Many years ago, plumbing began in Greece by using clay pipes to supply water and carry sewage away. In the present time, you can find different materials used in pipes that stream hot and cold water to eachfixture in a house. These pipes are also used to create a vital drain and vent system. However, not every pipe can be used in all situations, and not all are up to code.
Whether you are hiring a plumber or taking on a DIY plumbing project, it can be confusing with the different choice of plumbing pipes. How would you know which pipe to use for water supply, drainage, sewer, and even for the exterior? If you are confused, we are here to help you. Today, we are giving you a list of the types of water pipes used in a home.
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1. PEX Pipes
Polyethylene cross-linked pipe or PEX is a plastic tubing that is commonly used for water supply lines. It is affordable and reliable, as it does not leach traces of rust or corrosion into the water, unlike other types of pipes. PEX is also very easy to install. It is flexible, making it easy to work with and maneuver. With this type, you also have the freedom to use several connection methods, making it work with different tool options, as well.
PEX pipes are also color-coded to keep your plumbing organized. There are some that come in three colors, such as red for hot water, blue for cold water, and white for whichever. Traditional water supply lines usually branch off the main water line and supply water to different fixtures. However, a single PEX tube is directly attached to a hot or cold faucet, while its other end attaches to a centrally located water distribution manifold. This way, each PEX tube will have its own shut-off valve for you to turn off the water to a sink faucet when you need to make repairs without the need to turn off the water of other fixtures.
The only downsides of PEX pipes are that their long-term capabilities are untested, and it may leak with push-fit plumbing fittings.
2. PVC Pipes
Polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipes are usually used in a home’s sewage system. It gained popularity due to its lightweight. It is also easier to work with compared to steel pipes. It can be installed easily and requires little more than a hacksaw and a miter box to cut. It can also be glued together using solvents.
The best thing about PVC pipes is that their diameters are marked clearly on the white surface of the pipe, it is inexpensive, can be used for long runs like for irrigation, and it is easier to work with compared to copper or steel. However, PVC pipes cannot be unjointed and needto be cut. Also, glued pipes are prone to leaking, and it can degrade when exposed to sunlight. It means that it is great for a toilet’s drain line but should not be used for highly pressurized water supply lines and for hot water.
3. ABS Pipes
If you see a black pipe in a sink, toilet, or tub drain, it is most likely made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS. It is mainly used as a vent and drain line. It looks similar to a PVC pipe, but it is black and slightly softer. ABS pipes are much stronger than PVC pipes. It is perfect for underground exterior use, and it works well in cold temperatures, as well.
The only downside of ABS pipes is that it warps and deforms at certain temperatures. It is also often not permitted by building code.
4. Copper Pipes
Copper pipes are commonly used for water supply lines. They have been used for decades, and you can find them around sinks, showers, tubs, and other fixtures both in old and newer homes. It is popularly used because the metal does not affect the quality of the water.
There are also flexible copper pipes or tubing that are used for final runs to water heaters, some sinks, and refrigerators. However, it is only used for short runs and can be cut with ease using a hacksaw. It can also be bent to fit around corners. Copper pipes have high heat tolerance. However, they can also be expensive. You will also need to hire a professional plumber to install or repair copper pipes in your home.
5. Galvanized Steel Pipe and Cast Iron
These are two types of water pipes that are commonly used for water supply and drain lines in older homes. Galvanized pipe is no longer used in new construction, but it was once widely used and can still be found in many older houses. It was a great option when the lead pipe was still in place because it provided a lead-free alternative.
Even though the galvanized steel pipe is still around, it is less used and is no longer used for water supply in new construction or remodel projects. Each end of this pipe is threaded, and individual pipes are screwed into each other with connecting joints.
Cast iron pipes, on the other hand, were often used for sewer and other drainage purposes. It is still found in many homes today. However, it is viable until the point that it rusts completely. It is also very heavy and difficult to cut. With this, it has been replaced by retrofits with rigid plastic pipes, like ABS.
These are the types of water pipes that are commonly used in homes. If you are building a new home, it is essential to know these types of pipes for you to choose wisely on which to use. If you live in an older home, you may need to consider if it’s time to replace outdated or deteriorated pipes with better ones. We hope this helped you further understand the different types of pipes used in homes.