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  • Writer's pictureJustin Shook

Discover the Different Types of Plumbing Pipes and Their Uses: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Sep 26, 2023



Plumbing pipes play a crucial role in the smooth functioning of a home's water and sewage systems. They carry water from the main supply to different parts of the house, transport wastewater from sinks, toilets, and showers to the sewer line, and are responsible for maintaining the proper pressure and flow of water throughout the home.

There are many different types of plumbing pipes available in the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common types of plumbing pipes and their uses:


1. Copper Pipes




Copper pipes are one of the most commonly used plumbing pipes, especially in residential homes. They are popular because of their durability, resistance to corrosion, and ease of installation. Copper pipes are also a good conductor of heat, which makes them ideal for use in hot water systems. Copper pipes come in two forms: Type L (thick-walled) and Type M (thin-walled). Type L pipes are used for supply lines that carry water from the main supply to the different parts of the house, while Type M pipes are used for smaller diameter pipes, such as those that run from the water heater to individual fixtures.

2. PVC Pipes




PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes are another popular option for residential plumbing systems. PVC pipes are lightweight, easy to install, and resistant to corrosion. They are commonly used for sewer lines and drainage pipes, as well as for some water supply lines. PVC pipes come in different sizes and thicknesses, and they are often connected using special PVC cement. PVC pipes are an excellent choice for homeowners who want an affordable, durable, and easy-to-install plumbing solution.


3. PEX Pipes



PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene) pipes are a newer type of plumbing pipe that are quickly gaining popularity. PEX pipes are flexible and can be bent around corners and through tight spaces, making them ideal for use in tight spaces, such as under a sink. They are also resistant to freezing, which makes them a good choice for outdoor plumbing systems. PEX pipes are usually connected using special crimping tools and fittings, making installation and repair much easier than with traditional plumbing pipes.

4. Galvanized Steel Pipes



Galvanized steel pipes are a type of steel pipe coated with a layer of zinc to protect against rust and corrosion. Galvanized steel pipes are commonly used in older homes, especially those built before 1960. Although they are still in use, they are being replaced by newer materials such as PVC and PEX pipes. Galvanized steel pipes are durable and can withstand high water pressure, but they are prone to rust and corrosion over time.


5. Cast Iron Pipes



Cast iron pipes are heavy, durable pipes that are commonly used for sewer lines. They are resistant to corrosion and can withstand high water pressure, making them ideal for use in large buildings and commercial properties. Cast iron pipes are also fire-resistant, which makes them a perfect choice for plumbing systems in high-rise buildings. However, cast iron pipes are prone to rust and corrosion, and they can become clogged with mineral deposits over time.


6. ABS Pipes



ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) pipes are a type of plastic pipe that are commonly used for sewer lines and drain pipes. ABS pipes are lightweight, easy to install, and resistant to corrosion. They are also flexible and can be bent around corners and through tight spaces, making them ideal for use in tight spaces, such as under a sink. ABS pipes are usually connected using special ABS cement and fittings.


7. CPVC Pipes



(Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) pipes are a type of plastic pipe that are commonly used for plumbing applications. They are more resistant to corrosion and have a higher temperature resistance compared to PVC pipes, making them ideal for hot water applications. CPVC pipes come in different sizes and thicknesses and can be connected using special CPVC cement and fittings.


In conclusion, choosing the right plumbing pipe for your home or commercial property depends on several factors, including the type of application, local building codes, and the desired durability and resistance to corrosion. Copper pipes are ideal for hot water systems, PVC pipes are an affordable and durable option for sewer and drainage lines, while PEX pipes are flexible and easy to install. Galvanized steel pipes are best for large commercial properties, and ABS and CPVC pipes are suitable for hot water applications. Cast iron pipes are durable and fire-resistant but are prone to rust and corrosion over time. Before you choose a plumbing pipe, it is best to consult with a licensed plumber or contractor like Premium Rooter Plumbing Services who can help you determine the best option for your needs.

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