quick and easy to install. As you can imagine, this significantly reduces installation costs.
Plus, with fewer fittings, there are fewer opportunities for leaks. Finally, PEX pipes do not corrode, and they’re not susceptible to freezing. Given their flexibility, they’re particularly ideal for small areas that are too tight for rigid copper pipes.
Issues to Consider When Repiping
While they each have some clear advantages, they also have some disadvantages that you’ll want to weigh when deciding what type of pipes to use. If you’re considering copper pipes, you’ll want to keep in mind that they’re:
Expensive; can corrode with certain pH levels; can burst if water freezes; and raise the risk of copper making it into your water supply. This risk is increased for newer copper pipes as water that sits in pipes can lead to some copper leaching into your water supply.
Similarly, PEX pipes have their downsides. If you’re considering these, you’ll want to keep in mind that they can’t be used outside; they’re not impermeable, which can lead to water contamination; they expand and contract, and rodents can chew through them.
As we said at the beginning, unfortunately, we won’t leave you with a clear answer as to which type of piping is best. But, hopefully understanding more about some of the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you make a decision about which piping system is best for you. If you need repiping or need to have your plumbing system checked, call Nixco Plumbing Inc. today at (513) 445-5142.