Choosing the Right Piping Material for Your Home
You just bought an old house, nice on the outside, sketchy on the inside. The pipes, they need replacing. They’re made of galvanized steel which is rusty and outdated. For the repiping, now you’re thinking… copper or plastic?
We’re here to tell you… there is no right answer and the decision is totally up to you!
We’ve comprised the list of pros and cons for you to consider. Making an informed decision is the first start to being a responsible homeowner.
The Pros of Copper Water Pipes
After studies have shown that steel pipes corrode over time, releasing lead and rust into our consumable water, plumbers have turned to copper pipes as the standard for installation.
- Is durable and reliable.
- Creates a “biostatic atmosphere” so bacteria can’t grow inside.
- Is resistant (although not full-proof) to corrosion.
- Is not affected by UV rays (therefore can be exposed to sunlight).
- Is easily installed and requires fewer tools.
- Does not snap.
The Pros of Plastic Pipes
Now this is where it gets slightly trickier. There are several types of plastic pipes to consider.
Crosslinked Polyethylene (PEX):
- Flexible and easily installed, reducing labor costs!
- Requires fewer connections and fittings, less chance for leaks.
- Does not corrode.
- Is resistant to heat and to freezing.
- Serves great for retrofits.
Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (PVC) Pipes:
- Does not rust, corrode or degrade with time.
- Fits almost all sinks, toilets, and bathtub drain lines.
- Is what’s often used for the main water supply line.
- Resists high water pressure.
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (CPVC):
- More flexible than PVC pipes, can easily snake through the home.
- Easy to install if in a budgetary pinch.
- Resistant to heat and to freezing.
- Emits extra chlorine to purify drinking water.
Repiping Has Its Risks
Now that you know the reasons why you should have plastic or copper pipes, here are the cons to think about:
Cons of Copper Piping:
- Has grown more expensive over the years (10-15x’s more expensive than other pipes!!)
- While resistant, it can corrode depending on the pH levels in the water.
- If too cold, frozen water can cause the copper pipes to burst.
- Copper can leach into the water that stands idle in the pipes.
- New pipes leach more copper into the water than old ones. Older pipes have a layer of minerals from hard water that prevents the leaching of copper into the current running water.
Cons of Plastic Piping:
- PVC Pipes can warp when exposed to hot water.
- CPVC Pipes will split if frozen, and the material is non-recyclable.
- PEX Piping cannot be used outside.
- Since plastic tends to expand and contract, it is permeable to water contamination.
- Easily chewed through by rodents and other vermin.
So What Is Right for Your Home?
As you just learned, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the material for your new set of pipes.
Both sets of materials have advantages and disadvantages and it really just comes down to your preference and your particular household situation.
If you believe that your home needs repiping services or are unsure of where to start, give us a call at (972) 247-3763 and we’ll send an expert over to check your system.