5 Common Types of Plumbing Pipes Found in Today’s Homes

Apr20 By Emergency Plumber Plumbers Plumbing Plumbing Contractor
Plumbing Pipes

Plumbing has come a long way since the days of using clay pipes in ancient Greece. Today, pipes made from various materials can transport potable water to a building and carry wastewater away. Still, it’s important to select a suitable material for the plumbing project at hand. Here are five plumbing pipe types worth considering.

PEX Plumbing Pipes

Used for water supply lines
Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, is a type of plumbing pipe used in new homes. It’s rigid enough to withstand high water pressure but flexible enough to weave through a house with minimal connective joints required. PEX tubing is even color-coded to keep hot and cold supply lines organized. And unlike older pipe materials like galvanized steel, PEX doesn’t leach rust into the water supply.

Copper Plumbing Pipes

Used for water supply lines
Copper is a popular piping material in older homes, newer homes, and retrofit projects. This material is praised for not affecting water quality. It handles heat and pressure well, and soldered connections prevent leaks. Copper also cuts easily using a hacksaw or special pipe cutting tool. It’s recyclable at the end of its lifespan and even holds monetary value.

PVC Plumbing Pipes

Used for drain, waste, and vent pipes
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a rigid plastic that serves as a lighter, easier-to-work-with material than traditional galvanized steel. The inexpensive material can be used for long or short drain pipes, with joints glued together with solvents. Just be aware that PVC is unsuitable for high-pressure water supply lines and hot water transport.

ABS Plumbing Pipes

Used for drain, waste, and vent pipes
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) looks similar to PVC and is used for the same purposes in a plumbing system, but ABS is black and slightly less rigid. It’s a bit more durable than PVC in cold temperatures and high-pressure applications, but the material degrades when exposed to direct sunlight. The pipes also tend to make a thudding noise when hot wastewater passes through them.

Galvanized Steel & Cast Iron Plumbing Pipes

Used for water supply lines and drains in older homes
These last two types of plumbing pipes are found in older homes and are not often installed today. Galvanized steel and cast iron were used for decades as lead-free pipe alternatives. The problem is that galvanized and cast iron pipes slowly rust from the inside out, eventually blocking water flow. Retrofit projects tend to replace galvanized and cast iron supply lines with PEX or copper. Then, PVC and ABS make suitable retrofits for galvanized and cast iron drain pipes.

If you’re tired of ongoing plumbing problems, it could be time to repipe your home. Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating offers home repiping services specializing in copper pipe installation. We’ll remove all your old galvanized steel or cast iron pipes and replace them with a durable, reliable material you can count on for years to come. For answers to your questions or to request a repiping estimate in Seattle, please contact us at (206) 938-3219.

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