Plumbing, have you finally decided to make the dream of your own home come true and you are just looking forward to the moment when you can start arranging the interior and give free rein to your creativity? Unfortunately, before you get to this stage of a plumbing, you will have to make a few other, equally important decisions, including which pipes are to be used in the water installation.

In plumbing, there are various solutions available in specialized stores that might seem to work well as pipes used to create a durable and functional water installation, the reality is a bit different. When choosing a specific material, instead of being guided only by the financial aspect, you should rather pay attention to its quality, resistance to mechanical damage, and also take into account whether they are suitable for supplying drinking water. In today’s article, we will dispel all doubts and answer the bothering question about which pipes to choose for water installation at home!

Plumbing – Water installation in the house – what types of pipes are the most popular?

If you stopped at the stage where the norm and practically the only solution available were steel pipes, we have very bad news for you. Currently, this type of pipe is considered not only obsolete, but also completely non-functional, e.g. Due to the fact that they have poor insulating properties, they do not have corrosion resistance, and they are extremely susceptible to the development of mold and other microorganisms harmful to human health.

Fortunately, alternative solutions in the form of copper pipes and pipes made of various types of plastics have appeared on the market, which successfully replaces the most popular steel pipes a dozen or so years ago. So let’s check what are the characteristics of copper pipes and plastic pipes.

In recent years, steel pipes have been replaced by models made of copper and durable plastics 

Plumbing – Copper pipes for plumbing

This type of pipe is valued primarily for its bacteriostatic, i.e. resistance to the development and action of any bacteria and other microorganisms on their surface that may have a negative impact on health.

Their indisputable advantages also include the fact that they are resistant to mechanical damage and corrosion, and there is no point in looking for scale deposits on their smooth walls. They are also very suitable for conducting drinking water as they do not affect its taste and can be successfully used for both hot and cold water. Another advantage is the fact that they have a much smaller diameter with the same throughput as steel pipes so that the installation made of copper pipes takes up much less space.

Plumbing – Do copper pipes have disadvantages? 

Unfortunately, this solution is not completely free from disadvantages – one of them is, for example, their susceptibility to destruction under the influence of soft water, therefore they should not be used in cases where the pH value exceeds 7.0. Copper pipes can also corrode under the influence of CO2, manganese compounds, and ammonia contained in the water, as well as due to contact with devices made of galvanized steel or aluminum. Their disadvantages also include the relatively high price of the material, but due to the long life of copper, it is worth considering the purchase of such pipes.

Plumbing – Plastic pipes for water installation – advantages, types of plastics and disadvantages of this solution  

Lightness, corrosion resistance, and a very affordable price? – these are just some of the advantages that plastic pipes for plumbing can offer. Their characteristic feature is also the fact that they are chemically neutral, do not react with water and do not change their taste and smell, and also provide excellent thermal insulation.

Depending on the selected type of material, these types of pipes differ in flexibility and resistance to low and high temperatures, which is as follows:

  • polypropylene (PP) pipes – have a very high temperature range (from -40 to +95), thanks to which they can be used both for internal and external installations. Most often they are placed in grooves and behind curtain walls, and due to their rigid form, only various types of connectors are used to change their direction.
  • polyethylene (PE) pipes  divided into soft pipes (used for low-pressure installations) and hard pipes (intended for high-pressure installations), they are characterized by a very low specific weight and smooth walls, which reduce the risk of any microorganisms development. Due to their flexibility, they can be freely bent and adapted to the shape of the designed installation, but due to their elongation under the influence of high temperature, they should be led along curved lines.
  • PVC pipes – they are the cheapest solution recommended primarily for installations with cold water, as they are not resistant to temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius. PVC pipes should not be used outdoors because they crumble and deteriorate due to contact with low temperatures.    

Unfortunately, this type of pipe also has disadvantages, including oxygen penetration through the walls, the content of which increases with the temperature in the pipe, and the fact that all plastic pipes (except those made of polybutylene) are susceptible to the development of legionella bacteria, which can cause respiratory diseases and pneumonia.