Indoor plumbing has been around for centuries. As many things change over the years, so has the type of pipes that maintain your plumbing. For instance, if looking at the plumbing system of older homes versus newer ones, you may find galvanized pipes in one and PVC tubing in the other. And for older homes especially, galvanized pipes are an outdated plumbing method and that should be replaced as soon as possible. Whether you’re looking for new types of plastic water pipes for your system or trying to decide which pipes you have, let’s take a look at six popular plastic pipes commonly used in homes.
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Types of Plastic Pipes
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene Tubing
With ultra stress-crack resistance, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) tubing provides quality temperature and pressure ratings. This type of plastic pipe is ideal for potable water or liquids, and pneumatic compressed air applications.
In addition to its ability to resist environmental stress cracking, linear low-density polyethylene, also known as LLDPE, is one of the most common forms of plastic water pipes. Unlike traditional density polyethylene, this tubing is more robust and is particularly useful for cold and intermittent hot water. LLDPE tubing is composed of non-contaminating materials, making a perfect tubing for water purification, water conditioners, misting systems, ice makers, and more.
A softer type of tubing, PVC pipes in homes and in the food industry to supply water to beverage dispensers. PVC tubing is chemical resistant and made of NSF and FDA listed materials. This makes this type of plastic pipe excellent for portable water and beverage systems. Possibly the most versatile tubing on the list, PVC tubing is also used in the construction industry for wire insulation, siding, and more.
Popularly sought after, silicone tubing is the perfect material when looking for resistance and flexibility for extreme temperatures.
In addition, this tubing has electrical properties and the unique capability to self-extinguish which makes it compatible with computers, appliances, and other electronic devices. Another popular industry that applies silicone tubing for its high-purity applications is the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Silicone Tubing is made up of FDA-sanctioned ingredients.
PEX Tubing & Pipes
PEX tubing, also known as cross-linked polyethylene, is a form of plastic water pipe composed of high-density polyethylene. It’s popularly used for floor heat tubing and water supply. Its extra-strength capabilities make it suitable for cold and hot drinking water applications.
Many builders now use PEX tubing for indoor plumbing as well as the entire plumbing distribution system. This extends from the service line in the street to the faucet in the bathroom. Pex is designed with an oxygen barrier, which allows it to be used in radiant heat applications lacking ferrous components such as metal or iron.
One of the lightest of all thermoplastics, OD polypropylene tubing specializes in the transfer of gases and hot liquids. Durable and heat resistant, this type of tubing can withstand high temperatures and pressure.
Along with plumbing applications, this tubing is ideal for vacuum systems as well and can be used in non-fluid transfer applications. Polypropylene has a high resistance capability making it resistant to alkalis and acids. On the other hand, it’s not very resistant to chlorinated solvents, aliphatic, and aromatic.
Clear Polyurethane Tubing
Clear polyurethane tubing lacks plasticization that could potentially cause flow contamination or hardening. This plastic pipe is flexible, transparent, and ultra-resistant to tearing, weather, abrasion, radiation, oils, and fuels. For transparency, and strong resistance from UV rays, this type of tubing is also ideal for outside use. In addition, clear polyurethane tubing can be heat sealed, coiled, fabricated, or even bonded.
4 Advantages of Using Plastic Pipes
Long Life Cycle
One of the best benefits of plastic water pipes is longevity. Unlike metal pipes that rust and corrode over time, plastic pipes will not corrode, rust, or develop sediment buildup that can lead to bursting. Plastic pipes feature a longer life cycle when compared to metal lines.
In addition to its inability to corrode and long-lasting capability, plastic tubing also is fairly cheaper than the standard metal pipes.
Especially in recent years metal, primarily galvanized steel or copper pipe prices have skyrocketed.
Plastic piping is typically constructed with low-cost, light-weight material in a factory setting. Not to mention, it’s also fairly easy to transport, thus making them cheaper to manufacture.
When it comes to the installation of plastic tubing, PVC pipes don’t need insulation which makes them far less likely to lose heat or experience unwanted heat intrusion. In addition, they’re more resistant to sweltering summer temperatures or the brutal cold of the winter. This means that they don’t need condensation as well.
Easy to Install
Since you don’t have to worry about insulation, plastic water lines are ultra-easy to install. Typically, a plumber will need a CPVC primer or some form of plumbing cement to glue the pipes together. And in just a few minutes, your pipes are ready to go. Similar to repairing a plastic pipe, you may need to cut out the damaged section of the pip and replace it using a few couplers, which takes no time.
3 Dangerous Types of Pipes in Old Houses
If your house was built right before the mid-1990s, your plumbing pipes can be composed of old piping materials that are dangerous to your drinking water. Some of the worst types of piping, such as galvanized steel, polybutylene, and lead, are still in the old houses today. If that’s the case, you will need to get them replaced right away.
Lead pipes have been found to be extremely poisonous over the years. For starters, lead is a toxic material to ingest. Lead pipes can break down and corrode over time, getting into you and your loved ones’ drinking water. If you have lead pipes, you may be able to detect metal in your water system.
The most common detriment of this type of piping? Lead poisoning among children. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when exposed to lead (any amount in drinking water) children can suffer damage to their brains and central nervous systems. This can produce problems in learning development, behaviors, speech, and hearing. To determine if you have lead pipes, it’s best to contact an HVAC professional to diagnose the issue right away.
Primarily installed in over 10 million homes in the 1975 to 1996 area, many households have polybutylene plumbing pipes. Polybutylene pipes are proven to be flawed and have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in water damage. This is because the interaction of municipal water irritates polyethylene pipes which makes them leak-prone and brittle. This, in turn, results in numerous leaks, widespread pipe failure, and has even led to class-action lawsuits. Replacing the polybutylene pipes in your house with plastic water pipes will prevent a dangerous water leak and flood.
Galvanized Steel Pipes
Homes established before 1960 will most likely have galvanized piping. This form of piping is constructed of steel coated with zinc to keep it from rusting. However, as the zinc coating erodes, this makes the interior walls of the galvanized piping even worse. Galvanized steel pipes over time will rust, corrode, and develop calcium deposits.
Water Line Repair & Installation Services
We offer reliable water leak repair and water line installation services such as Brick, Middletown, Howell, Tom’s River, Princeton, and Trenton. When you want a New Jersey water plumber that is dedicated to your well-being, give our staff a call at (732) 201-3305 to schedule an appointment. In addition, our team of licensed technicians offers other types of plumbing services for clogged sewer lines, broken water heaters, damaged gas lines, and clogged drains. Our emergency plumbing services include intuitive pricing to ensure satisfaction. In addition, our certified plumbers will always arrive at your home at the scheduled time.