Unless you’ve recently had your home built, chances are you will eventually need to have some repipe work done in your house. Like the rest of us, pipes get old and old pipes lead to leaks, which in turn can lead to expensive water damage repairs. There are two commonly used options when repiping a house: copper and plastic. What is your best option?
Copper is the most traditional piping material and was used in homes for decades before the advent of ABS and PVC plastic or PEX pipes. Many older homes will have copper pipes or a combination of copper and plastic if repairs have been completed in the home or new sinks or showers have been installed since the home’s construction. Copper tubing has been the longtime standard for plumbing and requires soldering pipes and fittings together. Copper has natural attributes that make it ideal for plumbing. It creates a biostatic atmosphere which makes it difficult for bacteria to grow inside of it. It also resists corrosion and is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, which allows you to use it outdoors. Copper has become expensive though, whereas PEX is typically about a third of the cost and based on the pH levels and other harsh water conditions copper can corrode.
PEX (or cross-linked polyethylene) was introduced in the US around 1980 and is often seen in radiant heat flooring applications, but has now become commonplace for repiping and plumbing repairs. PEX PRO’s can be many factors including cost, flexibility, resistance to scale and chlorine, and condensation. Installation requires fewer connections and fittings. PEX is also more efficient as it doesn’t lose heat like a copper pipe will, though PEX is not suitable for use outside. Installing PEX tubing can be done easier and less toxic than sweating copper reducing installation cost.
Copper Vs. Plastic for Repiping
When it comes right down to it, which style of pipe is better when you are choosing to repipe your home? Both have their benefits and their downsides. Copper pipes will last long, if properly installed and maintained, and plastic is rated for even longer. Your best bet may be a combination of the best of both worlds. If you’re thinking of repiping your house, the best thing you can do is to call us and schedule an estimate. We will be able to tell you what will work best for your home.