Your plumbing system must always prioritize water quality and safety; however, its journey from source to cup requires special consideration as its success largely relies on the type of pipes being utilized in our systems.
To seek professional help and advice for what pipe suits your home, you can get in touch with Full Speed Plumbing to learn about their plumbing services.
Given all of the options available today, ranging from copper to PVC pipes, choosing an optimal drinking water pipe may seem a daunting task. This post attempts to answer this crucial question by exploring each type of pipe’s effects on the quality and safety of drinking water, helping you make an informed decision for your home.
Metal vs. Plastic – Types of Pipes for Drinking Water
Let’s examine some of the more frequently utilized drinking water pipes, along with their pros and cons.
Copper pipes, an iconic choice, are known for their long lifespan and corrosion resistance – meaning they’re less likely to leak and can withstand higher temperatures than alternatives. Unfortunately, professional installation costs more and requires additional support services at higher price points.
- Long lifespan
- Lesser leakage
- Require professional installation
Stainless Steel Pipes
Stainless steel pipes are highly long-term corrosion-proof systems designed to withstand extreme temperatures without cracking under pressure.
Filters explicitly designed to remove chlorinated and acidic contaminants are more costly; as a general guideline, they should only be considered necessary if there are high concentrations present in your water source.
- Highly durable
- High-temperature resistant
- Minimal corrosion
- Not cost-effective for standard water conditions
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes offer an economical and user-friendly option that’s quick and simple to install without corrosion issues or leakage risks. They are ideal for cold water environments as they don’t tolerate higher temperatures well; their primary concern lies with the possible leaching of plastic chemicals into water supplies.
- Easy to install
- Not suitable for hot water
- Potential chemical leaching
Cross-linked polyethylene, commonly referred to as PEX, has rapidly become one of the top choices for drinking water pipes due to its versatility and ease of installation, offering fast setup times at reduced labor costs.
PEX pipes boast incredible temperature resistance in extremely high and low-temperature ranges and have quickly become popular outdoor installations despite any UV radiation damage from sunlight. Unfortunately, similar to PVC, there may also be chemical leaching concerns with PEX.
- Easy and quick installation
- Durable and temperature-resistant
- Low installation costs
- Not suitable for outdoor use due to UV susceptibility
- Potential chemical leaching
High-density polyethylene plastic, commonly referred to by its acronym HDPE, has become widely recognized for its strength, durability, and adaptability – qualities that make HDPE pipes highly sought-after as drinking water pipes due to both cost-effectiveness and performance advantages.
Before selecting HDPE as their material of choice, individuals should carefully assess its advantages and disadvantages.
- Durability and lifespan
- Corrosion and chemical resistant
- HDPE pipes can be flexed without breaking
- Cost-effective: cheaper than metal pipes
- Warp damage: extremely hot water can cause warping
- Prone to UV damage
- Potential for leaching
What is the Best Pipe for Drinking water — Conclusion
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to finding the ideal pipe for drinking water, as each situation varies, and the decisions will ultimately depend on factors like:
- Quality of water supply
- Price point consideration
- Hot or cold water applications and their indoor or outdoor installation
Copper and stainless steel pipes offer durability and resistance to extreme temperatures at an expensive cost. In contrast, PVC and PEX pipes tend to be more budget-friendly and easy to install. However, their chemical leaching risk and incompatibility for hot water or outdoor usage could prove disadvantageous.
HDPE pipes strike an effective balance between longevity, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion; as well as potential susceptibility to UV damage or chemical leaching risks. Deciding upon an HDPE option for drinking water use involves considering these pros and cons against your individual circumstances and needs.