If you had to take a look inside the walls of your home, you might be surprised to see that there are different types of pipes.
Many residents may wonder why all the pipes in their homes are not the same. For the average person, this logic does make sense.
However, the truth is that the pipes are made of different materials for different plumbing purposes. A difference that your plumbing professional could tell you everything about.
It is assumed that plastic pipes are the most commonly used pipes in modern plumbing systems. These are highly flexible, reliable, durable, lightweight and easy to fix (install).
This is the reason why expert plumbers use these pipes in home plumbing systems. These can handle any type of pressure whether used in drainage or sewer systems.
According to your plumbing system, an expert plumber will decide which of these pipes are good for the long term.
Choosing Material: (PVC) -
Polyvinyl chloride is perhaps the most widely known and widely used of all plastics pipes in today's construction. It offers users one of the best tensile strengths compared to the economic ones used for various pressure applications.
PVC resin is derived from 2 natural resources of the earth, namely natural gas and salt. Ethylene derived from natural gas is combined with the chlorine component of the salt to form the resin building block.
The chlorine component is actually a by-product of a process in which sodium is actually processed from natural salts. PVC is popular for use as electrical conduits, process pipes, commercial drains, irrigation pipes and underground municipal pipelines.
It is commonly joined by means of solvent welding or bell and spigot with packing.
Choosing Material: (CPVC) -
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is a second member of the vinyl family and is essentially a modified version of PVC. CPVC contains some additional chlorine in its molecule to improve resistance to chemicals and higher temperatures.
This pipe is used for hot water supply, for higher temperature applications in industrial plants or for sprinkler pipes. Its properties are very similar to those of PVC, however, it is typically 3 to 4 times more expensive than PVC.
In many cases, the CPVC will continue to compete with metals or other specialty plastics for specific chemical applications. It is usually joined using solvent welding or flanges.
Choosing Material: (PE) -
This is perhaps the most common plastic for daily use and is undoubtedly growing in popularity for many pipe applications.
Polyethylene is derived from 100% ethylene and its lack of chlorine gives it greater flexibility than vinyl. Therefore, its popularity for pipelines has been mainly in applications where flexibility is desired.
This includes marine intakes, pipes for wells, underground irrigation, culverts, and landscaping or drainage for farms. It is resistant to most solvents and, therefore, can not be joined using solvent welding.
Therefore, it is mainly connected together by heat fusion or by mechanical couplings.
Choosing Material: (PEX) -
Crosslinked polyethylene is a modified form of PE that has its molecular bond reinforced to improve physical properties. It is mainly used today as a small diameter pipe (3/8 to 1 inch) for drinking water or hydronic heating (hot water).
PEX is also available with an external oxygen barrier layer for hydronic heating with increased stiffness and strength.
Choosing Material: (PP) -
Polypropylene is again a common element for everyday plastics but a little more specialized for pipes. It is very similar to PE but offers better chemical and thermal resistance.
As a result, its most common pipe application is for the drainage of corrosive laboratory waste. It can be connected by mechanical connections or by heat fusion.
Heat fusion is preferred for acid waste to ensure 100% reliability of pipe joints. The second most popular application for PP today is high purity water, such as deionized water for medical use or ultra-sanitary manufacturing.
Choosing Material: (ABS) -
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a softer plastic than PVC, but stiffer than PE or PP. It is dominant in the use of residential drains and ventilation pipes that offer both economy and ease of installation.
ABS is known to have a higher than average impact resistance in cooler temperatures.
What about metal pipes?
In the days when plastics were not available, copper tubing was the desired material. Its advantage over others is its leak-proof configuration, which is produced by its tight fittings and welded connection.
In addition, they are more suitable for long-term use because they tend not to be affected by corrosion.
Galvanized steel pipes:
These are an integral part of the plumbing system and are supposed to be the most versatile. However, when choosing material, these pipes may need many repair tasks from time to time.
They are susceptible to the accumulation of deposits of calcium, lime, and other food particles. The piping is cut to length, threaded on a machine, then screwed together one piece at a time.
Copper pipes are very popular and are used for drainage, ventilation and drinking water supply. It is durable, easy to install, safer in natural disasters, resistant to weather and has a competitive price.
For many years, contractors have preferred copper pipes for reliability and solid value. Homeowners prefer copper pipes because they increase the resale value of homes and ensures a clean and safe water supply.
Lead has been removed from the manufacturing process, so it no longer poses a health risk, unlike galvanized pipes.
Check out our article on "pipe thread sizing"