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Best Types of Pipes for Repiping in Phoenix

Buyer's Guide from George Brazil

If you’ve recently found yourself in need of whole-home or partial repiping, you’re probably wondering what type of pipe is best for the Arizona area and your needs.

Well, various piping materials are out there but, in our professional opinion, the best materials for repiping Arizona homes include:

  • Copper
  • PEX
  • PVC
  • CPVC

To help you pick the best pipe for your repiping project, we’ll go into more detail about the 4 types of pipes and explain how and where they should be used.

Need a plumber’s help? Our plumbers are certified and licensed experts in repiping Arizona homes. Contact us today.

How to choose the right pipe for your plumbing application

If you need to repipe your home, the first thing you’ll want to do is determine what material you want to use as the replacement pipe: Copper, PEX, PVC or CPVC.

But remember- you can’t just pick any pipe material you want. The IRC (International Residential Code) has strict limitations on where and how certain pipe materials can be used.

For example:

  • PVC is not approved for use inside the home except as drain lines (drains that transport used water from showers, sinks, washers, etc. to the main sewer line).
  • CPVC is not approved to be used for the main sewer line. CPVC can crack if frozen, which means it’s use as underground piping (i.e. sewer lines) should be limited and only installed per the manufacturer’s requirements.

So, before you choose the pipe material you want, determine:

  1. Where the pipe will be located: inside or outside of the home
  2. What kind of pipe it will be: main water service pipe, supply pipe, wastewater (drain) pipe or the main sewer line

To help you prepare (and budget appropriately) for your replumbing project, use the decision chart below:

Now that you have a better idea of which piping materials you can or can’t use for your project, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of each pipe.

Note: Wondering how much these types of piping cost? Well, there is little difference in cost between the plastic types of piping (PEX/PVC/CPVC). However, copper piping is the most expensive type of piping and is considerably more expensive than all types of plastic pipes.

Copper piping

Can be used for:

  • Hot & cold water supply lines
  • Drain lines
  • Main water service line
  • Main sewer line

Pros of copper piping

  • Extremely durable (earthquake and fire resistant!)
  • Thin diameter means it works well in tight spaces
  • Can extend for long stretches with minimal or no support
  • Environmentally-friendly (it’s a naturally occurring metal)

Cons of copper piping:

  • Most expensive type of piping
  • Often develop “pinhole leaks”
  • Must be thoroughly flushed before use to remove any residue from the soldering process
  • Not as flexible as plastic pipes
  • Must be soldered to other copper pipes (so the professional you choose must be skilled in soldering)
  • Some homeowners report a metallic taste to their water

PEX piping

Can be used for:

  • Hot & cold water supply lines
  • Main water service line

Pros of PEX piping:

  • Inexpensive piping
  • Doesn’t corrode
  • Resistant to acidic water
  • Resists freezing better than copper
  • Very flexible; can make sharp turns without the need for soldering or using glue
  • Fewer fittings needed due to flexibility
  • Less chance of leaks because single, long run of pipe can be used
  • Easily repaired in the event that a leak does happen
  • Some PEX manufacturers offer up to 25 year limited warranty on pipes if professionally installed

Cons of PEX piping:

  • Can’t be exposed outside the wall (no direct sunlight), must be installed so that it is covered/protected

PVC piping

Can be used for:

  • Drain lines
  • Main water service line
  • Main sewer line

Pros of PVC piping:

  • Great option for drain pipes because they can withstand chemicals/acids/mineral oils/fats/strong acids/alcohols
  • Super lightweight (i.e. lower pipe costs, easier transportation, lower install labor costs)
  • Very flexible; can withstand sharp bends/turns without need for soldering/glueing

Cons of PVC piping:

  • Can’t be exposed to direct sunlight, becomes brittle if exposed
  • Can’t be used for water supply piping
  • Not environmentally-friendly; PVC pipes themselves and the glues used to connect them contain volatile organic compounds that are harmful to the environment
  • Bulkier than copper pipes-can’t be used in tight spaces
  • If used for main sewer line it must be sufficiently supported with sand or gravel

CPVC piping

Can be used for:

  • Hot & cold water supply lines
  • Main water service line

Pros of CPVC piping:

  • Won’t corrode
  • Scale buildup can’t occur in CPVC pipes
  • Least expensive piping
  • Lower labor costs due to its lightweight nature
  • Very high heat resistance (even fire-resistant)
  • Non-toxic; won’t leach chemicals into water

Cons of CPVC piping:

  • Some homeowners report a “plastic” taste in water
  • Can’t be exposed to direct sunlight
  • MAterial used to connect CPVC pipes are made of VOC compounds (harmful pollutants)
  • Can become brittle over time, especially in hot water applications
  • Weak transition points; attachments between pipes can break down over time

Need a quote from a Phoenix plumber?

Just contact us. We’ll inspect your home and repiping needs then offer a fair quote for your replumbing project.

All of our plumbers are licensed “Green” plumbers who will repipe your home quickly and to code.

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