There are so many different pipe types in plumbing. It can get very overwhelming when working on a plumbing project. Every single one has a different function, as well as different pros and cons. Unfortunately, there isn’t just a one-size-fits-all option and you need the right pipe for your project.
Copper pipe types are the most aesthetically pleasing option, and have been the standard in potable water pipes for over 50 years. They can handle both hot and cold water lines. Unlike some of its plastic counterparts, copper can withstand sunlight. Copper is also great at resisting corrosion, however, there are some disadvantages. Copper is likely to get little holes and it tends to be fairly expensive.
Brass pipe types are not quite as common as copper pipes but do have similar corrosion resistance capabilities. It also has the same use as copper, hot and cold water lines. Its advantages are long-lasting, and rust-resistant. They also are a little easier to work with than stainless steel pipes.
A PVC pipe type is probably one of the more commonly known pipes. It is a white plastic pipe with a variety of uses. Like the two mentioned above, it is also used in water distribution systems but can not be used with water over 140℉. However, PVC pipes come in a bunch of different sizes, and diameters. This makes them great for many different applications, some not even including plumbing! Their main advantage is that PVC is fairly inexpensive.
There is a subtype of PVC, which is CPVC. CPVC and PVC are different but have many of the same uses.
PEX is a newer type of pipe type. Just like PVC and CPVC, PEX is also plastic. However, PEX is flexible. Due to its flexibility, PEX can make turns without any joints. This also allows for a manifold design. Manifold differs from the traditional trunk and branch design because it utilizes pipelines that run directly to each fixture and can individually shut off each one. PEX is suitable for water lines, heating systems, and anything for which copper can be used!
PEX is also easier to install but it does have a few disadvantages. It is extremely sensitive to sunlight, which means it can only be installed in areas where there are no windows. Due to its material, PEX needs special tools and equipment to install.
Stainless Steel Pipes
This pipe type is frequently mistaken for brittle galvanized steel; however, they are distinct. Stainless steel, despite being a pricier option, provides significant flexibility. It excels in high-temperature environments and finds application in commercial plumbing for transporting more acidic materials.
Using stainless steel comes with some drawbacks, including the requirement for specific couplings when connecting to other pipe types and being one of the pricier options among pipe materials.
Galvanized Steel Pipes
Galvanized steel used to be a very popular type of pipe. Now, it is never used in plumbing applications. It corrodes and breaks down very easily. It is lined with zinc, which used to be thought to help prevent corrosion. However, with time the zinc breaks down then the steel will. We highly recommend repiping your home when your galvanized steel pipes break down.
Cast Iron Pipes
Cast iron constitutes the heaviest type of pipe. Typically employed in drainage and sewer systems, it should never be utilized for potable water sources due to its tendency to rust. Cast iron pipes are available in a broad range of diameters, making them suitable for applications spanning residential to commercial use. While cast iron was once more prevalent, PVC or CPVC are now favored for their affordability and ease of installation.
The multitude of pipe types can get confusing, and a lot of the pipes can be used for the same thing. We highly recommend you call a trusted plumber to help you sort out what pipe is right for your project.
Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need a plumber. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.