There have been a lot of different pipe materials used in the plumbing industry over the years and being able to identify the various different types require a little effort and time. Most homes were originally built with multiple pipe materials, some were pipes for water, and others were for the drain. Each material has advantages and as well as disadvantages. So knowing the different pipe materials can help you not only better identify your plumbing problem, but to potentially solve it as well.
Was the material of choice, for homes built before 1960s. This highly durable pipe type can be recognized by it’s texture and color; smooth, silver pipes, coated with zinc. However, despite being durable, they have a limited lifespan and are susceptible to rust. Water will cause galvanized pipes to corrode and rust on the inside because the steel corrodes over time.
This pipe looks similar to PVC, but is cream in color and turns light tan as it ages. It is the most popular water pipe for new homes in our area. In addition, it is fairly easy to recognize because it should be marked “CPVC” on the pipe, as shown below.
However, just to be sure scratch a small area on the pipe and an ivory or white color should appear. Furthermore, a magnet will not stick to it.
Copper pipes are used normally in the construction industry for the supply of water and as a refrigerant line in HVAC systems. Copper can be used with hot or cold water and it is extremely durable. Even better, copper has a long lifespan but can be recycled once it eventually does need to be replaced.
This pipe is recognizable by its black finish and the bulge at the end of each pipe section, called a “hub” that the adjacent pipe fits into. It was commonly used up until the mid-1960s for drainpipes but rarely found used today in newer homes.
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