In the majority of cases, the pipes that run through your home are either made of plastic or copper. Many homeowners never give a second thought to what type of material the pipes are made of, but if you are faced with the need to repipe your home, it is a good idea to know if you should opt for plastic pipes or copper pipes.
Here is some piping information that will help you make the most informed decision.
Copper pipes have been around for centuries and have been the gold standard amongst metallic pipes. Other materials like lead, iron and galvanized steel all have their drawbacks, some of them quite serious. Yet through it all, copper remains one of the go-to choices for home builders, plumbers, and homeowners everywhere. Here are the pros and cons of using copper pipes in your home.
- Non-toxic and non-reactive
- Long-lasting, up to 70-plus years
- Proven history of being a high-quality pipe material
- Can be used outdoors with sun exposure
- Resistant to chlorine in municipal water supplies
- Resistant to bacterial growth
- Higher cost when compared to plastic pipes
- Possible pinhole leaks in acidic conditions
- Can burst if they end up freezing
- More difficult to install and need more joint and fittings than plastic
- Water sometimes has a metallic taste
Plastic pipes are commonly used in many new builds and for homeowners that want to replace their existing pipes. The most common type is called PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene. Even though they often win when it comes time to decide between plastic pipes or copper pipes, there are still some negatives to keep in mind. Here is a breakdown of both sides:
- More flexible, which enables them to expand and contract during freezing conditions
- Greater flexibility also leads to fewer leaks at joints
- Greater heat retention than copper
- Potential for higher water pressure
- Less expensive than copper for materials and labour
- Shorter life expectancy of about 40-50 years
- Affected by sunlight, so can’t be used outdoors
- Not permissible in all places
Factors such as your budget, the weather extremes of where you live, building needs, and personal preferences will all play a role in determining whether you choose plastic pipes or copper pipes for your home. No matter which material you choose, there are going to be both positives and negatives that you will have to navigate to make the best decision for your home.
If you have been noticing any signs of trouble, such as leaks, patches of mould around your house, elevated water bills, or discoloured water, then don’t hesitate to call for professional attention. We will schedule an appointment to visit your home and give you our recommendation on which type of pipes will work best. Get in touch with us at Marco Plumbing today.