What Type of Pipes Should You Have for Your Home?
The pipes in our homes aren’t something we give a huge amount of consideration to – we turn on a tap and they supply us with water or they send the hot water that heats the radiators or shower. But there are different types of pipes in use in our homes with their own benefits and potential issues. And while working with a plumber means you don’t need to be an expert, it never hurts to have a basic understanding of the options.
Choosing a pipe
There are a number of factors that influence what type of pipe a plumber will recommend being fitted in your home. For example, if the pipe is carrying clean drinking water, then the material will need to be suitable for this. If it is carrying hot water, then again it needs to be strong enough not to warp with this.
The length, diameter and thickness of the pipe all play a part in the decision and obviously, the budget for the project will have an effect.
Is steel still an option?
Steel pipes were once fairly common and while newcomers have overtaken them in some cases, there is still a lot going for them. Look out for stainless steel that contains molybdenum rather than carbon steel or cast iron as these have the resistance to corrosion and are suitable for drinking water as well as being strong. They are also less likely to have bacteria deposits forming in them.
Added to this, steel pipes are easy to manufacture and install, meaning the cost is kept down. They are quick to clean and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan as well as being fire-resistant.
Copper pipes certainly have the looks and can be ideal if you want to have the pipes showing but are they more than just pretty? Copper is a very lightweight option that lasts a long time and is suitable for both hot and cold water. It is non-permeable so it resists corrosion and water pressure plus it can be recycled when finished with.
The main downside of copper is that it is more expensive than other options, partly because of the demand for it. And because it can conduct electricity, there is the need to make sure it is grounded properly.
Plastic pipes are a relative newcomer but do have some advantages in certain areas. They use materials such as PVC, similar to the material used for double glazing windows, and are tough, lightweight and resistant to rust, chemicals and corrosion. They are very cost effective and can be made to be less prone to leaking than other types of pipe. They are also more flexible and the smooth interior surface allows for easy flow of water.
The biggest problems with plastic pipes are that they cannot be decomposed. They also don’t work with hot water as they can warp and twist so are only suitable for cold or cooler temperatures, not bringing hot water to the sink, bath or shower.