Water Supply Lines
Over the years different piping and fitting materials have been used to make water supply lines. Find out what piping materials make plumbing water supply lines for efficient and hazard free water delivery.
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Copper is the most common material for water supply lines delivering water from the main water supply to residential toilets and sinks. Copper piping must not be kinked as this will reduce water flow. Copper is rust resistant and highly reliable for hot and cold water delivery.
|Nature of Problem||Possible Solution|
|Acidic water (typically supplied by wells) degrades copper causing the formation of green stains on the walls of the pipe through which water can escape.||Neutralizing acidic water.|
|Water hammer. A banging noise created when the momentum of water flow is suddenly stopped (For more information see Noisy Pipes).||Air cushions are inserted inside the piping to absorb the momentum of the water. Modern water supply lines are already installed with air absorbers that eliminate the hammering sound.|
|Exposed copper pipes running through outer walls of buildings can freeze and burst (See Frozen Pipes).||Insulation of exposed water supply lines.|
PB pipes are made from a flexible plastic held with either epoxy joints or inserted fittings and metal crimp rings. Barbed brass or copper insert fittings have been in wide use since 1986 for their increased reliability over epoxy joints that deteriorate with long exposure to chlorine in the water. Most municipals forbid the use of PB pipes for residential clean water supply lines.
PEX is a cross linked polybutylene introduced in America in the 1980s from which point it become a popular low cost alternative to traditional plumbing materials. Apart from being resistant to chemicals found in the plumbing system, PEX flexibility and strength at extreme temperatures make it a perfect material for hot and cold water supply pipes and service lines. Its flexibility makes PEX an easy material to install and service. PEX is also freeze-break resistant.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC pipes are used for household drainpipes and vents. PVC is reliable, durable and can provide many years of problem-free service.
Lead water supply lines are hardly used in new construction for the risk of lead related health problems. Lead service pipes can still be found in 100 year old inner city neighborhoods. Plumbers highly recommend replacing lead water pipes with safer materials, or at very least testing the home on a regular basis for lead exposure.
Galvanized steel water supply lines have been used until the 1950s from which point copper took over. Minerals in the water react with galvanized steel to cause scale accumulation inside the pipe. Overtime scale buildup restricts the diameter of the pipe resulting in poor water pressure.
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