If you’re installing new pipes in your home, you may be wondering which one to opt for, copper or plastic. Which ones are of better quality? Which ones leak faster? Well, just like anything else, there are positives and negatives to both kinds of pipes. And deciding which pipe to go with is no easy one – there are a lot of factors to consider that can affect how to proceed with your plumbing dilemma.
The Pros and Cons of Copper Pipes
If you have an older home, chances are good that you have copper pipes. Plumbers have been installing copper pipes in people’s homes for centuries, and with good reason. Copper pipes are:
- Reliable – Their shelf life is around 40 to 70 years.
- Resistant to Corrosion – Though, they’re not entirely impermeable, depending on the pH levels in your water.
- Toxin-Free – They don’t release toxins into your water. They also prevent bacteria from growing and building up in your pipes.
However, as it normally goes with anything reliable, copper piping is not cheap. Not only is the piping itself expensive, but installing it is more difficult because copper piping requires more parts than plastic pipes do. So, among the things to consider before you decide on copper piping is your budget.
Copper pipes can also burst if they freeze up, so if you turn the heat off or lose heat during a cold snap, you may experience a serious plumbing emergency.
The Pros and Cons of Plastic Pipes
Plastic pipes, specifically PEX (polyethylene) pipes, have increased in popularity in recent years because they are just as reliable as copper and are more affordable by about 25%. They are also easier to install, which cuts down on labor costs, and our plumbers can install them in the small, tight areas that copper pipes simply won’t fit into. Not only that, but PEX pipes don’t corrode, and they can expand up to eight times their size before they burst.
The downsides to PEX piping are:
- Shorter Life Expectancy – You’ll get a maximum of 40 to 50 years out of PEX piping, as opposed to up to 70 with copper.
- Thinner Material – While thinner material allows the pipe to expand to prevent it from freezing up and bursting, this may also subject your water supply to contamination.
- Can’t Use It Outside – polyethylene is sensitive to UV degradation and, as such, you cannot use it outside.
You may also experience more issues with PEX fittings than you would with the fittings used for copper piping. While PEX piping uses fewer fittings, which you would expect to reduce your chances of a problem, the fittings that are there are more likely to loosen. And loose fittings can cause leaks.
Dealing with Acidic Water in Copper Pipes
Your water having a high pH level is the surest way to reduce the lifetime of your copper pipes. So, how do you know if you have a high pH level, and what can you do to fix it?
First, you can have your water tested. If your water’s pH is between 5 and 6.5, it’s too acidic. You want your water’s pH to be at least a 7, as that is neutral. It can be slightly higher. If your water is too acidic, you can install a water filtration system to neutralize the water. You can also have a lining or coating installed in the pipes, which will stop the acidic water from corroding the metal of the pipes.
Protecting Plastic Pipes
If you already have plastic pipes and you’re concerned that you could develop a leak, our plumbers at Plumbing by Jake can install a pipe coating or liner for you to help add resistance and endurance to your pipes. Pipeliners and coatings work to seal and reinforce the pipe and its joints, thereby reducing your chances of experiencing leaks in the future.
Having Trouble with Your Pipes? Give Plumbing by Jake a Call Now!
If you’re having a plumbing emergency related to your pipes, Plumbing by Jake can help. Here at Plumbing by Jake, we’ve seen – and fixed – every plumbing emergency imaginable. We can tell you within minutes what your plumbing issue is and what we suggest to fix it. Plus, we’ve available 24/7, whether your emergency is during the morning, the afternoon, or in the middle of the night.
Call us at (928) 377-5910 to speak with an experienced member of our team. In the event of a non-emergency, you can also fill out the contact form on our website to schedule your plumbing repair. Here at Plumbing by Jake, we offer all our customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all repairs and installations.
We serve various locations throughout the state of Arizona. So, if you are experiencing a leaky pipe or some other sort of plumbing emergency, don’t wait until your house floods and you have an even bigger problem. Call us now!