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Residential water pipes allow us to use water with ease. Just from the turn of a handle or the flip of a switch, water comes into our homes for anything from drinking to washing. The pipes themselves consist of a variety of materials, but the two piping materials for water systems commonly found in residential homes are PVC and copper piping. Just because both are found in residential homes, though, does not mean that they serve the same piping purposes. To fully understand the applications of PVC pipes and copper water pipes, we will take a look at what qualities they share and then at how they differ. 

Water Pipes: What Is PVC? 

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a type of plastic piping material made from rock salt and natural gas. It is used in plumbing practices such as irrigation, mains, service lines, sewers, drain-waste vents, and other construction purposes. This piping can be either indoor or outdoor, depending on the project. 

Water Pipes: What Is Copper?

Copper is a metal that is found in most older residential and commercial building plumbing systems. Just like PVC pipes, copper pipes are also found in main lines, service lines, and drain-waste vents. That said, different varieties of copper pipes are applied for different purposes. Speaking of differences in piping materials…

PVC vs. Copper Water Pipes: The Differences

The best way to understand PVC and copper water pipes in full depth is to take a closer look at what makes them unique. We are going to look at how these pipes differ in durability/longevity, maintenance requirements, and environmental friendliness.

Durability and Longevity

Both PVC and copper water pipes are notable for their durability and longevity. However, those properties are dependent on how these piping materials are maintained. While copper pipes, if consistently well-maintained, can last anywhere from 5-50 years, PVC pipes are potentially capable of up to 100 years of service when properly maintained. The only reason why it is not a given that PVC pipes last up to 100 years is that they have only been in use since the 1960s. That said, as long as PVC pipes are correctly installed, their durability will be high. 

Maintenance Requirements

Concerning maintenance requirements, the difference in composition between both materials creates unique requirements for overall maintenance. The extent to which PVC and copper are susceptible to corrosion greatly contrasts. Unlike most metals, copper has higher corrosion resistance because it lacks iron. Additionally, copper also kills any bacteria that might flow through the water pipes, making it antimicrobial and less likely to need sanitation. 

PVC water pipes are absolutely corrosion-resistant due to being plastic and thick. The fact that PVC pipes are often underground also protects them from UV radiation and extensive levels of weather damage. As long as rock and soil are periodically cleared as needed, your PVC water pipes should not face any severe complications. 

Environmental Friendliness 

While PVC and copper water pipes can be considered environmentally friendly, the qualities that make them so are unique. Copper being nontoxic from a lack of chemicals makes it less prone to contribute to environmental issues. Copper is also constructed to be 100% recyclable. PVC piping meets the PPFA’s (Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association) green building specifications, including but not limited to the potability of water being protected from contamination. 

water pipes

We Can Help With Your Water Pipes

At ASAP Plumbing Experts, our plumbers are qualified to help with any water pipe needs you want to be addressed. Whether it’s an installation or a repair, our expert plumbers will help with any water pipe problems. Contact us today for a free quote.