Types of Pipes Used in Home Plumbing
It may seem a little odd to the layman or novice, but the type of pipe you install in your home is very dependent on the task it's used for. For example, if a pipe is responsible for supplying water to the kitchen, it takes a different pipe than one that brings the waste from the toilet to the sewage system outside.
Professionals can always be consulted to answer your questions about piping within the home. Still, you can familiarize yourself with some of the basics below with our guide to the most common pipes used throughout your home.
Polyethylene pipe is fantastic for beginners to install in their homes because it is flexible, can be used in nearly any room or situation, and is an inexpensive option for any type of home improvement project or plumbing maintenance.
Pex piping is usually color-coded for your convenience so that you know what temperature of water belongs in which pipe, something that cannot be done for metal pipes that will be featured later in this article.
The main benefit above all others to pex piping is that you can shut down a single valve if there is a leak or another issue without turning off the water supply to the house. Many other types of piping require more extensive shutting down of water, something that is always a major hassle when plumbing issues arise.
Copper pipes are some of the most popular in the entire industry. This is because the metal used in plumbing often affects the quality or the taste of the water that goes through the line. Copper doesn't interact with the water in any way and won't interfere with your water quality.
Copper also doesn't have any issues with corrosion or rusting because copper as a material is rust-resistant.
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. The material is ideal for situations that don't require high-temperature water. This means that PVC pipes will hardly ever be used in the kitchen or any other sinks because the application of high heat will ruin the pipe's shape and flexibility.
Often PVC pipes will and should be recommended by your local professional for sewage and toilet piping. The water that runs through these lines is always cooler, and the pipes are suitable for carrying the wastes away from the toilet bowl.
ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. This material is very similar to polyvinyl chloride, so PVC and ABS are often used interchangeably in homes. The material is typically black, so it is easy to identify in comparison to other piping.
ABS has an even harder time standing up to high heat than PVC because sunlight also affects it. These pipes are never installed anywhere that is exposed to the outside elements. Underground and serving the purpose of sewage is always ideal for ABS piping.
Galvanized steel is one of the older styles of piping found in homes built several decades ago. If you have a house that you have lived in for an extended time and need to repair a pipe, you will probably find a steel one in many places.
These pipes are not used explicitly for sewage, bathrooms, and sinks. They are very versatile because they hold up under age and pressure and don't have any temperature restrictions.
However, you will most likely need to go in and add copper piping or pex if you see that your home is filled with steel because the quality of your water will be contaminated by rust if the steel is getting quite old. Pex is also more flexible, so you should ask your plumbing professional about using it in most situations.
Cast iron has the same background and specifics as galvanized steel. The same durability and eventual corrosion risks are at play here. Talk to your plumber about replacing these with pex as well if you have an older home.
Not Sure What You Need? We’re Here to Help!
The type of pipe you use is entirely dependent on the situation and the purpose of the pipe. If you aren’t clear what pipes are the best fit for your project, talk to a plumber before taking your next steps. The professionals at Proskill are here to help.