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Different Home Plumbing Pipe Types and How Can You Select One?

What are Plumbing Pipes?

Diverse plumbing pipe types, made of various materials, are used in building construction projects for a variety of reasons, including water supply, drainage, and waste disposal. Every structure should have enough water available in the needed locations to accommodate all of the needs of the occupants. Therefore, water requirements must be accurately calculated before building a facility. Through pipes inside the building, either above or below the surface, the transmission water is transported. To drain the wastewater through pipes, we must simultaneously calculate the appropriate drainage facilities.

The plumbing system is made up of all the fixtures and equipment required for drainage and water delivery. Different pipes are employed in this supply and drainage system for various reasons such as supply or service pipes and drainage/waste removal pipes. 

The two types of Plumbing systems are

Supply or Service Pipes:

Service pipes are those that connect the home’s plumbing system to the distribution main of the water supply. These service pipes are constructed from various materials, which are categorized below:

Copper Pipes: Copper pipes are utilized when groundwater is extremely corrosive to metals. When compared to other pipe metals, copper exhibits high corrosion resistance in addition to having a sizable amount of strength and good ductility. The market offers them in longer lengths. Since they can withstand high pressure, these pipes are also employed in industry for large flows. There are two different kinds of copper pipes: heavy gauge and light gauge pipes. Where pressure is particularly high, such as the leading pipe from a distribution main, for huge flows, etc., heavy gauge pipes are employed. For internal domestic pipes, light gauge pipes are utilized when the pressure does not exceed 0.15N/mm2.

Galvanized Iron Pipes: Steel or G.I. pipes are far more affordable than copper pipes. However, they erode quickly in acidic and soft conditions. In contrast, since galvanized iron pipes are significantly stronger than copper ones, we can use them in areas with hard water or other environments where corrosion is less likely to occur. Scales produced by hard water must be removed by hammering.

Polythene Pipes: For cold water services, plastic or polythene pipes are generally utilized. Plastic pipes have many advantages over other types of pipes nowadays, including- They do not corrode easily, they are inexpensive, they are very lightweight, they can be easy to install, they do not need to be threaded, and they are resistant to bacterial scaling. The majority of the world uses them, however, they are only effective for cold water supplies. High temperatures cannot be sustained by them.

Lead Pipes: Lead pipe has a high hydraulic coefficient of flow, corrosion resistance, and flexibility. However, drinking water containing lead can have poisoning effects that are bad for people. Thus, it is not recommended.

Drainage Pipes or Waste Disposing Pipes:

In a typical home, wastewater is created in a variety of locations, including the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Instead of using a single pipe to transport an entire load of waste, multiple pipes are strategically placed to dispose of it. Below is a description of the many wastewater pipe kinds.

Soil Pipe: Soil pipes are used to transport human waste from toilets to septic tanks. Other than the vent pipe, it is not connected to any other pipes. The diameter of a soil pipe should be 100mm.

Wastewater Pipe: A wastewater pipe is a term used to describe a pipe that only transports liquid waste from kitchens, washes basins, etc. It does not contain human waste. The diameter of horizontal wastewater pipes ranges from 30 to 50 mm, whereas the diameter of vertical wastewater pipes is 75 mm.

Rain-Water Pipe: A rainwater pipe transports rainwater from roofs when it rains. By supplying this kind of pipe, we can stop water from building up on the roof. It is possible to use the water gathered for farming or gardening. The best pipe to use for draining rainwater is 75mm in diameter.

Vent Pipe: Vent Pipe is the pipe provided for ventilation to make it easier for harmful gases to escape into the atmosphere. The top and bottom are open. It is offered at a height of at least 1 m above the roof. Vent pipes are often provided with a 50mm diameter.

Anti-Siphon age Pipe: Anti-siphonage pipes are those that are put in drainage systems to maintain the water seal of the traps. Therefore, this is highly beneficial in stopping drainage from backing up. The anti-siphon age pipe should be 40mm in diameter when linked to the wastewater pipe and 50mm in diameter when connected to the soil pipe.

Materials for Pipes:

Concrete Pipes: Concrete pipes with enormous diameters are utilized for the disposal of heavy drainage water. For small flows, smaller diameter pipes are employed. These are totally made of concrete and are not reinforced. Pre-cast pipes like these.

Iron Pipes: These are created by pouring hot iron into molds made of sand. These are utilized for the disposal of wastewater, rainwater, etc. There are only shorter lengths available.

Stone Ware Pipes: These are produced by burning soft soil at high temperatures in ceramic factories. These are employed to transport drainage underground. Skilled laborers are needed to install stoneware pipes.

PVC Pipes: Both supply systems and drainage systems use PVC Pipes. These are inexpensive and simple to maintain. PVC pipes are typically used for kitchen trash and soil pipes.

Asbestos Cement Pipes: Despite being amongst the most affordable pipes available, they are also quite fragile. They are offered as pipes for vents, soil, rainwater, etc.

Different Types of Home Plumbing Pipes:

There are several home plumbing pipes one can choose from. The many types are mentioned as follows:

  1. PEX Pipes:

Water supply pipes made of PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) are strong plastic piping. PVC plumbing has been updated to PEX, which incorporates pipe flexibility for better usability and functionality.

Because PEX pipes are designed to flex, they are the material of choice for contractors because they can bend without the use of joiners. These flexible pipes can extend to three times their original size after installation. The harm brought on by standing water freezing in the lines throughout the winter is lessened by this enlargement. Plastic plumbing pipes made of PEX, like PVC, can last for 100 years or more without deteriorating. Additionally, they are resistant to corrosion, scaling, and other typical problems.

PEX pipes are composed of plastic with a strong wall. They’ll prolong the hot water’s heat, allowing your water heater to take a break. When the water is colder, even freezing, they also produces less condensation. PEX plumbing pipes are lightweight and flexible, making them quick and simple to install, saving you time and money during the initial installation. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) piping, has an advantage regarding sustainability in terms of production, shipping, and lifetime use. Natural resources are needed to make plastic, and production processes result in chemical off-gassing. Even yet, PEX plumbing pipes have a lesser overall environmental impact than their copper counterparts, especially when you take into account their long lifespan of more than 100 years. 

In addition, there will be several years before PEX plastic decomposes in a landfill, despite how long it will take. If there is the usage of NSF-61 or NSF-PW choices, drinking water piping using PEX plumbing is regarded as being very safe. These are evaluated and rated based on how well they resist leaching dangerous chemicals. Flexible PEX pipes bend around curves more easily than rigid PVC pipes, which reduces the need for glues and solvents during installation. Thus, water will contain fewer contaminants overall. After construction, homeowners could immediately detect a plastic flavor. But once more, as the water passes through them, that effect will fade.

PEX plumbing pipes cost 20% to 40% less than copper pipes, similar to PVC. A 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom home’s PEX plumbing installation could cost as little as $4,000–6,000, whereas a large, new home might require as much as $21,000 to install new PEX plumbing. 

  1. PVC Pipes:

PVC pipes are frequently utilized as a component of shower, toilet, and sink drain lines. Because it shields the water from rust and corrosion better than other types of pipes, its plastic tubing is perfect for this type of purpose. Due to this quality, PVC pipe is also highly resilient. PVC pipes will survive forever unless they sustain some sort of harm.

High water pressure can be handled by PVC pipe as well. This is why it can also act as the primary water supply pipe for your house. Additionally, it is lighter in weight than the more conventional galvanized steel piping options, making it simpler to deal with. PVC pipes also have a smooth inner lining that prevents silt buildup and increases their resistance to obstructions.

PVC pipe has limitations in size selection, is unable to tolerate hot water, and raises safety problems. Although PVC piping complies with all ANSI requirements, there are worries that it could introduce polyvinyl chloride compounds into drinking water, possibly resulting in reproductive and respiratory problems. Because of this, some states have outlawed the transportation of drinking water through PVC plumbing pipes.

  1. Copper Pipe:

For many years, the copper pipe has been a mainstay of the plumbing business. As may be seen from their bright reddish-brown color, copper pipes are mostly made of pure copper. Within the residence, water supply lines are frequently made of rigid copper. It is prized because, unlike other pipe materials like plastics that can leach chemicals, it does not pose any health problems. Sinks, showers, tubs, and other fixtures in both new and old homes frequently contain this type of plumbing pipe, which has a lifespan of up to 50 years. Copper pipes are still preferred by plumbers and homeowners alike because they resist corrosion and are the greatest choice for preserving water purity.

High water pressure and both hot and cold water temperatures can be tolerated by copper pipes. It is also recyclable, which makes it a slightly eco-friendly choice. Moreover, rigid copper is highly resilient and can easily be cut with a hacksaw or tubing cutter.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Plumbers cannot utilize copper piping in small areas because of how stiff it is. Additionally, it is the priciest kind of plumbing pipe. Any project requiring copper piping will become more expensive as the price of copper rises.

  1. ABS Pipes:

ABS pipes are identical to PVC pipes in nature, however, they are simple to distinguish because of their dark color. It has a look that is similar to PVC pipe, but it is made of a thermoplastic resin, is black, and is a little softer. It primarily serves as a drain and vent pipe. Along with that, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene exhibits exceptional resistance to cold temperatures. Most of its applications are for vent and drain lines.

Although sun exposure can bend and weaken it, this pipe is a somewhat durable and affordable option. However, similar to PVC, it may not be up to code in all areas, so check your local laws.

Despite being simple to install, this type of plumbing tubing can warp when exposed to sunshine. Additionally noisier than other plumbing pipe types, ABS pipes can disturb some homes.

  1. Flexible Pipe:

Flexible tubing composed of stainless steel is known as flexible pipe, or Flexi for short. Final plumbing connections to appliances like water heaters, toilets, and sinks frequently employ this type of fitting. For water running into heaters and freezers, flexible copper is perfect. Typically, it is not allowed to be used inside of walls or floors.

Shorter runs typically require this kind of tubing. This type of tubing is used in confined spaces to link cold water sources and water heaters.

A hacksaw can be used to cut these tubes with ease. They are also simple to curve around corners. Flexible copper, however, doesn’t do well in high temperatures. So, using it outside is not recommended. The Flexi pipe comes in a variety of diameters and lengths. It is reasonably resilient, although it frequently breaks down after years of use and abuse. Although you normally don’t need a lot of it for a job, it is also pricey.

  1. Galvanized Steel Pipe:

Galvanized steel and cast iron pipes are frequently seen in early 20th-century homes but are rarely used in new construction. Connecting joints are used to bring together galvanized pipes.

Galvanized steel is a robust, corrosion-resistant steel piping material that has been used for many years for gas supply, water supply, drainage, and other uses. Although it is still used for gas delivery, galvanized steel pipe is far less frequent and is not used for water supply in new construction or remodeling projects. Despite its good endurance, installing it costs a lot of money. The pipe has threads on both ends, and connection fittings are used to screw separate pipes together.

  1. Cast Iron:

The inflexible, dark grey piping known as cast iron was frequently utilized for drainage, including sewage. It is still employed in various commercial and high-rise building applications today, in addition to being present in many households. Up to the point at which it entirely rusts through, it is still usable. It is also quite heavy and challenging to cut. In retrofits, rigid plastic pipes like ABS are frequently used in place of cast iron pipes. Although pricey, cast iron is strong and has a long lifespan.

Sewer pipes and other drainage systems were frequently made of cast iron. Their appeal is partly due to their heat resistance and ability to muffle the sound of running water. The cast-iron pipe might unfortunately rust and corrode. This will eventually have an impact on its capacity to maintain a clean water supply. In domestic plumbing repairs, copper or PEX pipes have essentially taken the role of these types of pipes.

How to Choose a Home Plumbing Pipe?

The layout of the space of work and the function the pipe needs to accomplish are the two most crucial things to take into account. For instance, in confined spaces, one could require a more flexible pipe.

The decision will also be influenced by the cost. A benefit of more expensive pipe is often that it lasts longer. Therefore, in the end, the installer can end up saving money. Another important factor to be considered is to be familiar with the local building codes to ensure that the piping being utilized is legal. Here are some crucial factors to note while choosing the appropriate home plumbing pipe:

  • Ensuring a good quality: Don’t simply focus on the cost; also consider the manufacturer’s product quality. Do some study, determine which pipes are the best, and investigate the reputation of the producer. Check to see if they guarantee high-quality products that meet both quality and durability criteria set by the industry. 
  • Installation: The installation of the pipe in a home or place of business is one of the most crucial factors to consider. One has to make sure the pipes are portable and simple to install because anything less could drive up project costs and transportation expenses. 
  • Lead-free Pipes: It is significant to ensure that the pipes are lead-free before selecting them. Hazardous metal lead can hurt health. Due to the behavioral consequences of lead at lower exposure levels, children and infants are particularly vulnerable to it. Lead-free pipes guarantee general hygienic conditions and guard against water contamination. This is a crucial consideration, especially if you’re using the pipes to deliver drinking water. Additionally, the pipes’ anti-algae and anti-fungal qualities make them perfect for outdoor applications. 
  • Corrosion Resistance: It is crucial to choose pipes that are resistant to corrosion while making your selection. Corrosion caused by subpar pipes may eventually affect water flow. Effectively, it can harm many people’s health while lowering the quality of water. As a result, it is advisable to choose PVC, CPVC, UPVC, and other chemical and corrosion-resistant plumbing pipes.
  • Durability: High tensile strength pipes that are sturdy and durable last a long time without breaking. Poorly made, ineffective pipes can cost a lot of money and even put the entire plumbing project on hold. One should look for pipes that are produced with cutting-edge machinery and contemporary tools to guarantee longevity and great quality.


The location, water quality, and budget will determine which new pipes to choose for homes. It is great to practice insulating the pipes no matter what kind of pipe is being selected. Foam is a cheap and simple option that will cut the overall heat loss from hot water pipes by 80%. Insulation by itself can increase the temperature of the water by 4 degrees.

Any plumbing pipe alternative will not sweat and drop condensation inside the walls with the help of insulation. Any nearby hardware store should have pre-slit insulated foam wrapping for the piping. Pipes come in sizes of 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch, so make sure to measure their diameter first.

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