Copper pipes have been commonly used in plumbing for many years. However, galvanized steel pipes were used for long before, until later copper pipes surpassed them. Nowadays, copper pipes are facing stiff competition from plastic pipes such as PVC, PEX, and CPVC, though they still remain a most popular choice. As much as copper pipes have various advantages, so too are the disadvantages. We shall look at both pros and cons of copper as a plumbing material.
• Copper pipes are very durable, with ability to resist breakage. It is stable enough to withstand high pressure and impact, making it suitable for underground or surface piping. Due to its high melting point, it can resist damage from fire or high solar temperatures if installed above the ground surface.
• Copper pipes are naturally resistant to bacteria growth, which usually grow in some other water pipes. These bacteria are responsible for making water unclean for domestic and commercial use.
• Copper pipes can be re-used, unlike plastic pipes which once broken cannot be used for other purposes.
• Copper metal resists corrosion naturally. Unlike galvanized steel pipes, copper pipes will not leak or break due to corrosion.
• Copper is lightweight, making it easier to install. In addition, copper is lead-free and less expensive compared to steel.
• Manufacturing process of copper pipes involves naturally occurring metal and don’t emit harmful gases into the environment compared to synthetic plastic pipes.
• For a cheaper piping system, plastic pipes are the best choice compared to copper pipes. Galvanized steel pipes and copper pipes are more expensive to buy and install than CPVC and PEX plastic pipes.
• Copper pipes are not suitable for acidic water since they react with the acid leading to poor water quality, with a metallic taste.
• Although copper pipes are somehow flexible, plastic pipes are more flexible and able to fit into smaller spaces.
• Plastic pipes come with color codes, which make it easier for homeowners to decide pipes for cold and hot water.
The choice of your piping material can depend on cost, durability, as well as the level of local water hardness among other factors. However, cost of buying and installing copper pipes is more than that of plastic pipes. So, according to the advantages and disadvantages outlined above, you can make an informed decision based on your piping needs.