There’s a common fuss amongst the people, we love to follow trends rather than create our own. It’s not a foul deed but the same psychology is applied by any plumber you hire these days. For any form of remodeling or fixing, plastic (PVC) pipes emerge as their first choice. Not to imply that it’s not good enough of a material, but we try our best constantly to outsmart the current cycle and be better by being innovative. The outright question of “what pipes are best and cheapest for domestic use / plumbing within the home” arrived recently, our heads were put together and researches were made, to ensure you get the best of opinions combining what we know and what believed to be the best.
PEX pipes, being the latest form of piping (after thorough research), is the best form of pipes for domestic plumbing. They typically are designed for residential use; they cut easily and fewer fittings are required for installation. They are really quite flexible, which when combined with other factors eases the installation process; it has reduced operational noise, a sizable price tag and very good resistance to high temperature. With regards to the quality of services mentioned, it is quite cheap.
As easy as it is, installing PEX tubing requires skilled hands and settled minds, You could be skilled enough but you should try out some FREE audio books and novels to sooth your mind while you work, on amazon audible, its free for about 30 days. You can cancel anytime.
However, although our opinion is believed to be valid, we encourage that further research from your side should be done to know which one is best for you and for your unique scenario. To reduce the stress of further research by you, we compiled other articles so if you’re trying to find out the best pipes for domestic outdoor plumbing ,specific topics like best pipes for underground plumbing, best pipes for sewage/ wastewater, best pipes for hot water , we made further researches on those which should be very helpful.
CRITERIA YOU MIGHT CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST/CHEAPEST PIPES FOR YOUR DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT
- Complex design/ possible future adjustments
- Cost of purchase
- Safety to health
- Cost of installation
- Exposure to climate/temperature
- Exposure to soil
Longevity; Longevity by its primary definition is the time required for particular pipe to elapse its time-limit, time limits vary according to what pipe is considered but with this current criterion, COPPER has proven to be the best in this regard. In terms of how long they do last, some may regard to copper as the premium type of domestic pipe as they can supposedly last from 60 years-80 years and as a bonus, they are recyclable even at very old stages of its life span.
Complex design / possible future adjustments; There are certain individuals, ourselves included, that always plan to construct in such a way that it can be adjusted, restructured, or easily repairable provided a fault may develop in the future or maybe you just need to change some things for particular reasons. You would need a pipe type that supports this policy because most pipes are not easily adjusted and can be very tricky. PEX pipes are best for such feat, it is easily adjustable and requires far less critical thinking to fix and restructure.
Cost of purchase; The price tag on how much you would be getting a specific commodity, in this case, “pipes” should be equal to the quality of service you get in return. Alternatives do exist, and they perform all functions you want, but probably not up to the ones with high costs. PVC plastic pipes have proven to be the cheapest, although they do vary as some PVC pipes can be expensive. In general, they stake the claim of being the cheapest of all, as per reasons?, you could say it’s due to the vast availability of plastic. COPPER on the other hand, is the most expensive mostly as a result of its material quality, durability and recyclable value.
Safety to health; The effect of your installed pipe to its running water is one of the main reasons why a selected range of materials are allowed for domestic use when speaking with regards to plumbing. The pipe type/material can either be safe with little or no contamination to contained water or it can be detrimental by leaching unhealthy particles into the water. The best type of pipe with regards to its safety is PP (Polypropylene Pipe), with PVC and PEX pipes coming in as close favorites. PP is a rigid plastic pipe, with no chemical fusion for bonding and has a renowned reputation of being suitable to portable water
Cost of installation; Another criterion to consider when selecting a type of pipe for installation is the cost of the installation itself. Many people from the days of our fathers prefer to fix and install whatever they can with their hands provided they can “especially non-specialists”. A pipe type that easily accords to this kind of mindset, if you would rather install them yourself than hire professionals, is the CPVC pipe (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride). They almost do not require any special tool or skill and are the easiest to install provided that a hacksaw, adhesive and the manufacturing company’s fittings are available.
Exposure to climate / temperature; Whether your pipe will be exposed to harsh climates or temperature would assist in selecting the best kind of pipe for domestic use. A very hot or cold climate/ temperature causes lot of materials to shift and reform; in some cases, they expand or shrink. A pipe type that best resists such factor is the COPPER pipe, but as a result of its price, PEX pipes performs near equal and can also resist high temperature above the rest. It comes at a cheaper rate too.
Exposure to soil; Depending on the prescribed design, pipe lines tend to follow areas that best assist the flow rate and avoids damage by external forces. Sometimes, those areas can be beneath the soil, if by chance your plumbing plan happens to involve going through the soil, the effect of the specific soil should be considered as constant exposure to soil moisture and other nutrients may affect pipe negatively. The best pipes for this are ones within the PLASTIC family, the lack of metallic properties would prevent the risk of corrosion by soil and water; it will also prevent the risk of water contamination when a chemical imbalance occurs between pipe and soil.
NOT INTERESTED IN THE GETTING THE CHEAPEST?! HERE IS A GENERAL LIST OF PIPE TYPES FOR HOME / DOMESTIC INSTALLATION WITH THEIR PROS AND CONS
As mentioned at the beginning of the page, a combined list of the most ideal pipe types suitable for a home or for domestic use will be listed below, A simple study on the pros and cons for each would follow right after. This list of pipes however includes;
- CPVC pipes
- PVC pipes
- PEX pipes
- COPPER pipes
- PP pipes
Additional pipes that can be utilized as a result of personal preference or for a unique reason includes;
- GALVANIZED pipes
- BRASS pipes
- STAINLESS STEEL pipes
- CAST IRON pipes
CPVC pipes; As technical as the name may seem, CPVC pipes fully known as “Chlorinated PolyVinyl Chloride” is just another form of modified plastic pipes (can be also known as a thermo plastic). It is produced by means of chlorination of the PVC pipes, which as a result will allow it to be more flexible and more resistant to high temperature. The presence of extra chlorine also makes it better for portable water.
- They can be used for both cold and hot water supply
- Easily fixable and can be done with no peculiar skill or tool.
- Durable provided it is properly kept ( can last from 50 to 70 years)
- Corrosion resistant
- Ideal for portable water.
- Fairly strong resistance to fire and harsh chemicals.
- It possesses the same external diameter/ sizing of copper and PEX pipes, therefore similar push-fit fittings can be utilized.
- Although, it is easy to fix, it requires more bracing to install firmly.
- It costs twice as much as PVC pipes, making them fairly expensive
- Excessive exposure to extreme heat or cold affects pipe negatively, allowing it to either expand due to heat or break as a result of excess cold.
- Cannot be recycled when old
- May be a little flexible but it still is brittle which will allow easy damage from high impact.
PVC pipes; PVC pipes until recently, has been the most preferred form of plumbing since the 70s,they are easy to use, cheap and can last for substantial period of time. It’s a strong favorite to most plumbers because it’s a kind that can be easily put together using primers and cement. The gluing is mostly done at the joints. They are very versatile and they come in various sizes and fittings.
- Inexpensive ; cost of purchase can be relatively low
- Easy to use and install as it requires no welding or metal work
- Durable although they don’t last as long as most other forms of piping
- Resistant to corrosion
- Can withstand high water pressure
- It is fairly flexible and malleable
- Brittle, which can result to damage when subject to high impact
- Prone to leakages because used glues can be poorly applied or might tend to wear off over time
- PVC pipes possess chemical compounds such as organotin and vinyl chloride which may cause cancer.
- The glues used to combine pipes also contain strong solvents that can be harmful to consumers.
- Cannot handle high temperature, if exposed, pipes may more than likely distort in shape by heat or break by cold.
PEX pipes; PEX pipes is the latest by-product of innovativeness for pipes in the world of plumbing. They are to be best applied mostly in new homes and for interior remodeling. It adds a beneficial bonus of being able to be fixed within areas with low ventilation or tight parts of the home.
- High resistance to hot and cold water.(Can be used directly with hydronic heating systems)
- High flexibility which reduces the use of fittings.
- Is fairly affordable for the quality of service it offers.
- They can be spliced or combined which existing pipes of other materials such as copper, CPVC; it makes it a good pick for retrofit.
- It tends to fit into areas where other pipes cannot, mostly areas with poor ventilation which is very dangerous for glue.
- Easy to install
- Reduces operational noise
- It is durable provided its used and maintained properly.
- PEX pipings contain a chemicals that reduces it’s tendency of damage. The presence of this chemical however, combined with the thickness of PEX pipe material reduces the water flow down to about 5 to 6%. Trying to excessively increase speed may gradually cause internal damage to pipe reducing its life span.
- Overly increased water pressure causes it to pop indefinitely, that is when using them in large organizations; in other words, they are not meant for commercial environments. You can only use them in smaller size branch piping, pipings going beyond one inch are not ideal for PEX to be used.
- Failure from PEX piping is sudden; it gives little to no warning signs before it fails.
- Currently there are no known ways to recycle PEX provided time limit is exceeded.
- It is not ideal for outdoor purposes as it tends to deteriorate with direct contact to sunlight
- Easily recyclable and has high monetary value even when it gets old and past its time-limit.
- Handles heat and water pressure well.
- Resistant to corrosion and can be managed easily.
- They come in variations of thickness that are optimum to interior cold and hot water supply with inclusions of underground service lines
- They are highly durable
- It doesn’t degrade with water and resists the growth of bacteria making it safe for portable water( in other words,they have antimicrobial particles)
- Not prone to leakages; fittings and joints stay tight and sealed.
- It is very expensive
- It requires a level of skill, knowledge and specialized tools to install, in other words, get a plumber or you might run risk of having leaks.
- Costs of installations are relatively high.
- Application of fittings and valves draw extra costs, it is aesthetically excellent when done well but it is tedious to achieve.
- Copper pipes tend to be heavy; not particularly as smaller pipes, but the bigger the pipe, the heavier it is.
- Its exposed to corrosion if contained water becomes too acidic
- Copper pipes tend to break when exposed to extreme cold, if the ones used are light in thickness.
PP pipes; Polypropylene pipes are pipe types that are mostly used in the UK rather than the west. It is quite similar to CPVC as they are both rigid forms of plastic pipes and require no chemicals to join them. A fusion by heat is used to combine this type of pipe making it safe with regards to health and durability.
- It is relatively not as expensive.
- Possesses high impermeability and chemical resistance.
- It has a semi-crystalline structure, leading to its substantial flexural strength; meaning it is very flexible and can be bent or molded excessively without breakage.
- It is easily repaired when subject to damage.
- It is ideal for portable water.
- It can be remolded and shaped to personal preference.
- It doesn’t reacted well with excess heat, pipe tends to expand or melt.
- It has high flammability and is difficult to paint.
- It degrades with exposure to ultra violet rays from sun.
- Comparatively has a low duration/life span
- Degradation from sun further leads to oxidation, further causing the forming of cracks within plastic.