Understanding how your plumbing system works can be a challenging thing to learn!
There is an awful lot of information regarding this topic, and it often becomes difficult to know where to begin. Knowing the different types of pipes used in a plumbing system is a great place to start. Whether the plan is to get involved in a DIY plumbing project or hire professional help - it is beneficial to know the basics.
Over time plumbing pipes have evolved. What used to be installed in houses back in the day can now lead to a drenched living room. That’s why we have gathered some information on the 5 main types of plumbing pipes used in homes.
We hope this guide will help you chose the right pipes to install in your house to ensure that your plumbing system works for a long time.
We have come a long way from using galvanised iron or steel pipes for our homes. So understanding the pros and cons of the pipes available in the market today is crucial in making an informed decision.
1. PVC Pipes
Polyvinyl Chloride pipes, also called PVC pipes, have gained immense traction because of how easy they are to work with. They are also relatively lighter in weight than galvanised steel pipes, making them a popular choice. These pipes are made out of a combination of plastic and vinyl and are quite rigid.
PVC pipes are ideal to use for water lines that have highly pressurised water. They can also be used to transport potable water, as long as it meets any standards set for drinking water systems. PVC pipes are very durable as they do not corrode or rust easily and are very affordable.
However, one big issue with PVC pipes is that they cannot carry hot water and are susceptible to warping due to the high temperatures. They are also quite limited in size and not ideal for tight spaces due to their rigidity.
2. ABS Pipes
For vents and drainage systems, ABS pipes are the best choice. ABS pipes are not very different from PVC pipes. However, they are more durable than PVC pipes and are also resistant to colder temperatures. When trying to identify ABS pipes, look out for the ones that are black in colour.
ABS pipes are great for external use but are not a very popular choice in newer houses. One issue with ABS pipes is that they tend to warp when exposed to ultraviolet rays, and that is why they cannot be installed under direct sunlight.
3. Copper Pipes
Copper pipes are the most traditional pipes used for plumbing. There are two main types of copper pipes - rigid copper and flexible copper tubing. The former can be used in the whole house by cutting and soldering together. On the other hand, the latter can be used where some flexibility is needed, like around corners.
There are many varieties of copper pipes in terms of size, which makes them a popular choice to this day. The problem with copper pipes is that they can be more expensive than some of the other pipes available. In addition to this, they are not considered environment-friendly.
4. PEX Pipes
These pipes are great to use for the entire house’s water supply as they do not corrode or rust, which means that the water flowing in them is clean. It is a plastic tube that is very flexible and can be used in tight spaces and corners, unlike PVC pipes that are rigid.
It has specific colour codes for different temperatures of water which makes it easy to organise and also identify once installed in the house.
5. Galvanised Pipes
Finally, we have galvanised pipes which have been around for a while. They are not used in new construction anymore but can be found in old homes. They were once quite popular as they proved to be an effective alternative to lead-based pipes (when those were still used).
If you have a house with an old plumbing system that uses galvanised pipes, we suggest finding a better alternative and getting having it installed for a cleaner system.
In-depth guide to home piping
And with that, we come to the end of our short guide on the 5 main types of plumbing pipes used at home. We hope that we have given you an overview that will help you identify the kind of pipes you have or the ones worth getting.