In our previous post, we talked about signs to look for in your home that you may be in need of whole-house, or at least partial, repiping. We want you to feel comfortable in your decision to invest in a service of such a large caliber, and therefore encourage you to learn more about what goes into repiping, the materials used, and why those particular materials are used. This way, you can feel confident that you are doing the best thing for your home plumbing system. Read on to learn more!
Choosing the Right Materials
For decades, the material of choice for piping was typically clay, cast iron, or galvanized steel. But each of these have fallen out of use by plumbing pros, due to their tendencies to break down or corrode. So, what materials are used today, and what are their benefits?
Copper: This is typically the most common metal used in plumbing systems today. It can effectively handle both hot and cold water—unlike older piping materials that are subject to corrosion from hot water. Copper is a lightweight material, easy to work with, and costs less than other types of metals used in plumbing.
Soft copper, which is known as ductile copper, is easily bendable. Most water-carrying pipes consist of rigid lines, however this flexibility makes laying these pipes a simple job for our pros. Copper is corrosion-resistant. This doesn’t mean corrosion-proof, but this is one of the primary reasons copper has replaced galvanized steel. Some types of corrosion may still impact copper, such as pitting corrosion or damage from store-bought, chemical drain cleaners. We’ll get to that down below!
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC): CPVC is a type of plastic piping that many homeowners are family with seeing, even if they don’t know the name of it. It’s grown in popularity due to its resistance to corrosion, even at higher water temperatures. This, along with its flexibility, makes it a great option for hot water piping.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX): PEX is the latest development in plastic piping and is now in regular use throughout the plumbing industry. It has a number of advantages for both residential and commercial spaces. Similar to CPVC, it’s very flexible. It does not require elbow joints the way these other materials do, and costs less than other piping options, by about 25%.
PEX piping is not susceptible to corrosion, and like copper is good for either hot or cold water. Lastly, it requires less labor in installation since the pipes don’t need to be soldered together, so your installation will be quick and convenient!
Avoid Chemical, Store-Bought Drain Cleaners
This rule is relevant no matter what type of materials are being used for your plumbing system. You can literally bring your convenient modern plumbing system to a halt by using chemical drain cleaners. This is because the chemicals found in these cleaners are caustic.
Yes, they’ll eat through a clog. They won’t remove that clog permanently, and the chemicals eat away at the lining of the pipes until you’re left with plumbing leaks and subsequent water damage. There are much more effective methods for drain and pipe cleaning, which we’re happy to explore with you.