Homeowners and plumbers have plenty of choices when it comes to the piping to use for plumbing systems. Copper and PVC piping are two of the most popular types of piping available on the market, and are worked with frequently by the professionals at C&W Plumbing . Since it conducts heat and electricity well, copper is usually the leading choice for water piping. However, plenty of homeowners are opting for plastic pipes as a cheaper and more durable alternative to copper. The following takes a look into the many pros and cons plastic piping has over similar copper and cast-iron pipes. Afterwards, homeowners can decide for themselves whether to take advantage of plastic piping, or stick to the more traditional copper and cast-iron piping for their home.
What is Plastic Piping?
Plastic piping, also known as Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC pipe, is made from a durable vinyl polymer that makes it suitable for many plumbing tasks. Plastic piping is often noted for its ease of installation, since there aren’t any special tools required outside of the solvent used to bond pipes and joints together. Plastic piping enjoys extensive use in countless construction projects thanks to its durability and ease of assembly. It also enjoys plenty of use in industrial applications where the cost of copper or cast-iron piping is prohibitive when compared with similar PVC piping.
Plastic piping offers a significant price advantage over similar copper piping. Unlike copper, plastic piping is cheaper to produce, purchase and install. They are also resistant to corrosion and abrasion, making them viable for long-term use. These pipes also tend to be quieter than copper pipes, even at higher water velocities. Homeowners who complain about the metallic taste of water run through copper piping will enjoy plastic piping as an alternative.
While plastic pipes are less prone to corrosion and abrasion, they are more delicate during installation. Unlike copper, which can be bent back into shape if stepped on, PVC piping will crack or even shatter. The solvents used to join pipes and fittings require plenty of ventilation during the installation process. Compared to the metallic taste of water that is run through copper pipe, some homeowners complain about a plastic taste in their water. Plastic piping also has the tendency to support bacterial growth under the right conditions. Ordinary PVC piping can become toxic when exposed to heat, making them completely unsuitable for use as hot water pipes and other similar applications. However, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is safe for transporting hot water. Cost considerations and ease of installation are the biggest reasons homeowners choose plastic piping over copper for modern home improvement projects, especially for most do-it-yourself projects. Both copper and plastic piping offer similar advantages and disadvantages to one another – it is ultimately up to the homeowner to decide which type of plumbing they want to have in their home.
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