There are variety of pipes around the globe currently, but not all are designed to cater properly for hot water supply. In a home or in an industry, the need of hot water supply comes to surface one way or the other.
To cater for such need, there has to be a careful selection of pipes, because as stated earlier; not all kind of pipes can play the role of accommodating fluids of high temperature on both cold and hot extremes so;
With thorough researches and observations, PEX stands to be the best choice for hot water systems within your domestic environment; its ability to preserve energy and resist detrimental effects from hot water and its added benefits of being cheap and easy to install makes it a strong candidate when considering pipes to use for your hot water supply.
There is also the popular conception that pex tubings are safer with regards to health.
PVC pipes are more effective when utilized for mundane and temperate waters, when subjected to excessive heat; PVC pipes tend to warp or have molecular distortion. The ASTM standard recommends PVC to be utilized in applications not exceeding 140 degree Fahrenheit (60 degree Celsius). However, with continual exposure to excessive liquefied heat, the PVC material will gradually soften and its joints will weaken when it is subjected to temperatures over the prescribed standard.
Now you know, for your hot water supply, the PVC pipe is absolutely, not the best choice especially when considering the material and the exaggeration on its negative effect to health and all that stuff.
However, if you are still interested or bent on keeping or using a PVC pipe for your hot water system, there is small hack; purchase PVC pipes of 5mm to 6mm thickness in external diameter (it can be of PVC or other materials) and utilize threaded fittings , teflon tape and adhesive together. This is should be sufficient even when using a hot water system as the thickness of the PVC will most likely nullify effect of the excessive heat and the threaded fittings with hold the joints better rather than using adhesives alone. If maintained properly..it could last your hot water system a fairly long time; extensively, you might need a well regulating water heater.
According to standard measures, in residential or commercial settings, the hot water system strictly depends on the quantity/volume of hot water required. Pipes to be used for hot water supply should be able to satisfy three specific points or factors, which are;
- No electrolytic corrosion
- Suitable for intended water pressure and flow rate
- Suitable for water temperature it will be subjected to.
In summary of that, one should put in mind that hot water pipes must be appropriate and sustainable for the temperature and pressure of water to be piped through it. The following are the types of pipes ideal for hot water supply
- Copper pipes
- CPVC pipes
- Polybutylene (PB) pipes
- Random Polypropylene (PP-R) pipes
- Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) pipes.
Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes;
PEX pipes are predominantly one of the best pipes used in this modern world. It shouldn’t be a big surprise if it’s said to be designed for multi-purpose use. The PEX pipes can satisfy not just the cold water-supply perfectly but also the hot-water supply. PEX is a form of polyethylene with cross-links which is predominantly used in building services pipework system, hydronic radiant heating and chilling systems, domestic water piping and insulation for high tension electrical cables. PEX is an altercation to PVC (polyvinyl chloride), CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) and copper tubing for use as a residential water pipe.
NB: It’s advisable the very first meter of length for a hot water supply should be a copper pipe regardless of the pipe material chosen.
Coppers pipes are mostly used for hot, cold water supply and for refrigerant lines in HVAC (heating, cooling and air condition) systems. Copper pipes can be applied for both underground and above ground plumbing, but can be affected by certain types of soil. If used underground, it is advisable the copper pipe be steered.
Copper pipes come in different types and thickness, which are known as Type M, L and K. Type M being the thinnest grade of copper.
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is a homo-polymer PVC which has been subjected to a chlorination reaction. Its application is commonly specified for use ranging from chemical Processing plants and mineral processing plants to residential houses.
This type of pipe unlike the PVC can be used for both cold water-supply and hot water-supply and it resistant properties make it useful for commercial and industrial application as well. CPVC is recommended by the ASTM standards with a maximum temperature exceeding 140° F, but stays under the CPVC’s maximum rating of 200° F. CPVC has a great insulation which helps it in experiencing less condensation formation and better maintains temperature for both hot and cold applications.
Polybutylene (PB) pipes;
PB pipes are made out of a type of plastic of polyolefin or saturated polymer with the chemical formula (however it should not be confused with polybutene). In the late 90’s the PB pipes were the standard type of plumbing pipes put into many homes. Owning to its specific properties PB pipes are mainly used in pressure piping, water heaters, compounding and hot melt adhesive. These pipes have a good resistance to hydro-static pressure showing a very low creep even when subjected to an elevated temperature. Plumbing and heating systems made from PB pipes has been of use in the western world for more than 30 years.
Random Polypropylene (PP-R) pipes;
PP-R pipes are made up of Polypropylene Random co-polymers which are designed for the distribution of cold and hot water supply. PP-R can also be used for heating pipes in residential and commercial buildings, HVAC and compressed insulation. Due to researches, the PPR pipes are the most recent addition to the market claiming to have a long life time of about 50 years and above even in cold and high temperature and also stress pressure situation.
PPR pipes are good heat resistor, even when subjected to the rules of a long term continuous work pressure; water temperature can still reach 95 degrees Celsius (95°C).
ADVANTAGES OF CPVC OVER PP-R PIPES
Solvent cements are used on CPVC piping fittings Joint which can be done and completed In-situ by plumbers or anyone with a basic idea of plumbing with common inexpensive tools. While PP-R pipe fitting is narrowed down to the use of specialized welding equipment and heat which yield a high risk of electrocution and a compromised working environment. The welding processes can’t be done by a common plumber, highly skilled laborers needs to be all hand on deck to ensure a proper alignment of the piping joints.
When water is been mentioned, chlorine is the next sought out thing. why? because water needs to be treated to ensure safety usage. The treatment processes is by chlorination with the use of chlorine and chlorine oxides, which is a corrosive chemical that can eat up the interior of pipes.
CPVC has a higher advantage since it’s a chlorinated material which enables it to withstand and withhold chlorine exposure over a long period of time. PP-R on the other hand doesn’t resist chlorine well enough, which implies there’s a high tendency the trace amount of chlorine flowing into it will eat up the walls of the pipe. The phenomenon can make the PP-R pipe loses its tensile strength or rather lead to pipe system failure with time.
CPVC pipes had been in existence for over 50 years with many of its initial installations still up and running with no traceable problems. PP-R which is known to be a recent addition to the market, it claims to have an expected life Span of about 50 years with no traceable Installations dating back far enough to back-up the claim.
ADVANTAGES OF PEX OVER PB PIPES
Due to the number of advantages such as flexibility and corrosion resistance. Plastic pipes have widely replaced copper when it comes to the piping system of household. Notwithstanding, all plastic pipes still varies from one another due to their characteristics.
Taking the two plastic pipes into consideration, which are polybutylene (PB) pipes and polyethylene (PEX) pipes. The very first advantage is;
- PEX has over PB pipe is a greater tolerance to high pressures and temperatures. Taking the tolerance to high temperature has a consideration; PEX is a far better take than PB because water temperature can vary in hot water systems.
- Water channeled to our homes contains a traceable amount of chlorine which is used for its purification across the globe. The issue of corrosion caused by the usage of chlorine is always a thing to worry about. When a PB pipe is subjected to chlorine for a prolonged period of time, the bonds that makes it up breaks gradually making the pipe turn weak and brittle which will eventually break due to pressure with time. PEX pipes have a greater resistance to corrosion which makes it lasts much longer even when subjected to a high concentration of chlorine.
PB pipes are no longer acceptable in some parts of the world due to its inherent weaknesses. PEX pipes are still acceptable worldwide for both homes and other building usages.
ADVANTAGES OF PEX OVER OTHER PIPES
- PEX tubes do not require soldering or the use of adhesives for fittings, this eliminates the risk of health hazards involving complex chemicals and lead based solders.
- PEX tubing conserves energy better when compared to copper, it doesn’t transfer heat as readily as copper.
- PEX pipes have greater tolerance to pressure and temperatures
- Highly resistant to leakages from pinholes or breakages due to its flexibility and ductility
- Lower cost of installation including lesser use of pipe fittings due to flexibility
- It can be spliced with other types of pipe material
Check this video for further information on pex tubing