Whether you’re buying a new or resale home, learning that it has copper pipes is a definite plus. Since the 1900s, copper is the only material that has shown itself to be safe and durable for the fresh water supply lines. These are the same reasons the city of Flint choose to replace its lead and galvanized water pipes with copper.
Other materials, like PEX, PVC, polybutylene, and galvanized steel have been used, but not as successfully as copper.
- PEX is a new kind of synthetic pipe available and while all mandated tests indicate it’s safe for drinking water use, some watchdog organizations have found otherwise.
- PVC pipes swell in the presence of hot water and the fittings may not keep their seal.
- Polybutylene, used in the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, could not handle water pressure over time and was prone to breakage and flooding. This type of plumbing no longer meets any plumbing code.
- Galvanized steel, used in the 1960s, lasts about 40 years, after which the pipes start to rust and consequently, leak.
Advantages of Copper
- Copper pipes are strong but flexible enough to accommodate a bend. The fittings seldom, if ever, leak.
- Copper has antimicrobial properties, which helps curtail water-borne diseases like Legionnaire’s Disease.
- Copper pipes are easy to recycle.
- Copper is an impermeable material that won’t absorb any surrounding pollutants, and the pipes walls will not thin.
The primary disadvantage to copper pipes is their cost. But as a home buyer, it’s worth any extra cost built into the selling price. The most common kinds of problems with supply line plumbing are leaks and burst pipes.
Both can cause extensive damage to your home’s structure that costs a good deal to repair or replace. Unchecked water leaks also promote mold growth and attract insects and vermin, all of which can have significant impacts on your family’s health.
A home with copper pipes has definite advantages over another that doesn’t. If you’d like more information about what to look for in plumbing and HVAC systems, contact Beyer Boys, providing trusted services to San Antonio homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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