Re: Any warnings for installing copper water lines?
Posted by Gary Slusser on January 14, 2003 at 14:01:10:
In response to Re: Any warnings for installing copper water lines?
: In some jurisdictions (such as mine in the SF Bay Area) PVC/CPVC pipe is not approved for inside the house use, though it is allowed for supply runs to the house and for outdoor applications, such as hot tubs. Your locale may permit it indoors. The only real advantage I know of (besides cheapness and ease of joinery)is that PVC/CPVC are more resistent to scaling if your water is high in minerals. Otherwise, copper is much better: stronger, more resistant to high temperature, smaller outside diameter for a given inside diameter, and, in the opinion of a lot of folks, looks better (if assembled correctly). There is still some unsettled question about whether CPVC leaches out certain chemicals into the water, but this is probably not a real problem. There used to be some concern about the lead in soldered copper joints, but newer solders are lead-free.

The current NSF 61 standard states that copper is not allowed if the water has a pH of less than 6.5. Some areas of the country have already incorporated this into their codes and I'm sure many others will follow shortly. California has approved CPVC and just recently PEX but I'm not sure PEX is approved state wide.

Copper plumbing with aggressive and/or corrosive water doesn't mix well and costs many folks thousands of dollars in water damage and in redoing their plumbing before they realize they had a problem. I'm in water treatment and like to sell equipment to correct water quality problems but... The replacement for copper plumbing is going to be ... plastics. Our food, beverages and medicines etc. aren't distributed, stored and served in copper, should our water be? The answer is becoming a resounding no; all around the world.

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