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- By James Wisler
There are two types of home plumbing: sewer piping and water piping, which delivers water from the source to each fixture/appliance in your home. Today we’re going to be focusing on water piping.
Many different types of water pipes are available for any homeowner today. However, some of them are better than others. Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to water piping materials.
Probably 10 to 30 years ago, copper water lines comprised the biggest portion of pipes that were installed. To this day, copper is still a tried and true material to use. The downside is that it’s metallic (metal), so it will break down and become thin if you have poor water quality or if it’s not installed properly. Once it breaks down, it will result in pinhole leaks that can cause damage to your home.
PEX pipe (Cross-linked polyethylene pipe) has three different classifications: PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C. Each classification has different manufacturers and installation methods. If we were to replace the water lines in your home, we’d always prefer to use PEX-A because the type of fittings that are used are the most dependable. They are highly resistant to any potential leaks in the future. (However, when we make repairs, we will use the type of piping that is most appropriate.)
Metal or Plastic?
As the homeowner, you have to make a decision about whether you prefer metal or plastic piping. Some people are fearful of plastic because it can potentially break down in the water and cause sickness or illness. Some people have also been led to believe that it can cause cancer.
The PEX-A pipe that we use is NSF Standard 61 approved, which means that there’s no breakdown and it is completely safe for public consumption. There are no concerns about the safety of using this material in your home.
You also have to consider whether you have well water or municipal water. In most cases, copper piping is fine for use with municipal water because it does not have a low pH. If you have well water, though, you definitely need to check the water quality first. If the water has a lower pH, it’s not going to be a good application for copper.
PVC, Polyline, etc. are typically reserved for the underground line coming into the house. They should not be installed within the home, especially on the hot water system. Copper, PEX, and CPVC (another type of glue system) can be used for both hot and cold water lines.
If you have any questions about the different materials that can be used in your home’s water piping, contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.