Between Plastic and Copper Pipes, Which One Is Better for Plumbing?
When it comes to plumbing, especially in water piping, choosing the best materials goes a long way in ensuring health and safety for you and your loved ones. In that case, there are different types of supply line pipes for you to choose from.
Then, and as with anything, either choice has its pros and cons. You might find yourself debating between plastic and copper pipes, especially when it’s your first piping installation.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that there are many factors to consider when settling on the pipe’s material.
So it really does depend on what job you are using the pipe for.
Plastic pipes vs Copper pipes: which one is better?
But before that, let us explore the common pipes we have.
Plastic Plumbing Pipes
The most common plumbing plastic pipes are the PEX, or crosslinked polyethylene, and PVC or Polyvinyl chloride. You will find that most households use PEX pipes, and this is contributed to by several reasons. The manufacture of plastic is relatively cheap compared to that of copper, making it an alternative for homeowners under budget. Here are the pros and cons of plastic pipes.
Advantages of Plastic Pipes
- Low price point
- Does not corrode since its resistant to minerals and acids
- Flexible material thus easy to install
- Low cost of installation
- PEX has better heat retention
Disadvantages of Plastic Pipes
- Not ideal for outdoor use where there is too much exposure to UV light
Copper Plumbing Pipes
Copper is widely used in plumbing in supply units, faucets, taps, et cetera. Its availability, usability, and reduced health hazards made it dominate the household piping industry fast. If you have noticed, most outdoor piping systems are comprised of copper pipes. But is it the ideal choice? Let’s look at its strengths and weaknesses.
Advantages of Copper Pipes
- Can be used outdoors
- Accepted in all municipal codes across the USA
- Completely recyclable
- Highly resistant to chlorine
- It’s antimicrobial, meaning its resistant to bacterial growth
- Can last up to 70 years if well maintained
Disadvantages of Copper Pipes
- Relatively expensive
- High labor cost since installation is hard
- Prone to mineral buildup when holding hard water
- Pipes can burst if water freezes
Choosing Between Plastic and Copper Pipes
As you have just seen, both pipes have a positive and negative side. However, before you arrive at a decision, there are additional factors you need to consider. These factors will help you make an informed decision that will lead to satisfaction. A more in-depth look into these factors, coupled with the pros and cons of each, will help you decide which piping option to choose. The factors include.
Your piping budgets
The overall cost of the installation or repair needs to be within your preset budget, right? If that’s the case, you will want to explore what you can get at the set amount, and for the cost of installation or repair.
Where will the pipes be used?
Do you own the property you intend to install water pipes in? If you want the piping done on your property, you might consider going for a long-lasting solution like copper pipes. However, for a temporary property, you can opt for plastic pipes.
Water hardness or softness
The minerals found in water determines its softness or hardness. In some areas, like Coachella Valley, water is predominantly hard, which can prove problematic for certain pipe materials. You can decide if the water is soft or hard by using soap. Generally, soft water lathers well with soap.
Weather conditions in the area
If you live in Palm Spring, we may recommend not to use PEX pipes for exposed outdoor piping due to the high heat conditions. This is because we have seen that plastic pipes can be highly affected by UV rays. Also, if you live in places that freeze a lot, you might want to reduce copper pipe usage.
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