As homeowners, we often don’t think about our pipes until they’re broken. It is very important for homeowners to be aware of what pipes you have in your home so you’re aware of the pros and cons of each pipe type. Here’s a brief overview of popular plumbing pipes found in your residential, commercial and industrial plumbing systems.
Clay Pipe – Also known as terra cotta pipe. This is still found in San Antonio and should be replaced immediately. The clay can be easily penetrated by roots. It may seem like an expensive endeavor to replace all of this piping in your home, but it will save you time, energy, money and heartache in the long run.
Cast Iron Pipe – Primarily used before the 1960s, this pipe can be found in older homes, commercial and industrial settings. Cast iron can resist corrosion and lasts a long time.
Plastic Pipe – There are two main kinds:
- ABS: This black pipe is used for waste removal, venting and drain lines. It can connect to metal pipe fairly easily and is found, most commonly, in bathrooms and mobile homes.
- PVC: This is the most common pipe for drain and vent in residential settings. It’s easy to fix, inexpensive to install and requires solvent cement welds. This pipe has been used since the 1950s and is not suitable for hot water applications.
PEX – PEX pipe is the newest, easiest and most flexible pipe. It is three times more expensive than PVC, however. It is reliable and easy to work with and a low-cost alternative to copper. This pipe has been incredibly popular in Europe since the 1960s, but it did not make an appearance in the United States until the 1980s.
Galvanized Steel – This pipe is strong and lasts about 50 years. It was very popular in homes built in the 1930s until the 1980s. Steel pipe is susceptible to scale build up which can cause plumbing issues over time.
Copper Pipe – Copper pipe is, generally, the preferred pipe of plumbers. However, it can be very pricey and so many customers opt for a functional PVC system instead.
- Hard: Type M is the thinnest, strongest copper and is used in residential applications Type L and Type K are thicker than M and are used for outdoor applications and drain lines. Pipes are joined using soldering or compression fittings.
- Soft: Soft copper pipe is used for appliances.
The list above illustrates a mere fraction of plumbing pipe and applications, but they are the most commonly used. It’s helpful to know what type of pipe you have in your home when calling a plumbing professional. A licensed plumber should have experience with all types of pipe and joining methods. If you have any questions about the pipes in your home, please contact Mr. Plumber today!