Pros And Cons Of Installing And Using Copper Piping In Your Home

Posted on: 9 August 2017

If you've been planning on having a plumber re-pipe a significant portion of your home, or you're looking to upgrading your plumbing, then you might want consider using copper. Copper has been used in homes for decades and it can compare well to more modern materials such as PEX and PVC plastic piping. Here are some of the pros and a few of the cons of using copper piping for your home.

Pros:

Copper piping is durable:

Copper pipes are known to be long-lasting and are even known to stand up well in an earthquake or fire. They have been proven to stand up to earthquakes and fires. Their fittings don't burn, so no worries about toxic substances being released from them in the case of a house fire.

It has some bacterial-resistant features:

Because of its smooth surface, properly-maintained copper piping is fairly resistant to bacteria. However, if hard water scale is allowed to form, this resistance will diminish over time. Therefore, it's important to clean copper pipes regularly to remove mineral deposits.

Copper pipes bend and connect to other piping easily:

Because of its soft-metal quality, you can easily bend and mold copper pipes around tight places. This means that fewer joints and connectors are needed which could leak or break apart. Copper pipes can also be joined easily with other piping such as PVC and PEX with special fittings.

Cons:

Copper pipes don't do well in cold weather:

While copper is great when it's warm and has excellent heat conductivity, it sometimes doesn't do as well in cold climates. In fact, if your copper pipes ever freeze, they will likely split, especially hard-drawn copper piping which is very rigid. Soft copper may do OK the first couple times it freezes, but will eventually split as well and will need clamping.

It Works best in a narrow pH range:

Copper pipes don't do well if you have extremely soft or very hard water. Soft, acidic water tends to cause corrosion and this can cause pinhole leaks. Higher pH water can cause mineralization issues and pitting that can also lead to leaks.

Costs:

Depending on the market rate of copper, these types of pipes may be much more expensive than other types of pipes. If the price is high, not only is it a more expensive choice, it is more likely to get stolen.

Copper pipes are a great choice if you're re-piping your home, but they have a few downsides. This popular metal choice is known for its durability and, if installed properly, can last for a long time. It is also available in a variety of sizes and is completely recyclable when you're done with it (hopefully not for years after installation). If you're thinking of using copper, talk to your plumber and have your home inspected to see if this type of metal will work for your home. 

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Knowing When It’s Time to Call the Plumber

My name is Jason Lawrence, or around my house I’m sometimes known as “Daddy Fix-It.” My wife Sarah and I have four children all under the age of ten. I didn’t start out as a guy who was handy around the house, but I am learning to become a do-it-yourselfer for sure. Did I mention that I’m a bit stubborn? There are times I struggle with projects a little too long, and it takes my wife stepping in to convince me that it’s time to call a professional. I’ve become especially handy with plumbing projects. I don’t know why kids think toys belong in the toilet and doll hair is good for the bathtub drain, but around here those are weekly events. I’m going to share some of my experiences, how I fixed some of our plumbing problems, and when it becomes time to call the plumber.

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