How to Choose the Right Plumbing Pipe

How to Choose the Right Plumbing Pipe

Do you worry about having the wrong plumbing pipe installed in your home? With this guide, you’ll learn how to pick the perfect pipe for any job – and save yourself from potential plumbing disasters. Discover the tips you need to make an informed decision:

Consider the Purpose of the Pipe

Pipes carry water, and sometimes other liquids, from one part of a building to another. When replacing an old pipe, it is important to consider each length’s purpose and determine which type of pipe is best suited for each job. Flexibility within the piping system also needs to be taken into account in order to prevent future complications and potential repairs.

Various types of pipes are available depending on the need:

  • Metal: Available in several kinds such as copper and steel. Metal pipes tend to last longer than other materials but can potentially rust over time, compromising the integrity of the whole system.
  • Vinyl: Easy to install, although it can’t handle extreme hot or cold temperatures as well as metal pipes can. But it’s a reliable choice at a good price point.
  • ABS Plastic: Plastic pipes offer more flexibility than metal and vinyl but they can become brittle over time when exposed to ultraviolet light or oxidizing agents like chlorine bleach or chlorinated water.
  • PEX Piping: Made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), PEX offers superior strength compared to metal or vinyl pipes but can be more expensive due to its additional advantages such as heat resistance, antibacterial properties, low friction surfaces for reduced clogging, quick installation times etc.

It’s also worth considering additional features such as corrosion/erosion resistance, freezing protection, fire safety ratings and longevity when choosing plumbing piping for your application.

Take Note of the Water Pressure

Water pressure is an important factor to consider when choosing a plumbing pipe. The water pressure determines the size, material, and grade of the pipe you will need. It’s important to understand that each type of pipe has a specific purpose and level of water pressure it can handle. Some pipes are not suitable for high water pressure applications, while others are designed to withstand up to 1,000 PSI.

The following pipes are great for high-pressure applications:

  • PEX pipes can handle up to 200 PSI without cracking or leaking.
  • CPVC pipes have been proven to hold up against higher pressures than PEX due to its own strength in construction as well as its superior flexibility when compared with other materials used in plumbing systems.
  • ABS plastic is also suitable for high-pressure applications due to its excellent resistance against temperature extremes and corrosion and is often used in underground piping applications where temperatures can get exceptionally low or hot.
  • PVC is another option that can be used in moderate pressure applications but is not recommended for use in high-pressure systems due to its susceptibility to cracking at higher pressures.

Consider the Material of the Pipe

When it comes to selecting the right plumbing pipe for your project, you must consider the material of the pipe. This will depend on several factors such as the pressure and temperature of the water that will flow through it.

The three types of materials most commonly used for plumbing pipes are copper, plastic and steel. Each material has its own unique properties that make them ideal for specific types of plumbing applications.

  • Copper pipes are typically used in heavy-duty plumbing projects due to its inherent strength. Copper pipes are also favored because they are non-corrosive and easy to install. They can also be shaped and bent as required which adds to their versatility as a plumbing material.
  • Plastic pipes have some distinct advantages over copper especially in terms of cost; they tend to be more budget friendly than copper options, though plastic does not last quite as long with proper maintenance. Plastic pipes come in various sizes so you can easily find one that is suitable for your needs.
  • Steel is another great option when it comes to plumbing pipes; steel is incredibly strong and durable which means it will last longer than either plastic or copper with minimal maintenance. Steel pipes are rust proof so they maintain their good looks despite exposure to water over long periods of time making them an excellent choice for outdoor use or underwater applications such as swimming pools or other large bodies of water.

Evaluate the Pipe’s Resistance to Corrosion

When choosing the right plumbing pipe, it is important to evaluate each option’s resistance to corrosion. This means considering both internal corrosion (corrosion from within) and external corrosion (corrosion from outside factors). Some of the most common materials used in plumbing pipes include copper, PVC, CPVC, polyethylene and PEX.

  • Copper is one of the oldest materials used in plumbing and has excellent resistance to both internal and external corrosion over time. It is a great choice for hot water lines, as it does not corrode or scale when exposed to hot water. Copper is also very durable and easy to install.
  • PVC, or polyvinyl chloride pipe, is commonly used for sewer lines because it is cost effective and has superior resistance to chemicals present in wastewater systems. In addition, it can withstand temperatures up to 140°F without becoming brittle or cracking.
  • CPVC pipe stands up better than PVC under higher temperatures because of its chlorinated core. It has good chemical resistance but may become brittle at temperatures below 50°F without proper insulation during cold weather months. CPVC requires special adhesive compounds in order to joins pieces together properly; however fittings are not required with this type of pipe as connections are made using specialized crimping tools.
  • Polyethylene pipes offer superior flexibility because they are much lighter than metal pipes while maintaining a uniform diameter across their entire length making them easy to install even if you have few installation points available across long runs such as when running water service lines underground from a street water main into a private residence.. They also have good chemical resistance despite being rigid due to their thick walls.
  • PEX or cross-linked polyethylene pipes have great flexibility and durability due to their flexible plastic nature making them ideal for tight spaces where access might be limited or challenging such as older buildings with none or limited access points into walls and ceiling locations for installation purposes.. Additionally, PEX has good thermal capabilities meaning it can take heat changes very well with minimal contraction or expansion caused by fluctuations in temperature over time.. Lastly, PEX offers superior impact resistance which makes it less prone to cracking compared with other types of plumbing materials potential giving them a longer life expectancy making them an excellent choice for commercial applications where multiple people use the same areas day after day such as office buildings gymnasiums etc..

Evaluate the Pipe’s Longevity

When selecting the right type of plumbing pipe it is best to evaluate the material’s longevity. Copper pipes will typically last more than 50 years with minimal maintenance and care, but may require replacement in parts of your home that experience hot or cold climates due to possible corrosion. Plastic pipe, such as CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) and PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) may last up to 100 years in optimal indoor climates when properly installed. Galvanized steel pipes are known for corrosion from acids present in water from time to time and should not be used for a long-term solution.

When deciding on either copper or plastic pipe for your plumbing needs, keep in mind that copper pipes are strong, durable, and will last up to 50 years with proper maintenance and cooling systems inside the home. Plastic pipes are flexible compared to copper piping, more resistant to corrosion and scale build-up, can increase flow rates due to its smooth interior wall design which helps reduce friction resulting in lower pressure losses over local runs of pipe. It is important you take into consideration what type of atmosphere you live in when determining the longevity of these piping materials before making a purchase.

Consider the Pipe’s Flexibility

Flexibility is an important factor when choosing your plumbing pipes. Flexible piping materials such as PEX, corrugated or flexible plastic tubing and various types of composite pipe can be useful in places where rigid pipe is difficult to install. Flexible plumbing pipes are suitable for commercial and residential projects but can quickly become unworkable if not installed properly.

PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) pipe has been gaining popularity among contractors for its ability to reduce installation time and cost without compromising performance. It’s easy to work with, and is also more resistant to corrosion than other types of piping materials, making it ideal for hot water systems.

Flexible plastic tubing is a great option for areas where bending rigid piping would be difficult or impossible – like tight corners, crawlspaces, or curved walls – and the flexible material can usually withstand impacts that could crack conventional pipes made out of rigid materials like ceramic or metal. It’s inexpensive but somewhat labor-intensive and not ideal for long-term use in some demanding applications, such as underground water storage tanks.

Composite pipe systems comprising thermoplastic layers bonded together offer superior flexibility while providing superior burst pressure ratings compared to other piping types. Composite pipe also supports extreme temperature fluctuations – hot water up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit – without cracking or splitting; this makes it a great choice for radiant heating systems as well as bathroom installations when coupled with appropriate fittings.

Determine the Best Size for Your Plumbing System

When it comes to plumbing pipes, size very much matters. Too small of a diameter can cause poor water flow while too large of a diameter may cause pressure loss. Proper selection of pipe size plays a fundamental role in the proper functioning of any plumbing system. Choosing the right pipe diameter will ensure that water flow is adequate and efficient.

To determine the best pipe size for your plumbing system, it’s important to consider factors such as total flow rate, fixtures being served, and length of run.

  • Total flow rate: This refers to the total volume of water supplied by the pipe over a given period of time, usually measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The total flow rate is primarily affected by how many fixtures are served and their individual GPM ratings.
  • Fixtures being served: Different fixtures require different amounts of water, which can range from 2.5 GPM for low-flow showerheads to 8 GPM for standard showerheads and up to 15 GPM for a dishwasher or washing machine. Consider all these needs when selecting your pipe size so that you don’t run out of capacity.
  • Length of run: When calculating pipe size based on length, keep in mind that longer runs require larger pipe diameters due to friction losses – the longer the run, the more friction loss you’ll encounter along its path. Generally speaking, pipes up to 40 feet should be sized using a 1/2-inch diameter while pipes longer than 40 feet should be sized using 3/4 inch or larger diameters. This can vary depending on local laws or specific circumstances dictated by water usage and velocity concerns; consulting an experienced plumber is always recommended when choosing this type of piping system for safety and accuracy reasons.

Seek Professional Advice From a Plumber

Whether you’re planning a new plumbing project for your home or office, it’s important to get professional advice from a qualified plumber before deciding what kind of plumbing pipe to use. This can help ensure that the proper pipe is chosen to serve the intended purpose, and that the installation process runs smoothly and safely. Consider these factors when seeking professional advice:

  • Durability – Different types of pipes offer different levels of strength and durability. Depending on the strength and structure of your current plumbing system, some pipes may not be suitable for certain areas or applications.
  • Water Pressure – Different water pressures will require different types of piping to ensure safe operation. Speak with a plumber about your water pressure needs in order to determine the best type of pipe for you.
  • Cost – Your budget is also something you will want to keep in mind when selecting pipes for a new project. Different materials can range in cost significantly so seeking professional advice from a qualified plumbers can help make sure you find something within your price range that meets all your needs and criteria.


It is important to choose the right plumbing pipe for any given application. When selecting the appropriate plumbing pipe for water supply systems, one should consider type, size, strength, and material. Plumbing pipes come in a variety of types including galvanized steel, brass, copper and PVC.

Each type of pipe is best suited to particular applications. Galvanized steel pipes are most commonly used for water supply systems due to their strength and durability; however they can corrode due to the presence of acidity or alkalinity. Brass and copper are good choices where corrosion resistance is required or in areas with high temperatures. PVC pipes are cost-effective but not as strong as metal pipes.

Understanding all the factors that can affect the performance of plumbing piping is essential for selecting properly installed supplies that will provide years of service with minimal maintenance required. Whatever type you choose be sure it meets all relevant standards and specifications for your specific application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of plumbing pipes available?

The most common types of plumbing pipes are PVC, copper, CPVC, PEX, and ABS. Each type of pipe has its own advantages and disadvantages.

What factors should I consider when choosing a plumbing pipe?

When choosing a plumbing pipe, you should consider factors such as the water pressure and temperature, local building codes, the cost, and the ease of installation.

Are there any tips for installing plumbing pipes?

Yes, there are several tips for installing plumbing pipes. Make sure to use the right type of pipe for the job, use appropriate sealing products and materials, use the correct tools and follow the instructions carefully.