Guide to Water Supply Pipe Materials

There are different materials used for pipes that are used for drainage and supply of drinking water. You may have seen some of the different pipes used for plumbing in older homes. Generally, in recently constructed homes, plumbers tend to stick to one material for ease of handling and cost-effectiveness.

You can find many suppliers who provide different materials for Australian water pipelines. Some of the common materials used for water pipes are PVC, CPVC, steel, copper and PEX. Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC pipes have a versatile application when it comes to plumbing. They can be used for drainpipes and main water pipes. You can find these pipes in homes, irrigation piping, pool systems and spas etc. There are markings on the pipe that will provide the specifications. There are different colours used for different applications as well. The gauge of the pipe will determine where it will be used. PVC has been used for water supplies for a long time. They are generally used for cold water piping as heat can affect the plastic overtime and cause it to break. There will be guidelines that apply to the use of PVC pipes. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride or CPVC is used for hot water supply. This comes in a cream or off-white colour for easy identification. They can be used for cold water as well. You need to check the glue used for bonding the pipes can be used on the piping material.

Galvanised steel pipes which are steel pipes dipped in zinc to obtain a consistent coating were extensively used for water supply lines for many years. But there is a higher cost involved because of the labour and time required for cutting and installing the pipe. These are generally used for commercial applications. You can still find old houses with galvanised steel pipes. If you are living in such a house, it is best to check the age of the pipes as these can last up to 50 years with good maintenance. If the piping is very old and showing signs of wear, it is best to upgrade. Copper pipes can be used for both hot water and cold water pipes. They are also used in HVAC systems. But these pipes require additional protection when used underground as they can be affected by the nature of the oil. Copper tends to thin out when it ages which can give rise to small leaks over time. But copper is very expensive and require a long time for installation.

Cross linked polyethylene or PEX is another option for water pipes. They can also be used for both hot water and cold water supply. These are generally used in homes and they are known to be more durable than copper. PEX piping can last for over 50 years and with the low cost incurred for material handling and shipping, it is a preferred option for many plumbers. PEX is more flexible and this requires a fewer quantity of fittings such as elbows. This allows for fast installation.




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