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Water Pipe is a pipe for conveying water.
Some facts about Water Pipe:
Lead and clay pipes was used to transport water to homes and public buildings in ancient time.
However, the popularity of lead piping fell off after understanding of lead poisoning and then materials like cast iron, terra-cotta, copper and galvanized steel were used as water pipe.
The most common pipe materials used are copper, galvanized steel, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).
Rigid Copper and Flexible Copperare two main types of copper pipes that can be used together for a whole plumbing system.
Rigid or hard copper can be cut into pieces and then soldered together to be used throughout a house or building for the water supply.
Flexible or soft copper can be used in short runs where space is tight and flexibility is needed, such as in corners or in a supply line to your faucet as these are malleable.
Copper piping comes in various sizes, labeled in millimeters by the diameter, from one outside edge to another. 15 mm and 22 mm are the most popular sizes. But you can also get 18 mm piping as well as sizes ranging from 22 to 108 mm.
Rigid copper piping can also be measured with its thickness. Type M, Type L and Type K are three grades of thickness available that you can choose from for use in plumbing.
The thinnest copper used in plumbing is Type M. Usually this type of pipe can be used for water piping, but more often it is used for drain, waste and vent (DWV) piping. It works well for hot as well as cold supply lines in the home.
Type L has medium thickness and can be used for transporting drinking water. It aslo works well for interior hot and cold supply lines.
Type K has the thickest walls, making it ideal for harsh conditions. Type K is an ideal choice for underground service lines.
Water Pipe made of Copper can last at least 50 years as copper is proven to be a reliable material. These are not prone to leakage or corrosion as copper is a sturdy material.
It is safe to transport drinking water in copper water pipes as bacteria cannot thrive in copper pipes, and copper will not pollute water in any way.
The material can be recycled when copper pipes eventually need to be replaced.
It has extreme temperature tolerance as copper is able withstand extreme temperature changes, including hot and cold water.
Although copper pipes are durable and can be recycled, they are not used in many cases because of its high cost and not being environment friendly.
Galvanized Steel Pipes:
Galvanized pipes are coated in a layer of zinc to prevent rusting and these are the material of choice for residential plumbing.
They can be screwed in to each other as the ends of pipes are threaded.
Although Galvanized pipes are sometimes used to transport non-potable water, but these are not safe to transport potable water.
Galvanized steel pipes are cheaper than copper. These are strong and can manage to resist rust for a short period of time.
Galvanized steel pipes have short lifespan of about 20 to 50 years. Although the lifespan is not too short, but it losses its significance in comparison to the lifespans of many other piping materials.
Rust can build up inside over time in a Galvanized steel pipe, especially in pipes with a small diameter. The rust can break loose from the inside walls of the pipe and end up mixing with the water as it flows through resulting in discoloring the water.
Lead can leach into the water inside if pipes become corroded, making it unsafe to drink.
Water flow can be blocked because of formation of clogs overtime due to build-up of minerals inside of galvanized pipes.
They are also extremely heavy which makes them difficult to work with.
The galvanization on the outside is compromised when galvanized pipes are damaged, which makes the pipe vulnerable to corrosion in a short amount of time.
Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes:
Water pipe made of Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC are the most common pipes used for plumbing pipes. A combination of plastic and vinyl is used in the manufacturing of PVC pipes which makes the pipe rigid. These are usually white, cream or grey in color.
PVC pipes can be used for transporting potable water and for draining. These are ideal for highly pressurized water, such as the main water supply line in a home.
You can choose a particular thickness and configuration of PVC pipe designed to best support the application for which it has to be used.
Look for an 'NSF-PW' or 'NSF-61' label if the piping is meant to transport drinking water, as these lables meets the standards laid out by NSF/ANSI 61.
PVC pipes are more durable as these are not subjected to rust or corrosion.
PVC water pipes are most often used for the main supply line that goes into your home because of its ability to handle high water pressure.
It is easy to transport PVC pipes as these are extremely light compared to metal pipes
It is also easy to work with PVC pipes as the pipes are essentially glued together and there is no soldering required to connect pipes
The cost of PVC pipe is low compared to copper.
PVC pipes can not be used to transport hot water as these are susceptibility to warping and heat can cause the material to warp and melt.
There are not much sizing options available for PVC pipes which can be an issue sometime. Also, fittings used to connect PVC pipes can be bulky, which can be an issue in tight spaces.
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride:
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride or CPVC has almost same properties as PVC as both materials are made from the same basic elements.
CPVC is chlorinated which makes it different from PVC and provides the ability to withstand temperature differences in a way that PVC cannot. Therefore, CPVC can be used in place of PVC for transporting hot water.
CPVC comes in Nominal Pipe Size (NPS) system as well as in Copper Tubing Size (CTS).
The lifespan of CPVC is indefinite as it is a plastic material, that does not react to corrosive substances and does not rust.
It is also a good material for a main water supply line like PVC as it has the ability to handle high water pressure.
CPVC is also somewhat flexible and it easy to move and work with because of its lightweight.
It is still a budget option compared to metal piping materials although CPVC is more expensive than PVC.
CPVC water pipes are an ideal option to handle hot water transport as these will be able to withstand extreme temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
CPVC water pipes can be used for indoor application only as CPVC tend to break down if exposed to sunlight for a prolong period of time.
Cross-Linked Polyethylene Pipes:
Cross-Linked Polyethylene or PEX is a plastic material that can be used for water pipes.
PEX is easy to cut and join together in addition to being flexible.
A combination of barbed fittings and crimping rings or cinch clamps is used in the PEX system to fit together.
The installation process is quick and easy as there is no soldering or gluing required.
PEX pipe can last indefinitely without needing to be replaced as these are are completely rust and corrosion resistant.
PEX pipe can easily be snaked into walls as these are flexible. Even a 90-degree turns can be made using PEXpipe with no problem.
It is a great material for retrofitting. It can be extended across the length of a house with just one long piece.
The flexibility of PEX pipe makes it very easy to install. No soldering or even gluing is required when joints are needed.
PEX water pipe can be used to transport hot water as well as cold, since it can withstand extreme temperatures.
PEX is still significantly cheaper than copper, although more expensive than PVC.
The taste and odor of drinking water can be affected by PEX, especially if the water has stayed in the pipes for some time.
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