As is the case with many items in our homes and work spaces, plumbing pipes are taken for granted until something goes wrong. The exception is when you are renovating or replacing plumbing pipes because of their age or the material that was used to make them. Whatever the reason, it is beneficial to understand the different types of plumbing pipes available. First, let's look at supply plumbing pipes. These are plumbing pipes that are under constant pressure from the water that flows through them. Plumbing pipes that come into your home and run up to most, if not all of your fixtures. The materials used to make these plumbing pipes include galvanized steel, copper, brass and even lead.
Lead plumbing pipes should raise a red flag for any property owner. Lead plumbing pipes are not used for new installations but if you are working on an older building there is a chance that they may be present. If you do have or suspect that you have lead plumbing pipes, have them looked at and get your water tested. Too much lead in your water may be fatal.
Plumbing pipes may function just fine for anywhere from 20 to 70 years. Of course, the mineral content of the water that constantly applies pressure to them will affect the length of time. Brass generally lasts longer than copper and both last longer than galvanized steel. But just to be safe, check with a plumber in your area to get a good sense of what works best.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is widely used as drain line plumbing pipes. This is the pipe that runs from the fixtures into the supply pipes. If you look under most modern home sinks you will see PVC plumbing pipes. It's inexpensive, easy to modify and adapt to the space you are working in, and simple to install and remove. It is also used frequently as temporary fix plumbing pipes for supply pipe breaks.
One consideration for plumbing pipes is how to maintain them. Particularly in older buildings where the cost to replace pipes is extremely high. Two things you can do are to monitor your water pressure and consider whether you need to soften the water. You can test for how high your water pressure is by using a hose bib gauge. If you find your water pressure is high, a plumber will install a pressure reducer.
The hardness of water is based on mineral content. Softening the water means, reducing the amount of mineral content that flows through plumbing pipes. Pipes may become corroded and restricted by the buildup of minerals. The best solution for water hardness is to install a water softener. A plumber will install one that will cover all the water flowing into your building. Or, you can use a less expensive version that will cover only certain areas of your building; such as your kitchen and bathrooms. Understanding the types of plumbing pipes available and how to maintain them before you are faced with purchasing decisions will go a long way in saving you time and money. Working with a professional plumber will make navigating the world of plumbing pipes simple.