What are the different types of pipes used in plumbing?

In plumbing can be distinguished two main types of pipes, metal and plastic. The most commonly used plastic pipes are PVC (polyvinyl chloride*), CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), and PolyPipe®. Among metal pipes, the most common are copper, stainless steel and galvanized steel. Each type of pipe has distinctive characteristics and is used to meet specific needs.

plastic pipes

Note: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the same as polyvinyl chloride but the correct IUPAC name is the former. And according to common sense also because it is a polymer in which vinyl chloride is repeated.

The PVC pipes They are mainly used to transport high pressure water. They are available in different standard diameters in construction and plumbing. PVC pipes are not used if hot water needs to be transported since heat can deform the pipe and even make it melt completely. Most PVC pipes are white or gray in color.

The CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is a derivative of PVC with higher chlorination. CPVC is a characteristic yellow color and its main advantage over PVC is that it withstands high temperatures being able to transport both cold water and hot water. CPVC also has a broader range of uses than PVC by offering an outside diameter similar to that of copper pipe (PVC tubing is thicker for the same inside diameter).

The cross-linked polyethylene pipes, PEXare becoming more and more popular although their history dates back to the 1920s. PEX pipes have the same characteristics as CPVC pipes but withstand much higher temperatures and for this reason they are frequently used in boilers and water heating systems. PEX pipes have a cream-white color although they are usually colored blue and red to denote the passage of hot and cold water, respectively.

The PolyPipe® pipes are thick pipes, typically black in color, used to transport water at very high pressure, usually in pipes that carry water into or out of buildings. It is a type of pipe that is used almost exclusively outdoors. PolyPipe is a fairly stiff material and is rarely used for other purposes.

metal pipes

Copper pipes are the usual ones at the domestic level although they are more expensive than plastic pipes. Copper is a metal with a high resistance to corrosion and can withstand very high temperatures without any problem. Copper tubing is typically available in three standard sizes: M, L, and K. Size M is the smallest diameter, L medium, and K are the thickest. Metal pipes can give off an odor.

The stainless steel pipes they are less common, more expensive, and harder to find. They are mainly used in marine facilities and in constructions near the sea, since resist salt water corrosion, which can corrode pipes made of other metals. Their price makes them unattractive for areas where it is unlikely that the pipes will be exposed to salt water continuously and in large quantities.

Galvanized pipes have been widely used to carry water to and from homes. Galvanizing prevents the metal from rusting and makes it more resistant to corrosion (learn more about galvanized steel). The use of this type of pipe has been practically completely displaced by PEX pipes, which are cheaper and just as durable.

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