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Industry Insights

From Inside the Minds of Plumbers
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copper plumbing pipe

Know Your Plumbing Pipe Types

There have been a lot of different pipe materials used in the plumbing industry over the years. Some of these materials, such as galvanized metal, have proven not to be suitable for plumbing and it’s recommended that you have them replaced. Here are the three of the most popular choices used in Seattle indoor plumbing today. Keep reading to learn more!

Copper

Copper pipes are a proven standard for residential plumbing. Copper can be used with hot or cold water and it’s extremely durable. Even better, copper has a long lifespan but can be recycled once it eventually does need to be replaced. However, a downside of copper tubing is the price. Also it’s important to know that copper pipes in older homes (built before 1980) may contain lead-based solder. It’s important that you get them tested and replaced if necessary!

PEX

PEX (Cross-link Polyethylene) is a safe, versatile, and flexible option. It’s extremely heat resistant and is suitable for hot and cold water distribution lines. Its flexibility means easy installation. Plumbers can unroll PEX tubing from long spools and thread it through walls and around tight corners without the need for fittings (a common spot for leaks to develop). Another benefit of PEX is that it’s more freeze resistant than metal or rigid plastic pipes. However, nothing is perfect. A few weaknesses of PEX include the fact that it can’t be used outside (except for underground installations) and it can’t be recycled. Its flexibility also makes it vulnerable to being chewed on by rodents.

CPVC

CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes are a common choice for residential plumbing. Made from a type of plastic, CPVC pipes are known for their durability — unlike metal pipes, there’s no fear of rust or corrosion. CPVC pipes are also more affordable than PEX or metal. CPVC can be used for residential hot and cold-water applications, and is a popular choice to replace old copper tubing. A downside is that CPVC pipes are prone to splitting if they freeze. Also, old CPVC pipes can’t be recycled.

If you have more questions about which option is right for your project, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Best Plumbing. We have been serving Puget Sound residences since 1968. You can give us a call or come visit our showroom any time.

Photo Credit: byrev, available under Creative Commons CCO.

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