Homeowners looking to undertake a renovation project on their plumbing system have a choice to make: metal or plastic pipes.
Although it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves, your home plumbing system performs an important job. Your home pipes work hard to deliver water wherever you need it throughout your house.
Whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry, a plumbing disaster can cause a tremendous amount of stress, or worse yet, an expensive repair job. To avoid inopportune failure, regular plumbing maintenance is critical.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your home plumbing assessed or are looking to update your pipes, let the leading plastic products manufacturing company in the UAE show you why you should switch to plastic pipes.
Advantages of plastic pipes
Due to its durability and reliability, copper became a longtime standard in residential plumbing. However, plastic plumbing pipes, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), have steadily become the first choice for many homeowners.
Homeowners prefer plastic piping over copper due to several reasons:
1. Resistance to corrosion
Metal pipes like cast iron and copper are inherently prone to rust and pitting.
As water travels through the lines, oxidants in the water can cause a chemical reaction within the metal, slowly dissolving the pipe’s passivation layer (mineral crust), exposing the metal and causing it to leach into the water.
Plastic pipes, on the other hand, do not corrode, even as the pipeline ages.
Plastics like PVC offer excellent resistance to the oxidants found in municipal water. Plastic pipe material is also resistant to many acids, alkalis, and other harmful chemicals that may infiltrate a city’s water supply.
2. Smoother internal surface
The smooth surface of plastic pipes means your home is always guaranteed to have optimized water pressure. Even as the plastic pipe reaches the end of its service life, the tube’s internal diameter will never experience adherences and incrustations that metal pipes are susceptible to.
By installing plastic pipes, you ensure your home will always experience a consistent water flow rate.
3. Cost Efficiency
When it comes to cost, plastic pipes have a considerable advantage over metal.
As plastic is lighter than metal, the total cost of ownership of plastic pipes is far lower than metal. What’s more, the flexural nature of plastic translates to lower costs of shipping and handling, thereby decreasing the investment requirements of plastic pipes.
4. Better Durability
With plastic pipes resistant to most chemical effects, a residential install’s average service life is expected to exceed 100 years. And with no degradation of pipe material over time, this extended service life easily outperforms metal, which is more susceptible to chemical reactions.
5. Easier Installation
Since plastic is not as rigid as metal, this elastic property means it can easily be configured to custom specifications. Metal pipes require additional joints or fittings to curve around corners and obstructions, making them challenging to work with during tricky retrofits.
And as plastic pipes can be installed with minimal seams, they are less vulnerable to leakages. Smaller risk of leakages means minimal maintenance and no disruptions in the water flow rate.
Understanding Your Plastic Pipework Options
While plastic piping material outperforms its metal counterparts in many aspects, there are some areas of your home where these types of pipes are at a disadvantage.
From pressurized water mains to drain lines, below highlights the ideal applications for plastic pipework.
Retrofitting your water lines
Much has been said about PVC and its good track record. Despite its low cost and benefits, PVC pipes have a low softening temperature and are vulnerable to thermal expansion. As such, extended exposure to hot water or UV light can cause pipe deformation and warping.
Any degradation of the piping material can lead to an increased risk of leakage. Of course, not every plastic piping material is vulnerable to thermal deformation.
Cross-link polyethylene (PEX) and post chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipes can operate at higher temperatures than PVC. This makes PEX and CPVC pipes better suited to serve as your hot water supply lines at home rather than PVC.
If your home experiences four-season weather and the temperature can drop below freezing, CPVC piping material should be used cautiously. Although CPVC pipes have outstanding thermal properties, freezing temperatures can cause them to crack.
In such instances, PEX should be considered.
Its high-density polyethylene material means PEX can withstand freezing water much better than CPVC or PVC could. PEX also boasts high elasticity properties. PEX piping requires fewer fittings than metal, making PEX plumbing installation easy.
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) pipes are another type of plastic piping material with a wide temperature resistance range. But while PVDF pipes are a better choice than other plastics, they are expensive to produce.
This higher cost can put off many homeowners looking to do an inexpensive retrofit.
Updating your drain pipes
Homeowners looking to update their sewage or drain lines can also look to plastic pipework to rehabilitate their residential drainage system.
PVC and its closely related cousin CPVC have been the de facto choice for plastic residential drain lines. The materials’ low cost makes them ideal for budget installs. The durability of PVC and CPVC means that maintenance on this piping material is minimal.
Polypropylene random copolymer (PPR) is another drain pipe material proven to have a significantly longer service life. Not only does PPR have a long service track record, but it also has excellent flow characteristics, thanks to its smooth internal surface.
Like PVDF pipes, though, PPR has a high initial cost.
The installation process of PPR is also complex, requiring specialized heat fusion welding and other technical tools. This renders PPR unsuitable for homeowners not willing to spend the extra cost for skilled labor.
For many homeowners, their home plumbing system is typically seen as an afterthought.
Piping and its cost only become a problem once water sanitation issues arise. Before trouble appears, homeowners should take the time to familiarize themselves with their home pipework.
If you have an older home, chances are, your pipes might be due for maintenance or a retrofit.
Knowing the type of piping your home has ensures you can make a well-informed decision about which type of plastic piping your home needs for better plumbing.