Choosing Plumbing Material: What's the Difference?
When improving upon a home, often a consideration that is far from the homeowners' mind is plumbing material and the types of plumbing pipes used in water supply lines. Why should this make a difference to the quality of water and quality of life in the home?
The truth is, piping material which can be used for water supply lines can have a detrimental effect on the long term safety of the hot and cold water supply in your home.
Let's take a look at some different types of pipes used in plumbing in the home and compare their effectiveness to FlowGuard® CPVC, in a water safety environment.
Common Pipe Materials Used in the Home
Copper is among the most commonly used metallic pipes for plumbing; however, more and more installers and homeowners are leaving copper behind.
Copper pipes are versatile and can be used in hot and cold water systems. This type of plumbing pipe is often used for water as it is commonly available and affordable, as are cast-iron pipes.
However, like iron pipe, copper pipe is also known to be corrosive; pitting and pinhole leaks can cause impurities to leach from the pipe's surface into the water. Scaling in these pipes can cause an unhealthy buildup of bacteria. Meanwhile, on the outside of the copper pipe, condensation is a consistent presence and a mould risk to the home.
One of the more common non-metallic pipes for plumbing is PPR. This type of pipe is often used to install home plumbing systems because it is easy to source and cheap to procure in large quantities.
This type of pipe, while commonly used in a home environment, does not contribute to a safe one. PPR is not capable of having the long term strength and rigidity for thousands of repeated uses of hot and cold water without persistent degradation, and can be hazardous to work with.
PPR pipes also have detrimental effects on water almost from day one. They are known for creating an internal beading during heat welding, restricting flow and creating more of a suitable environment for biofilm, which can harbour harmful pathogens over time, transmitting bacteria into drinking water, increasing the threat of harmful viruses.
PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)
Cross linked Polyethylene PEX is often promoted as a cheaper, durable alternative to copper and as such, has been installed in domestic plumbing applications and continues to exist on the market.
However, PEX is becoming well known for its insufficient resistance to chlorine. Chlorinated potable water, such as the supply that feeds your home, is a natural threat to PEX. It is low in UV resistance, which also poses an instant threat as soon as it is exposed to sunlight.
The material is permeable, so like copper, leaching from the inside is a potential health threat to users, while the permeable outer surface can transmit other external chemical or organic contaminants.
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC)
CPVC is what makes FlowGuard Pipes and Fittings the choice of commercial and domestic plumbing systems for 60 years. In order to make CPVC, PVC is subjected to an intense chlorination process, driving up its heat and corrosion resistance, extending its life cycle and supporting healthy water usage.
As a result, the pipe is ideal for chlorinated, potable water and can be used in homes where running water is relied upon thousands of times a week.
In hot water applications, it can be used as safely as stainless steel or galvanized steel pipe, thanks to its natural heat resistance; however, where steel pipes are susceptible to conducting heat, no energy is wasted with a network of FlowGuard CPVC plumbing. FlowGuard CPVC pipes can be used for hot water and operate at temperatures of up to 93℃.
Thanks to solvent cement, it is also easy to install. It creates a smooth joint, not restricting flow and therefore, you can enjoy faster flowing water for longer.
What is the Best Piping for Plumbing?
It is important to understand not only how these types of plumbing pipes perform in your home, but what your plumbing experts are doing to improve the life of your plumbing system and quality of water for the years to come.
To discuss the importance of pipe material in water safety and the water industry's take on the future of water safety in our homes, we spoke to three leading experts in a recent interview series.