When you’re considering the right pipes and fittings for plumbing tasks, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the best materials. Factors to consider include the durability, cost and suitability of the pipes for the job at hand.
There are a number of mainstream pipe materials, each of which has characteristics that make it suitable to a specific range of applications. A reputable supplier will be an invaluable source of advice and guidance.
Assuming for a moment that your application requires copper piping, you will no doubt need a range of pipe fittings such as those seen here https://watkinspowis.co.uk/products/copper-pipe-fittings-and-press-systems. A specialist supplier can help you choose the best fittings for the task, whether you opt for solder, welded or compression types.
Returning to the selection of pipe material, the following is a brief summary of some of the key types.
Copper pipe and fittings have the advantage that they are durable and low maintenance. The pipes can be recycled, are resistant to leaks and tolerate heat. Copper pipe fittings do not pollute water and do not corrode. They may have a higher cost in some contexts but their versatility and durability offsets this in most applications. Copper can be used to transfer most mediums.
Polyvinyl Chloride Piping (PVC)
PVC piping is quick and easy to install with no welding requirements. It is resistant to corrosion and rust. This is a versatile material with a wide range of fittings available. The limitations are that it is not suitable for hot water, cannot be recycled and cannot be exposed to sunlight.
Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Piping (cPVC)
With a higher chlorine content, cPVC pipes are more suitable for hot water applications and they are fire-resistant and good for limiting energy loss. Installation is easy and there is no noise from the water flow. The downside is that they can split when frozen and can be relatively expensive. The manufacturing process is highly polluting and so not kind to the environment.
Cross-linked Polyethylene Piping (Pex)
The advantage of Pex piping is its flexibility, so it can be bent around obstructions and edges. Pex is low maintenance and works well with compression fittings, so it does not require glue. This is a versatile material that is non-conductive and is heat and freeze resistant. It is not suitable for outdoors and requires special installation tools.