Plumbing: Should We Keep Our Copper Pipes?

Sarah Home

For those with a period home, it would seem a shame to have our copper pipes taken out and then replaced with the plastic alternative. It would completely alter the look and feel of a home that has both age and history going for it. That nice feature of copper pipes to look at would have completely disappeared.

Whatever you decide, you can visit the website http://paladinplumbing.com/ to take care of those period or modern plumbing needs.

In terms of this article, we shall think about the advantages and disadvantages of making the change from copper pipes to their more modern alternative of plastic, and about whether copper piping should still be in use today.

Aesthetics

The number one reason for keeping copper pipes has to be the look and style that they provide a home. Their shiny or metal appearance is pleasing to look at, explaining why antique copper jelly moulds are collected for display. They are known as kitchenalia in terms of a collectable.

Also, though, copper pipes are still used in the construction industry for water supply and refrigerant lines for HVAC systems. Copper pipes can be manufactured as soft or rigid copper and are excellent when it comes to corrosion resistance and for making reliable connections. This explains why many plumbers will still use copper piping in their work.

Level of Plumbing Skill Required

The drawback with copper piping is that it requires skilled maintenance to make and maintain the watertight joints, whereas a plastic pipe will fit together more easily. You should always hire a professional to solder plumbing joints. Not only do you want a good joint, but the flame from the soldering iron can be hazardous when worked with it in confined spaces, where many plumbers find themselves working. Toilets and bathrooms are, after all, considered the smallest rooms in a house in most cases.

Tradition

Many plumbers, by tradition, will elect to still use copper pipes. They have been around for a long time and are considered the standard for plumbing. Copper is considered both durable and reliable when it comes to its usage in pipes. Having said that, plastic piping (known as PEX) works well as a flexible material too.

Disadvantages of Copper Pipes

It is not all good news when it comes to copper pipes. They will sometimes fail when the temperature of the water reaches above 180 degrees. Also, condensation will form inside copper pipes, and when this freezes will block water flow. Another thing is that copper pipes will result in water having something of a metallic taste. Although, this is only a slightly metallic taste. I suppose it is what we get used to.

Aesthetically, although copper pipes can look nice inside, when they leak or are outside and exposed to the elements, they become green and can lose their appeal.

The good news on having copper pipes installed now, is that they can last for about 50 years, so they have good longevity compared to plastic. Although, they will eventually need replacing. Copper is corrosion-resistant rather than corrosion-proof. A type of corrosion from their exposure to formaldehyde will cause copper to weaken sooner than it might have otherwise done.

As far as detecting leaks, it is harder with copper pipes than plastic pipes because the leaks out of them will be slower. However, a good plumber will be able to find out where the leak is coming from.

So, it looks like copper pipes are here to stay for many. There will be those who want to keep their old pipes for as long as they can, others who think copper offers advantages still, and plumbers who swear by the old way of plumbing, with pipes that can last longer than their plastic equivalents. If you are thinking of changing from copper, then it might be something in the water, with copper likely to add a slight metallic taste to your drink.

So, here is the advantages and disadvantages of using different materials for piping when considering a plumbing job. Where gas is involved, it will be essential that a qualified heating engineer is used from a safety point of view. Also, for any job where you require quality workmanship and the work guaranteed.