Taking a good look at your home's plumbing system can reveal something that looks more like a multi-colored maze than an efficient water supply option. This is especially true for homes that are several decades old or those that have undergone more than a few plumbing repairs during its lifetime.
In addition to color differences, homeowners may also see differing sizes of pipes. If the previous pipe repairs were of the DIY variety, there may also be a frightening number of strange plumbing joints and connections. This can lead to confusion for homeowners who are planning to upgrade their plumbing system.
If you are preparing to upgrade your home's current plumbing system and are unsure of which pipe type you should use, this information can help you decide.
Cross-linked polyethylene, commonly called PEX, is one of the newer plumbing pipe materials available. One of the main reasons that PEX has become a plumbing favorite is because it has the ability to expand slightly, making it more likely to withstand freeze damage than other more rigid materials, like copper.
PEX also eliminates the risk of corrosion as the material ages and offers a reduction of the noise created by flowing water. Color-coding and ease of installation also offers many benefits for both homeowner and the plumber who is doing the work. It is also available in more than one variety for specific applications, such as PEX-A, which is the most resistant to freeze damage.
Copper pipes have long enjoyed a prestigious place with plumbing and building contractors. A relatively soft metal, copper pipes are easy to bend and shape as needed and the ends can be flanged and soldered to provide a watertight connection. Copper is also known for longevity and it will not leach into drinking water, as lead pipes did. At the end of its useful life as a water pipe, copper piping can be easily recycled into new pipes or other products, over and over again.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) are both manufactured to be safe for carrying either hot and cold water in the home. Some of the benefits offered by PVC and CPVC are wide availability and inexpensive price. They are are not, however, as environmentally friendly as both copper or as resistant to freeze damage as PEX.
Choosing the right pipe material is an important decision that homeowners will need to make when planning a plumbing system replacement or upgrade. To get more information about these and other choices, discuss your concerns with a reputable plumbing contractor like Arnold & Sons Plumbing, Sewer & Drain Services before finalizing your decision.