There are several types of pipes used for supplying water to homes in our area: Copper, CPVC, PEX, Kitec, Poly, Polybutylene, Galvanized. For gas piping, CSST can be used in addition to black steel pipe.
Copper comes in three grades, M for thin wall pipe used mainly inside homes, L for thicker wall pipe, used mainly outside for water services and K, the thickest, used mainly between water mains and the water meter. Copper lasts a long time, is durable and connects well to valves.
Copper should not be installed if the water has a PH of 6.5 or less. The majority of public utilities supply water at a PH between 7.2 and 8.0 . Many of the utilities that have source water with a PH below 6.5 are treating the water to raise the PH. Private well water systems often have a PH below 6.5. When this it the case, installing a treatment system to make the water less acidic becomes a good idea.
CPVC is a slightly yellow plastic pipe used inside homes. It will
last a long time, not quite as tough as copper. Some areas with corrosive water will
benefit by the use of CPVC piping. BF Goodrich makes a product called FlowGuard Gold pipe
DuraTemp CPVC tubing are intended and recommended for use in hot and cold potable water distribution systems.
PEX is an acronym for cross-linked polyethylene. The "PE" refers to the raw material used to make PEX (Polyethylene), and the "X" refers to the cross-linking of the polyethylene across its molecular chains. The molecular chains are linked into a three-dimensional network that makes PEX remarkably durable within a wide range of temperatures, pressures and chemicals.
is a multipurpose pressure pipe that uniquely unites
the advantages of both metal and plastic. Made of an aluminum tube laminated to interior
and exterior layers of plastic, Kitec provides a composite piping system for a wide range
of applications, often beyond the scope of metal or plastic alone. And unlike copper and
steel materials, Kitec is non-corroding, and resists most acids, salt solutions,
fats and oils.
Galvanized pipe corrodes. If you have this, expect only 40 years of use from it. The main problem with the pipe is that water will be severely restricted by corrosion that eventually fills the pipe completely. Another problem is the mismatch of metals between the brass valves and the steel. Whenever steel pipe meets copper or brass, you will see rapid corrosion of the steel pipe. Dielectric unions can be used between copper and steel pipes, however some of these unions will close off flow in a short time. In the City of Bellevue, they prefer using a 6" brass nipple between copper and steel pipes. The problem with dielectric unions is that it breaks the grounding effect if a live electrical wire comes in contact with a pipe. City of Bellevue requires the two pipes to be bonded electrically to maintain the safety of grounded pipes. If your house is over 30 years old, you can plan on replacing pipes to maintain water flow.
Polybutylene pipe is a soft plastic pipe. I don't recommend it.
Anyone with a house, mobile home or other structure that has Polybutylene (PB) piping with acetal plastic fittings may be eligible for certain financial relief if they have replaced that plumbing system.
Qest, Thermoguard and Flex-temp
To be eligible for recovery under the Cox vs. Shell Oil, et al., class action lawsuit:
Consumer Plumbing Recovery
PVC is a white plastic pipe used outside. It can be used only for
cold water. It's uses include: water services, between the meter and building, and for
Poly pipe is a soft plastic pipe that comes in coils, used for cold water. It is used on water services. It can crack with age or wear through from rocks. Other weak points can be the stainless steel clamps or galvanized couplings.
CSST for gas piping.
Titeflex Gastite® replaces black iron pipe and copper tubing with corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) for new construction and renovation. (800)-662-0208
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