Pipes do so much of the hard work in your house, though you never see them. They bring hot water from your heater, carry away waste from your toilet, baths, sinks, and showers, and even deliver gas to your appliances.
When setting up the proper plumbing for your home, it’s imperative that you understand the right types of plumbing pipes to utilize for every fixture, appliance, and drain you’ll be using every day.
The Six Common Types of Plumbing Pipes
PVC Pipe is one that you’ll find in every home in the country. It’s versatile, easy to cut with even simple tools (a hacksaw or miter saw), and can be glued together with solvent cement. You can even find “push-to-connect” fittings that need no adhesive and make it incredibly simple to connect long, straight runs of pipe. It’s also the cheapest option on the market.
Copper Pipe is lightweight, durable, and the go-to option for most residential cold and hot water plumbing. It’s easy to cut with a hacksaw or copper pipe cutter, but it has to be soldered at the joints. It can withstand high and low temperatures, as well as high pressure.
PEX Pipe is sometimes used in place of copper piping for cold- and hot-water plumbing. It’s cheap, easy to cut, but can withstand high temperatures and high pressure. It’s also flexible enough to fit into narrow spaces, and can be fed through ceilings, walls, and floors for more versatile plumbing.
Galvanized Steel Pipe is an older type of plumbing pipe, and it’s typically used for gas supply and drainage. The steel is dipped in zinc to stop corrosion and the ends of the pipes are threaded to allow for an easier, tighter fit with joints. Few plumbers will recommend them, as they are now seen as “outdated.?
ABS Pipe is stronger than PVC, can withstand higher temperatures, and is as easy to connect using primer and solvent. It is also more expensive than PVC, however.?
Black Pipe is made using special steel that has a high resistance to heat, are crack-and corrosion resistant, and have threaded ends for easier fittings.
What Pipe Should I Use For…?
Cold Water? — PVC, PEX, copper, and galvanized steel all work for the low temperature of a cold-water supply. You can even use hoses and tubes for cold water!
Hot Water? — CPVC (a special type of PVC used specifically for hot water), ABS, galvanized steel, and copper are all typically used for hot water plumbing.
Heating? — You’ll find that black pipes are the best option for safe heating.
High Pressure? — PVC and PEX can both accommodate high pressure, as can copper and black pipes.
Fire Suppression System? — Black pipes are the best option for the high-heat, high-pressure requirements of a fire suppression system.
Gas Supply? — Copper is typically used for gas supply, but black pipe is the safer alternative for natural gas.
High Heat? — Galvanized steel and copper are often used for high-heat plumbing, though some installers recommend PEX pipes.
Drain, Vent, and Waste — PVC and ABS are the two types of pipe typically recommended for these purposes.
Finding the right types of plumbing pipes for your home is absolutely crucial! If you don’t know which pipe will be used for which purpose, talk to your plumber and get their advice on which material is best used for whatever your needs.