Why is Copper Used in Plumbing?

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In a nutshell, copper has many advantages over other materials. That’s why it’s so popular in plumbing. Read on to find out the reasons.

A home improvement project is meant to improve the functionality and comfort of your home. Installing copper water pipes increases the value of your home while exponentially enhancing safety and health.

What's Inside?

Copper is Used in Plumbing for These Benefits

copper pipes

Copper is a metal with some of the most impressive characteristics. It is an excellent choice for electrical wiring, flushing, plumbing, and many other functions. Even though there are several other alternative materials you can use to install your residential conduit connections, copper remains to be the best. Most general contractors prefer using copper during home improvement projects.

Health Benefits

Copper is impermeable and biostatic. That means no micro-organisms or contaminants can invade it. It inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria and bears no negative impacts on the environment.

Additionally, copper is rigid and durable. It won’t sag after long years of utility. Many homeowners and professional plumbing experts for home renovation projects have realized that most plumbing materials become brittle as they age. They begin to crack and crumble, introducing contaminants into the drain. 

Copper water tubes can withstand the consistent beat from environmental elements such as moisture and oxygen. They won’t deteriorate in quality when subjected to repeated freeze-n-thaw cycles. Nonetheless, it is not recommended that they freeze. But even if they do, you can turn on your open flame to heat them; Copper has a high conductivity.

Corrosion-Resistant 

People love using chromed copper pipes for their home improvement projects because they are rustproof and resistant to corrosion. The destructive results of corrosion and rust can only be seen in metals that contain iron, such as steel. Copper is a natural element that does not contain iron. That said, it makes an ideal material for use in plumbing since the pipes are naturally protected.

It is critical to note that copper pipes will corrode, but it provides a higher resistance to corrosion than other alternatives. Copper water pipes have a longevity of about 50 years, sometimes even more.

Non-Toxic Metal 

Have you ever noticed that one of the home fixtures that remains intact after a fire is a copper plumbing system? Copper does not burn or support combustion. Unlike other piping materials, it won’t catalyze the spread of fire. It also does not release toxic substances to the environment—This is one of the reasons copper is used in fire sprinkler systems. Copper can also maintain water pressure even when subjected to heat; hence it’s the best choice for your upcoming home renovation project.

Perfect for Heating Systems

Copper is the No. 1 choice of material in the installation of heating pipework systems. Not only is it safe but also reliable. It has a melting point of 1083 degrees. The steam or hot water running through the pipes will not alter the metal’s mechanical properties. What’s more, copper has outstanding thermal conductivity. It is the ideal material for the home renovation system that relies on heat exchange. If you replace your plastic pipes with copper pipes, you’ll notice reduced utility bills in the long run. The water in copper tubes travels shorter distances, ultimately plummeting your monthly heating costs.

Cost-Effective Piping

The cost of purchasing copper is relatively low compared to other substitutes. With copper, you can save some extra cents but, at the same time, get high-quality water pipes. You’ll also notice your plumbing home improvement project costs dropping because the need for frequent repairs will be gone.

Real estate agents attest to the fact that properties with copper piping systems sell fast and at a higher value. Research shows that a significant number of home improvement plumbing contractors prefer installing copper water pipes. In fact, nine out of ten plumbers have copper plumbing in their own homes.

Why is Copper Plumbing Better Than Aluminum?

aluminum

As mentioned earlier, aluminum is also an alternative plumbing metal. The debate on which piping material between the two makes sense has been a matter of discussion for years. However, professional plumbers have discovered that installing copper water pipes makes more sense than fitting aluminum tubes. Here are the reasons why.

The main reason why professional plumbers recommend the use of copper pipes over aluminum is that the latter is prone to localized corrosion. Copper has a significantly lower, uniform and predictable corrosion rate. Aluminum pipes joined by soldering are often subjected to galvanic corrosion. That leads to water contamination and the main reasons why it is not recommended for use unless it is in heat exchangers in AC systems. 

Copper pipes can be joined easily using solder at low temperatures. While aluminum can also be joined following a similar procedure, the process is often complicated and time-consuming. It may not be as easy to join aluminum pieces as it is with copper pipes. Furthermore, aluminum needs inert gas conditions to maintain sturdy welds and reacts with the water running through them. Since most homeowners and their families drink the water flowing within the system, it exposes people to high health risks. 

copper joints

Plumbers also spend a short time creating copper joints than it would take them when handling aluminum. With copper, you can quickly join them by soldering or using compressional couplers. The case is different when it comes to aluminum because you have to ensure the pipes are threaded at the end to allow plumbers to crew them in. It is a tedious process as you first have to create the threads before joining them. Besides, the joint may loosen, making them prone to leaks. That can lead to many complications within the conduit system.

The condition of your plumbing system tells a lot about the level and quality of maintenance you give to you home. If your home has an old aluminum plumbing system, it may be time to replace it with copper pipes. It’s a surefire means of raising your home’s market value because copper is not only safe and cheaper but also has an enhanced resistance to corrosion. An upgrade project may dent your finances, but it is worth the investment when you decide to sell the home.

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