As you work closely with your plumber to plan out the locations of tubs and sinks, you’re likely to discuss what kinds of pipes to use. A reputable, experienced plumber can give you great advice about what the best choices are for your situation. It helps to be well informed about the various material residential pipes are made of and which one is the best choice for you.
Pipes will be installed in your home for a variety of purposes. Not only in kitchens and baths, but also in sprinkler systems, radiant floor heating, sewage, drainage, furnaces and boilers. Each pipe, fitting and connection will have a specific purpose and a specific condition, like exposure to the elements and pressure levels and each one of these factors are important in considering which materials to choose. This choice and this installation is critical. A misinformed decision could result in a visit from an emergency plumber.
What about copper? Copper is a long-lasting, attractive material that is often used in homes. It is, however, one of the more expensive options but is a good choice for homeowners who value long life and durability. Copper pipes come in a variety of thickness, specifically designed for various uses in a home. Copper resists corrosion and often expands with extreme temperatures, rather than bursting, which can be a great advantage to homeowners facing rough winters. Discuss this option with your plumber and make sure he is experienced with copper pipe installation.
What about PVC? PVC is the common name for polyvinyl chloride pipe that is easily recognizable in homes everywhere. This durable material is easy to install and is much more affordable than copper, but PVC runs a higher risk of cracking in extremely low temperatures. Unlike copper, PVC is not affected by the acidity or alkalinity of your water. PVC could be a very practical, affordable choice.
What about PEX? PEX is a newer material — cross-linked polyethylene — that’s only been on the market for the last decade or so, but it is potentially a good alternative to copper and PVC. PEX is perfect if the installation area is a small one. PEX is flexible, easy to install and lightweight, but it’s newness could be a negative. Ask your plumber what he thinks about PEX.
Aluminum, stainless steel, and other materials. Home building technology is changing all the time and your plumber and local contractors may have access to more non-traditional materials. As you consider the needs of your home, your water usage, your heating system, your climate and moisture levels in your neighborhood, inquire with your local experts. They may suggest a material that meets all of your needs.
The plumbing in your home keeps you clean, warm, dry and safe, and is arguably, one of the most important decisions you will make as you construct your new home. Make an informed decision, talk with experts and avoid that water disaster or emergency plumber call later.