Why would you need to know what type of plumbing pipe is moving the water to and from your home? While this may not exactly seem like a super relevant piece of information, when you are trying to troubleshoot plumbing problems or even when you are hiring a plumber to handle repairs in your home, knowing the type of pipe will be beneficial.
The more you can know about the basics of your home’s plumbing system, the quicker you can get to the bottom of problems and the easier it is to keep your plumbing running smoothly. Being in-the-know when it comes to your residential plumbing can save you time and money. Plus, it will make it easier for you to determine whether a certain plumbing issue means you should replace or repair. It can also enable a professional plumbing team to provide you with a more accurate quote for service or repair. Most homeowners would agree these benefits are worth a lot!
Plumbing Pipe Types: What You Need to Know
Ready to give your plumbing pipe knowledge a boost? Let’s take a look at the most common types of pipes for residential plumbing:
- Although they have been in homes since the 1930s, copper pipes became more common for plumbing in homes starting in the 1960s to the present day. Characteristics of copper pipes include:
Thin walls, making them smaller around than typical steel pipes
- Changing color—from shiny orange-red to a deep brown or even green due to oxidation over time
- High heat tolerance, durability and a lengthy lifespan
In older residential buildings, the copper pipes may have joints comprised of materials including lead, which is a health concern for some builders, plumbers and homeowners. Another disadvantage of copper pipes is the fact that the price of copper has increased significantly in recent years and will likely continue to increase.
Zinc-Coated or Galvanized Steel
Steel pipes with a zinc coating are known as galvanized steel pipes; the coating serves as a protective layer to prevent rusting and corrosion. Characteristics include:
- Thick walls
- Heavy weight
- Silver or gray exterior
Zinc-coated pipes were more common in homes built between 1930 and 1980. Today’s plumbers do not typically utilize galvanized steel pipes for new plumbing installations or new construction projects, because the pipes are cumbersome and difficult with which to work. Plus, the coating tends to break down as time passes and can lead to the pipes rusting internally, which is a cause of low water pressure and water line clogs.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Polyvinyl chloride, widely known as PVC, is a popular type of pipe you may find in homes built between 1950 and the present day. Characteristics include:
- White, hard, plastic-like exterior with markings identifying the type of pipe, size and temperature rating
- The material is not at risk for corrosion, rusting or degrading over time, but it is unsuitable for supply lines carrying hot water
- These pipes are common for use with residential sinks, toilets and bathtub/shower drain lines
Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX)
PEX pipe came onto the plumbing scene in the late 1990s and is now the standard in residential plumbing. Characteristics include:
- Available in any color—although red tubing for hot water supply lines and blue tubing for cold water supply lines are most common
- Flexible material that is easy to cut and install
- Does not rust or corrode
- Features identification markings like PVC pipe
- Must stay out of direct sunlight
Need More than Just Info about Plumbing Pipes?
Being knowledgeable about your home’s type of plumbing pipe is a good place to start, but you may find you need some expert help along the way. Connect with our friendly team of plumbing professionals at Armor Plumbing to get the information and plumbing services you need today.