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What are the Advantages of Copper Plumbing?

Copper pipes are safer than galvanized iron pipes for home plumbing.
Copper plumbing can resist corrosion and remains unaffected by ultraviolet rays.
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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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When compared with galvanized steel or CPVC pipes, copper plumbing offers significant advantages. It is incredibly durable, easy and flexible to install, safer in natural disasters, resistant to weather and bacteria, and competitively priced. For decades, developers and builders have preferred copper plumbing for its dependability and solid value. Homeowners also prefer it because it generally increases the resale value of homes.

Since copper is a softer metal, it offers advantages over other metallic pipes. Copper pipe comes as tempered lengths that are hard, and annealed, or malleable coils. You have a choice as to the thickness of the tube. It is overall much thinner, while transporting a large volume of water, so contractors find it easier to install through narrow wall and floor spaces. Since it can bend, it requires fewer connectors and fasteners, saving hardware and installation costs.

Copper plumbing ensures a clean, safe water supply. Lead has been removed from the manufacturing process so it no longer poses a health risk unlike with galvanized pipes. Copper is also biostatic, which means it doesn't allow bacteria to grow. It carries potable water whose pH lies between 6.5-8.5. The best application is in buildings connected to a municipal water supply, as a well-water source may be too acidic. Copper resists corrosion and is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, so it can be adapted for outdoor applications like sprinkler systems.

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Unlike CPVC, or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride tubing, copper plumbing doesn't release toxic gases in the event of a fire because it resists burning. Temperature variation leaves this plumbing relatively unaffected, although problems may arise when temperatures get very hot and pipes can burst if they freeze. Slightly elastic pipes flex in earthquakes, rather than snap and cause additional damage. Leaks are rare. If something should happen, the universal system for fittings and sizes make it easy to augment or repair the problem.

Such qualities reduce repair and maintenance costs sufficiently to make copper plumbing an economic, long-term investment. The material may initially cost more, but it often comes with a 50-year warranty. That's unheard of with other kinds of pipes. It may not be as expensive as you think to choose copper plumbing. Copper is even recyclable, making it a more sound environmental choice than CPVC.

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Discuss this Article

anon281245
Post 9

Soft water is less acidic that hard water to begin with. I live where the water is very hard and copper is still the product of choice. Having been a plumber for 20 years, I re-piped my entire home with copper. Properly installed copper will last 30 years or more and greatly resists corrosion. This is not to say that calcium buildup will not occur as it will no matter what your pipes are made of.

anon224431
Post 7

Copper tubes can be used in different works but still have some advantages and disadvantages.

anon157797
Post 6

Yes, according to research I did, there are disadvantages. Soft water can corrode copper pipes, which, when consumed by people, isn't good for human body. Excess copper in human body can cause flu-like symptoms, or a similar type illness symptoms. Excess copper can cause stomach and intestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

parmnparsley
Post 5

@ Chicada- You can install copper plumbing and pipe in areas where the water is acidic. You simply need to install an acid neutralizing system. A filter system for a large home will cost about $800 or $900 installed and will raise the pH of incoming water to a safe range for your copper plumbing. It will add to the cost of your system, but if you are dead set on copper, and you have acidic well water, this may be a good option.

chicada
Post 4

@ Georgesplane- Really the only disadvantages of copper pipes and plumbing is the expense related to installation, the cost of the pipe, and the fact that it cannot be installed where water is acidic.

Acidic water will corrode copper and galvanized pipes causing costly pinhole leaks and staining. It would be a shame to install such an expensive plumbing system only to have it succumb to premature corrosion.

Georgesplane
Post 3

Are there any disadvantages to copper pipes and fittings?

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