Today’s plumbers typically use PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) piping as the water supply lines. This durable plastic is safe, simple for even inexperienced DIYers to cut and connect, and more affordable compared to copper options.
Copper pipes, on the other hand, are more costly and must be soldered together prior to installation. While these durable and long-term pipes offer great durability and longevity, they may not always be appropriate for every project.
PEX pipes have long been preferred by plumbers for their resistance to freezing damage, pitting corrosion and scale build-up – not to mention its relatively inexpensive installation costs and fast setup time compared to copper or CPVC alternatives. PEX uses compression fittings instead of glue for connecting pipes together – saving both time and effort during assembly and connection time by up to half! Plus their flexible connections minimize connections by half further cutting installation times down.
PEX pipes are not only more cost-effective and non-toxic, they’re also eco-friendlier compared to metal ones as their production requires less energy consumption.
However, it has some drawbacks. Rodents enjoy nibbling away at it so you will need to watch for signs of rodent activity (droppings or chewed wood or paper). Furthermore, its degrading in sunlight quickly, so outdoor display cannot remain intact for too long; you can extend its lifespan by coating with latex paint but professional installation should still be contacted for this task.
Copper plumbing systems have become increasingly popular due to its durability and long lifespan, as it withstands heat better and resists corrosion more effectively than plastic alternatives. Furthermore, copper does not emit toxic fumes during firefighting operations and should therefore remain safe for human contact.
Though still used widely in new construction projects, copper pipes have increasingly been eclipsed by flexible polyethylene (PEX) pipes due to their numerous benefits at close to half the cost of traditional copper.
Type K copper pipes feature the thickest walls among common types and are distinguished by green markings, typically reserved for underground installations and other locations where strong, durable material is required. Type L copper has thinner walls with blue markings; typically used to repair interior branch water supply lines but may also be suitable for natural gas or HVAC use.
Polybutylene (PB) pipes were popular from 1978-1995 due to being cost-effective, straightforward to install and tolerant of expansion and contraction. Production ceased abruptly due to numerous reports of these piping systems leaking and causing water damage in homes.
Leaks in plastic-bounded pipes (PB pipes) can lead to numerous issues, including increased utility bills and mold growth in crawl spaces or walls; reduced water pressure; or even more serious damages that will require costly repairs as well as decrease in value of your home.
If your house contains old poly pipes, consider replacing them. A new plumbing system will increase its value while giving you peace of mind knowing that everything is safe and in working condition.
As with many decisions in life–red or blue paint, scrambled or fried eggs–there must also be one made when selecting plumbing pipes for your home. Although it might seem minor, pipe material has an impactful long-term effect on its use and lifespan.
Plumbers frequently choose ABS as an economical and durable piping material for drain, waste and vent piping systems, however this material cannot withstand direct sunlight conditions underground or places exposed directly.
ABS pipes are less flexible than PVC ones, making them harder to use and contain BPA which may not be ideal for drinking water lines. While local regulations don’t dictate which pipe to use for jobs, plumbers may still select their preferred pipes based on aesthetic and cost considerations alone – for instance PVC is better at handling cold temperatures and is quieter during water flow through it compared to ABS.