Today, there are many different options when it comes to what you can use for a water pipe. In nearly all older houses, you can find a mixture of different types of pipes. This is usually due to repairs and remodels that a house has gone through over the years. This can lead to many, different generations of plumbing being used within a system. In many cases, this will work. However, this can lead to huge problems when the wrong piping is mixed.
Like most other things, a water pipe has an expiration date. This could be up to 100 years, but you still need to know when your water pipes need replacing. The question becomes what type of pipe you should use when you need to repair your pipe system.
There are three main options for water pipes on the market today. Copper, PEX pipe, and PVC pipe are the main options. Each one has its pros and cons; however, they all have excellent performance and last a long time.
Copper is the standard type of water pipe that has been used from the time indoor plumbing become popular. Copper has been proven to last a long time, and it can last up to a 100 years. Many plumbers will use copper for a visible water pipe as it is the most attractive option. It also does not contract or expand which makes copper water pipes the best for areas with temperature and pressure changes. The main issue with copper piping is that it is the most expensive material. Labor is also intensive for copper pipe installation.
In Europe, PEX piping has been around since the 1970’s and was released in the 1980’s in the United States. For many remodeling projects, the use of PEX pipe is the best choice. PEX pipe is cheaper than copper and is about the same cost as PVC pipe. PEX fittings are also easier and faster to install than copper. Another major benefit of using PEX pipe is that they do not corrode like copper, and work with acidic water without sustaining damage. The use of PEX pipe is recommended in colder climates since they are less likely to burst due to frozen lines. Also,PEX pipe comes in long lengths and is very flexible. This flexibility means that there are only a few PEX fittings that are used when doing the installation.
While using PEX pipe is one of the best options, PVC pipe still has some benefits that are worth looking at. The biggest advantage is that it is the least expensive option for a water pipe. PVC pipe can also handle up to 180F, making it a good replacement for copper pipes for hot water. It is also simple to install, and there is less chance for errors like copper and PEX pipes. However, PVC pipes cannot exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, as they will break down. Also, bug sprays and other chemicals cannot be used on the piping.