What Is The Best Material For The Pipes In Your House

The Pipes In Your House

We want to help you choose the best material for the pipes in your house. Making this decision usually takes time because there are different options available and each has its advantages and disadvantages. However, with the appropriate advice and knowing its characteristics in advance, it will be easier for you to choose the most appropriate alternative.

Signs that you need to change old pipes

As with any item in the home, there comes a time when pipes and installations begin to deteriorate. If this happens, it will not only create discomfort, but it can trigger dangerous situations.

You need to be on the lookout for any signs that may indicate that there is a problem in your home. If you start to have problems with your heating or a gas smell arises, it is important to check the premises. As for the water pipes, there are many indicators that something is not right. For instance:

  • The pressure starts to drop.
  • The water has a funny taste and comes out brown.
  • Stains appear in the toilet, sink, bathtubs and showers. This indicates that the pipes are rusty .

If you have an older property, without renovations, you will most likely need to change the plumbing. And if you are not the first owner and you do not have information about previous modifications, then it is advisable to review the state of the facilities.

Lead pipes were used in houses that were built more than 20 years ago . However, this material should not be used today. Therefore, if you are thinking of doing a comprehensive reform in Madrid , it is best to replace the pipes at once.

This will not only allow you to renew the plumbing system , but also to make a distribution that adjusts to your current needs. Tell the renovation company that you have contracted the changes you want. In this way, you will avoid having to make a new investment that will be more expensive after the renovation.

Why renew the pipes in your house?

First, replacing old water pipes will improve the pressure inside the house. This alone is a great advantage, however you have to look further. The lead pipes that were used before corrode and produce scale.

Lead particles mix with the drinking water we consume and consequently lead to health problems. To prevent this from happening, the standards have been changed and the use of materials containing this metal has been prohibited.

But not only has the regulations regarding materials changed. Modifications were also made in other aspects, for example the obligation to install separate stopcocks in bathrooms and kitchens. For all this it is convenient to update the plumbing installations in your home.

What you need to consider when choosing pipes?

When choosing the best material for the pipes in your house, you should consider these factors:

  • Resistance to time. The materials that were used before had a very short life due to corrosion. Today the life span is longer and by choosing the appropriate one you will avoid having to make changes for a few years.
  • Installation and preservation cost. When choosing between the types of pipes for drinking water and gas, the value for money must be taken into account. As well as easy installation and maintenance.
  • Thermal conductivity. It’s about the ability to conduct heat. The conductivity of metals is high, while it is lower in plastic. The latter prevents the water from freezing in cold climates.
  • Resistance to environmental factors. Extreme temperatures, salt, and earth movements can affect pipes.
  • Possible health risks of the material in question. If the material is not very resistant to rust or facilitates the accumulation of bacteria inside it, it can cause damage to health.
  • Use that will be given to the pipe. This will help determine the length, thickness and diameter of the pipes, among other things.

What is the best material for the pipes in your house? Plastic or metal?

In general terms, there are two types of pipes, plastic or metal. And these, in turn, are classified according to the material with which they are made and have different uses.

Today we will refer to only the most common in home construction to help you understand the differences between them. Especially if you are in the middle of a renovation process or need to replace the current facilities .

Plastic pipes

Plastic pipes are used in both supplying and draining fluids. However, they are more common in the latter, as well as in those of ventilation. They are characterized by having lower thermal conductivity than metal ones, but instead have a  high insulating power .

Among the advantages that we can find in this material, we highlight its ease of transport since it is very light, easy to install, resistant to abrasion and flexible. In addition, it has great durability, remains unalterable in contact with chemicals such as salts, acids and oxidants. Therefore, it is considered as the best material for water pipe.

They are also used in underfloor heating and cooling ceiling installations, as well as for cable protection. Different types of plastic pipes can be used for a variety of purposes, each of which is briefly described below:

PVC:

In plumbing, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to transport water under high pressure, mainly cold, it is even used for wastewater.

The thickness of PVC pipes can vary, depending on what you are going to use it for. For example, those of wastewater will not be the same as those that reach pressurized water or those that serve for drainage.

Among its negative points is that it cannot be used for hot water, it degrades with exposure to the sun and they are not recyclable. But they stand out for being cheaper and resistant to corrosion and rust. Also because their installation is very simple, they are strong and durable.

They are used for pipes under or under the ground. They are especially useful in bathroom drains.

CPVC:

Unlike PVC, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is more resistant to high temperatures. Therefore, it can be used to transport hot and cold water. In addition, also the water that passes through this pipe can be consumed without problems.

It is more expensive than PVC and freezes, are its main negative points. But their advantages may make you forget this, as they are very strong, more durable, easy to install and more versatile. That is why it is considered the best material for the pipes in your house.

PEX:

They are able to withstand even higher temperatures than CPVC. Cross-linked polyethylene is frequently used in boilers and heating systems due to this characteristic. They are also used in regular water distribution systems in buildings.

They are flexible, it can be curved to adapt to different spaces . And while they are more expensive than other plastic options, you save in the long run because they require little maintenance and are easy to install. Another advantage is that they are very versatile and resistant to heat and freezing.

It is said that they are pipes without leaks, so it gives the advantages of copper. The negative point is that they cannot be used outdoors, because UV rays damage the plastic.

Polypipe:

They are generally used to transport very high pressure water to and from buildings.

Metal pipes

The main metals used to manufacture pipes are copper, steel, stainless steel and galvanized. Know the characteristics of each one:

Copper

It is the preferred material for transporting water, gas and heating in homes. Copper water pipe is easy to install, flexible, durable, and resistant to extreme temperatures and aging. Likewise, they require little maintenance, they do not deform when exposed to fire.

In terms of aesthetics, it is increasingly common to find designers or owners who prefer to leave them in plain sight. They are available in three sizes: M for the smallest, L for the medium diameter and K for the largest.

Steel

It is one of the types of gas pipes most used in the home. It is a heavy material and not very resistant to corrosion and mineral accumulation, so it is less durable over time. Especially if it is used to transport water or is left exposed to natural environmental conditions.

Stainless steel

They are the most suitable for constructions near the coast since they do not corrode in contact with salt water. However, they are the most expensive among all those that we mentioned. If you live near the sea it is your best option, on the other hand if your house is in an area that does not present these conditions it is preferable to evaluate the other alternatives.

They are the ones that look neater, but for that reason they are quite expensive They are available both as flexible and rigid pipes, of different sizes and lengths. They will need special couplings to join them with other types of pipes.

Do not confuse stainless steel pipes with galvanized steel pipes, which we will explain in the next point.

Galvanized steel

Galvanized steel used to be the most common choice for houses a few years ago. But today with so many options its use has become less common, in part because rust can grow inside the pipes. When the pipes age the water begins to come out with traces of rust.

During the manufacture of this type of pipes they are coated with several layers of zinc that prevent them from rusting, making them very resistant. They are frequent in industrial facilities, but it is also possible to find them in houses to carry and remove water. Its use is preferred for non-potable or gray water.

Although they are an attractive material for their duration, they are expensive and a PEX installation may offer you the same durability at a lower price.

Cast iron pipes

Cast iron pipes are usually the heaviest. They are very durable and allow the use of PVC to replace parts of your system.

Being so heavy, they require additional supports during installation.

Cast iron pipes are used in water distribution systems and underground installations such as mains, drains or sewage systems.

How to choose the best pipes in your house ?

You already know the differences between different pipe materials. Now it is up to you to decide on the best one for your home. Before any renovation, ask the experts which pipe is best for gas and water. They will know how to indicate you according to your particular case.

Steel, copper and plastic pipes are the most widely used at the moment, each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Stainless steel, for example, is resistant to corrosion, fire and requires little maintenance. Also, bacteria colonies are unlikely to form inside.

In the case of copper, they have become very popular thanks to their aesthetics. But it has other advantages such as its durability, lightness and ease of installation. As well as the fact that it can be used with hot or cold water.

This material is also resistant to contamination; however it presents a couple of drawbacks to take into account. First, it conducts electricity easily, so a ground connection is necessary. Second, it reacts to low pH and can corrode.

Lastly, there are the plastic tubes. It is a popular material due to its simple installation and low cost. It is insulating and, in addition, it is able to adapt to the movements of the earth, thus reducing the risk of breakage. Many homeowners choose PVC drinking water tubing . Others, on the other hand, prefer those made of steel or copper because they are less polluting.

Not all pipes have the same uses

Whatever material you choose, you must know how to handle it and for what type of system it is best to use it. Pipes are used to transport water, gas, as well as for drainage, conducting and protecting electrical wiring, etc. Each one will need proper maintenance to last over time, some require more attention than others. Review these habits to preserve them and get a clearer idea about this warning.

Both plastic and metal are  common materials in home plumbing . In the case of the former, it is more common to use them to drain wastewater, while the latter for supply systems. As for the price, it will depend on the categories that we mentioned at the beginning, but to give you an idea, PVC and copper are the most popular and also inexpensive.

Whatever your decision, these types of facilities will require your attention to make sure they work well. Be on the lookout for warning signs such as water color and pressure, dampness, tiles or peeling paint; in the case of gas, any odor that may indicate a leak. If any of this happens you may need to replace the tubing or at least have it properly maintained.

With these tips you can choose the best material for the pipes in your house. Leave us your opinion on this topic with a comment and share it on your social networks if you found it useful.

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