What is the Best Kind of Plumbing Pipe?
Plumbing is an extremely important component of any household. That is why it is vital for you to ensure that your house is outfitted with the best pipes for your needs. There are many different materials out of which pipes are made, including Copper, PEX, CPVC and PP. As with any other material, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Today we are going to discuss the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to picking out pipes for your home.
When you are looking for longevity, nothing beats copper. Pipes made out of copper have a proven track record to stand up against the test of time. In fact, copper pipes have been used for over 80 years. In some cases, the first copper pipes ever used are still going strong. Of course, there is a lot more to like about copper piping than just longevity.
First of all, copper plumbing will not contaminate or pollute your water. On top of that, once you are done with your pipes they can be recycled which is good for the environment. That being said, the real problem with copper is the cost. Copper is a pretty hot commodity around the world, so prices tend to stay high. In fact, the price of copper has been on the rise for the past few years, and it shows no signs of stopping.
Although copper is stronger than PEX, this material makes up for its lack of strength in its flexibility. PEX is a material that can be very easily snaked and twisted through walls. This makes it perfect for retrofitting a house. Unlike copper, just one piece of PEX can be curved and fitted across an entire house. When it comes time for a joint no soldering is needed, unlike copper pipes.
PEX has done well throughout its 30 year history, but it was not widely used until about ten years ago. The real problem with PEX is the fact that some studies found traces of methyl tertiary butyl ether, a toxin that is often found in gasoline. This leaves some people feeling unsafe as to whether this toxin can contaminate their water or not. Studies on the matter have been inconclusive.
CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride)
CPVC is a very close relative of PVC. As such, it has been used for a long time for waste pipes in residential homes. CPVC cannot be used to outfit your entire house. This is because CPVC contains chlorine in its makeup, making it unsafe to use as pipes that carry drinking water.
CPVC is extremely easy to work with and is usually used by people who like do-it-yourself projects. No kind of special skill or tool is needed to work with CPVC. Do keep in mind, however, that CPVC is not an environmentally safe product. During its manufacturing process, it produces a large amount of pollution.
PP (Polypropylene Pipe)
PP does not get a lot of attention in the United States. It has, however, been used for the last 30 years or so in Europe. It is very durable and has a great health safety record. One good thing about PP is the fact that it is not joined together using chemicals. Instead, the ends are fused together so they become one.
As you can see, there are a lot of different materials from which to choose for the piping in your home. Although we broke down the differences, advantages and disadvantages, only you can decide which material is right for you.