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Why Is Copper So Common for Home Plumbing?

Posted on: May 1, 2017


If you’ve ever thought about repiping your home in Durham, NC, or you’ve had it done at some point, the majority of new pipes used for the job are made from copper. Plastic piping, such as CPVC and PEX play an important part in repiping, often for hot water lines and in restrictive spaces where their flexibility is helpful. But copper pipes are the mainstay of modern home plumbing systems.

What is the reason that copper overtook older metals like galvanized steel, which was for decades the standard for residential piping?

The Big Benefits of Copper Piping in Your Plumbing System

Copper provides a large swath of benefits compared to the metal it has replaced, and these benefits are likely to make copper the metal of choice for decades to come:

  • Corrosion resistant: One of the huge problems with steel and cast iron piping is how easily it corrodes over time. This is why many older homes needed to have repiping done in the first place. Copper, however, is resistant to many forms of corrosion, such as atmospheric and (crucially for plumbing systems) aqueous corrosion. This not only helps to prevent leaks and the early need to replace pipes, but it improves water flow because the copper pipes remain smooth. Copper isn’t completely corrosion-proof, however—formicary corrosion from chemicals can affect it—but most copper pipes will experience few corrosion issues over their service life.
  • Easy installation: Copper is an easy material for plumbers to work with. It’s a soft enough metal to make it easy to cut, and this permits reduced work time for plumbers on the job. Copper can be easily joined together with soldering, and the ductile nature of the metal allows for it to fit into smaller spaces without need elbows and joints. On top of all this, copper is lightweight, and that helps make any job easier and quicker.
  • Many sizes: There’s pretty much a copper pipe for any size application. Fresh water pipes, drainage systems, sprinkler systems, hot water pipes, etc.
  • Long lasting: Steel and iron pipe systems don’t have anywhere near the longevity of copper pipe systems. Copper pipes not only have a long lifespan, but the need little in the way of maintenance. For example, copper doesn’t require painting to protect it from corrosion the way other pipes do.
  • Safe: Copper doesn’t place toxicity into water systems. It also doesn’t burn or combust, so in case of a fire in a home, copper will not allow the flames to move through the floors. Decomposing copper doesn’t release toxic chemicals either.
  • Handles heat: Copper is eight times more conductive to heat than other types of metals. This is one of the reasons copper is used in many heating and solar energy systems, but it’s beneficial in plumbing as well because how effective it is for hot water lines.

If you need repiping for your house to put in new copper (or plastic) pipes, arrange for the service with our licensed plumbers! We use the best materials available and will see your plumbing system has the ideal new pipes to last for years with few problems.

Bud Matthews Services: For All Your Home Service Needs in Durham and the surrounding areas.

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