Types of Plumbing Pipes

Plumbing has come along since it was first introduced many decades ago. Today, homeowners have access to a wide range of plumbing pipes. There are various materials used in plumbing pipes that supply cold and hot water to every fixture in a house. There are currently five types of plumbing pipes found in most homes these days in older and new construction homes –  ABS, copper, galvanized, PEX, and PVC pipes. 

However, not every type of plumbing pipe is suitable for every home or is best to be up to code. It’s essential to know your plumbing pipes, no matter if you need to repair your home’s pipes or plan on a new home build. Overall, some plumbing pipes options are more fitting to perform the purpose of moving water through a house. To help you know and understand which plumbing pipe option is best for your home project, here is a breakdown of the types of plumbing pipes available.  For more questions about the types of plumbing pipes you should be using feel free to contact our team today!

ABS Pipes

ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and if you have ever seen a black pipe in a sink, tub, or toilet drain, it’s probably made from ABS material. ABS pipes are generally used for drain, waste, and vent lines. This plumbing pipe looks very similar to PVC pipe, except that ABS is a softer material and is black. 

ABS Pipe Benefits

  • Easier and less expensive to install than metal piping
  • Strong than PVC piping 
  • Does not rot, rust, corrode or collect waste
  • Ideal for underground exterior use
  • Material is lightweight easy for a single person to handle
  • Works well in cold temperatures

ABS Pipe Drawbacks

  • Low quality for solvent and fatigue resistance
  • Can warp and deform in warm temperatures
  • May not be permitted by building code
  • Is not UV resistance unless protected
  • Low bearing properties high friction and wear

Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are a durable and long-lasting selection for both homes and businesses. This type of plumbing pipe is frequently used to repair or assemble gas line plumbing systems. It is an excellent plumbing pipe choice that can withstand cold and hot water temperatures and handles water pressure up to 1000 psi. Copper plumbing pipes can be easily cut with a special copper tube cutter or a hacksaw. The connection process is slightly tricky and will require a skilled professional to solder copper pipes together. There are two types of copper piping, Rigid and flexible. 

Copper Pipes Benefits

  • The average lifespan of copper piping will range from 50 – 70 years
  • Reliable against corrosion
  • Does not contaminate water 
  • Easy for professionals to install 
  • Copper plumbing pipes are environmentally friendly
  • Easy to recycle 

Cooper Pipes Drawbacks

  • Piping is more expensive than plastic piping
  • Minimal metallic flavor to drinking water
  • Cannot withstand acidic water 

Galvanized Pipes

While galvanized plumbing pipes are no longer used in new home builds, this type of pipe was once used widely and can still found in many older homes. For many decades, galvanized steel plumbing pipes were used for water and gas supply, drainage, and any number of other functions. Over time, galvanized pipes have a tendency to rust. If your home has galvanized pipes, it would be wise to have your home repiped with a different plumbing pipe selection. 

Galvanized Pipes Benefits

  • Less expensive and more durable than copper pipes
  • Know to a very extremely strong piping material
  • Wider diameter to allow more water flow than alternatives
  • Requires less manual labor
  • Easy to inspect

Galvanized Pipe Drawbacks

  • Eventually corrodes and blocks water flow
  • May pass lead into the water supply
  • Should never be used underground unless properly covered
  • Often hides significant defects beneath the zinc coating on the steel

PEX Pipes

This pipe selection is one of the most common and recent piping material to come out in the plumbing market. PEX or Polyethylene is made from plastic and used for home and business water supply systems. PEX pipes are used only for water supply. It is strong enough to withstand water supply pressure and is very flexible. PEX flexibility is its main feature, making it easier to weave the pipe throughout crawlspaces, basements, ceilings, and walls. Additionally, the flexibility of PEX pipes makes them more straightforward to install than other plumbing pipes options. An excellent choice for plumbing professionals and homeowners know to be do-it-yourselfers. 

PEX Pipes Benefits

  • Highly flexible, with 90-degree curves possible
  • Typically leak-free
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Very affordable
  • No soldered or threaded connections required

PEX Pipes Drawbacks

  • Vulnerable to bacteria and moisture
  • Installation requires the use of extensive bracing and supports
  • Incorrect Installing of pipes will cause pipes to move when water is turned on
  • Not used for outside purposes
  • Not environmentally friendly

PVC pipes

PVC plumbing pipes are made from polyvinyl chloride and are often used in a home’s sewage system. This plumbing pipe received its popularity in the plumbing industry because it is easier and lighter to work with than the traditional galvanized plumbing pipes. PVC pipes can be installed moderately easily and need only a hacksaw and miter box to be cut. Additionally, PVC connection is easy as it glues together with solvents. This plumbing pipe option is used best in applications with both low temperature and pressure needs. PVC piping is ideal for plumbing like toilet drain lines. PVC is not suitable for carrying hot water or high pressurized water supply lines. 

PVC Pipes Benefits

  • Durable and cost-effective alternative to lead-based piping
  • Light in weight, tough, resistant to chemical attack
  • Available in large lengths
  • Known for its ability to be rust-resistant

PVC Pipes Drawbacks

  • Glued pipes can be prone to leaking
  • Degrades in sunlight
  • Pipes can easily crack
  • The strength of pipes reduces in high temperatures

Selecting the right types of plumbing pipes for your plumbing purpose

As you can tell, you have a lot of various options when it comes to choosing plumbing pipes. If you are unsure which piping to buy and have installed for your plumbing needs, reach out to us at Hansen Family Plumbing. We are the professional plumbing experts that will give you sound advice on which plumbing pipe would be ideal for your home or business. Call us today, and we will be happy to help.