It’s so easy to ignore the plumbing in your home because the pipes are largely hidden from view, and most of the time it works exactly as it was intended. However, the type of pipes your home has may make an impact on how you maintain and use your home.
- Galvanized steel — You may find galvanized pipes in older homes. With an average lifetime of 50 years, it’s no longer used in new construction or as replacements.
- Polybutylene pipes — These were used in new construction during the late 1970s and 1980s and eventually a lawsuit forced the manufacturer to recall it and halt its use. It had a high failure rate, causing serious flooding in attics, walls, and basements. If you suspect you have polybutylene pipes, it’s a good idea to be proactive and have a plumber inspect your home and recommend a retrofit.
- Copper — Copper is still the pipe of choice for new home construction because it’s durable and dependable. It’s safe, resistant to corrosion, and flexible.
- PEX — PEX piping has so many advantages when installing new plumbing. It’s as durable as copper, more flexible, and about a third the cost. There’s no need for special tools to connect the pipes together, since they snap together with the fittings to create water-tight joints.
- PVC — Polyvinyl chloride pipes have been used for supply lines in the past, but some jurisdictions won’t allow them because of leaching problems with hot water lines.
- Cast iron — Many older homes use cast iron sewer lines that last for decades, but over time, tree roots can damage them, or they simply rust from the inside out. Plumbers can install plastic liners in aging iron pipes to solve drainage problems.
- PVC — Today’s homes use PVC almost entirely for drain and sewer lines. It’s impervious to many chemicals, unaffected by soil moisture, and cannot rust.
Knowing the materials that comprise your plumbing system is an important aspect of homeownership. If you’d like to learn more, contact Roth Heating and Cooling, providing HVAC and plumbing services for Portland-area homeowners.