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Is It Safe to Have Plastic Pipes for Drinking Water?

Posted on: September 17, 2018

You want your family to have clean drinking water—it’s the least you can expect from the water in your home! But sometimes water treatment systems are necessary, such as water purifiers and filters.

But what about the pipes in your house? We often hear questions from our customers about whether their pipes may be adding toxins into the water supply. Plastic pipes are becoming more common for both hot and cold water lines carrying fresh water, and we’re going to take a look at any safety concerns your home’s plumbing may have.

From Copper Pipes to Plastic

Since the 1970s, the standard piping material for home plumbing has been copper. Copper replaced galvanized steel, which tended to corrode and place lead into the water supply. Copper is safer since its corrosion-resistant, although older copper installations (before 1990) might have lead-based soldering on them. Plastic piping started to become common around the same time as copper, principally PVC, CPVC, and PEX. All of these plastics are approved for use in freshwater lines and shouldn’t present health hazards for your household. They are marked as NSF-61, indicating they are compliant with government regulations for safe drinking water.

However, if you have recently had PVC and CPVC pipes installed in your house, you may have detected a slight plastic taste in the water. This is often what causes people to become concerned about the health quality of these pipes. There are some chemicals from the plastic production process that may enter the water to create this taste, but they aren’t harmful to drink and the plastic taste should subside after a few months. PEX piping, which is becoming more popular with plumbers each year, may also add a plastic taste, but this is less likely.

If a plastic taste persists, you may wish to ask about installing a water treatment system to remove the chemicals.

Repiping for Plastic and Copper

So the short answer is: no, plastic pipes aren’t harmful for drinking water. In fact, they may be the best type of piping to have if you need to make upgrades to your home’s plumbing system. As we mentioned above, a home built pre-1970 may have galvanized steel—or even iron and lead—pipes in it, and not only can these put harmful chemicals into the water, they are prone to corrosion and decay. Your home may also have an older type of plastic pipe, polybutylene, which isn’t harmful for water quality but which breaks easily. We strongly recommend you have extensive repiping done to remove any of these types of pipe material and have them replaced with copper, CPVC, and PEX.

You want a plumber in Chapel Hill, NC to look into your repiping needs. Our plumbers will examine your plumbing system and find out how much pipe replacement is necessary to bring your home up to date and keep its drinking water safe. We also work with water treatment systems to help ensure your family stay healthy.

Look to us when you need pipe replacement or repiping. Bud Matthews Services is here for all your home service needs!

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