Copper vs. Plastic for Plumbing Pipes? Which Is Right for You?


Copper vs. Plastic for Plumbing Pipes? Which Is Right for You?

It's a decision that's plagued plumbers and homeowners for years. When it comes to plumbing pipes, is copper or plastic better?

Copper has always been a popular choice, but as the price of the metal increases, many homeowners are turning to plastic for their plumbing needs. There are pros and cons to each material. In the end, it really comes down to what works best for you, what your specific needs are, and how much you want to spend.

Copper Is Durable but More Expensive

Copper is a good choice for plumbing pipes because of its durability, although it works best if your water isn't too acidic. Copper always meets building code; it's fire-resistant, bacteria-resistant, and stands up to earthquakes. It is lightweight and can be formed and bent, which means it can squeeze into tight spots. If you want a material that is safe for the environment and recyclable, copper fits the bill.

One of the disadvantages of copper is the high price tag. The cost fluctuates and has risen high enough to prompt frequent thefts of copper in industrial, retail, and even residential buildings. Another downfall is that copper can cause water to taste acidic. Copper is typically more difficult to install and usually requires the services of a plumber. Also, copper can start to break down if the water running through the pipes is too hot—generally more than 185 degrees.

PVC Is Easy to Install but Not as Environmentally Friendly

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping is stable, strong, and resistant to corrosion. It's easier to install than copper and holds up to strong water currents. It won't rust, and it insulates itself, standing up to very hot water. You don't have to worry about soldering like you do with copper; instead, a glue is used to connect the joints. In most cases, chlorinated PVC is used in residential homes because it's safe for hot-water use; regular PVC piping is not.

On the downside, PVC pipes have a larger diameter, so it's a bit more difficult to move them around and work with them. The PVC is also more delicate, so it breaks and cracks more easily than copper if it's dropped. Some people also say PVC pipes give water a plastic taste. Because PVC is a fabricated material, it's not as easy on the environment as copper is.

If you're debating the merits of copper versus PVC, in the end you'll want to consider your budget, what your specific needs are, and how easy or difficult installation will be.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

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