Go Back
Plastic plumbing pipes and valves

5 Types of Plumbing Pipes

The plumbing in a home provides a family with clean, easily accessible running water. For many, it is a necessity. Running water is needed for cooking, showering, cleaning dishes, doing laundry, and even for drinking.

However, plumbing is also complex. The pipes that make up any given plumbing network are necessary for the network’s efficiency and operation. To ensure the network will work properly, plumbers will utilize various plumbing pipes made of different materials for specific purposes. 

5 Common Plumbing Pipes Found in Homes 

In ancient Greece, clay pipes supplied water and carried sewage away, but today, various materials are used to make pipes. Modern pipes supply both hot and cold water and create necessary access for draining and venting.

The five most common pipes found in homes and buildings today are PEX, PVC, ABS, copper, and galvanized. Plumbers use so many different pipes because not every pipe is suitable for every situation or building code. 

1. PEX 

A PEX pipe is a cross-linked polyethylene pipe. This pipe’s affordable plastic tubing is typically used for water supply lines. That is because its plastic makeup keeps it from rusting or corroding. Normally, metal pipes will rust or corrode over time. When this occurs, metal pipes will inevitably add traces of rust or corrosion into the water.

PEX pipes are also easy to install. The plastic makes the piping easy to work with and move around. PEX pipe can also be color-coded, which helps keep plumbing networks organized.   

2. PVC

PVC pipes consist of polyvinyl chloride. They are most often used for a home’s sewage system, but they also work as drainage and venting systems. Typically, PVC pipes are used when the liquid traveling through them is low-temperature and low pressure. That makes PVC perfect for a toilet’s drain line but not usable as highly pressurized water supply lines, especially for boiling water.

Another common area to find a PVC pipe is under a sink. PVC pipes are often used for sink drains and plumbing vents. Using them helps prevent air locks in drainage pipes. 

3. ABS 

Another standard plumbing pipe is an ABS pipe. These pipes are made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and are usually black. An ABS pipe is used primarily for waste, draining, and venting like PVC pipes. These pipes even come in the same sizes as PVC pipes.

However, ABS pipes are not nearly as prevalent as PVC. ABS pipes are more durable than PVC pipes but cannot be exposed to direct sunlight. For this reason, many plumbers and home builders prefer PVC pipes. 

4. Copper 

For decades, plumbers and builders have installed copper pipes. These pipes are typically found in and around sinks, showers, tubs, and other fixtures. Although they show up in older homes and buildings, many new ones will use copper as well. Copper has been a favorite for so long because the metal does not affect water quality.

One of the more common criticisms of copper pipes is that installing them requires a propane torch. That makes copper pipes challenging to connect, even by professionals. If not enough heat (or too much heat) is used in soldering the lines together, plumbers will not form a proper seal. It takes just the right amount of heat to create a good seal with copper pipes, which only professional experience with copper pipes can provide.   

5. Galvanized 

Galvanized pipes were once widely used and installed in homes in Indianapolis, IN, and beyond, which is why they can often be found in many older homes. At the time, galvanized pipes were a healthier alternative to lead pipes. However, galvanized pipes still present their health problems.

Builders and plumbers no longer use galvanized pipes because they tend to rust and corrode. When this occurs, it can affect a home’s water supply, making the water less clean and clear for drinking and more.

If your home has galvanized plumbing pipes, it is wiser and healthier to replace them with PEX or copper. PEX is commonly used to replace galvanized pipes because its flexibility makes it easier to slide through spaces inside walls without removing drywall.  

Searching for “Plumbers Near Me”? Call Kellie Plumbing, Inc.

If you need professional plumbing services, such as pipe replacement, in Indianapolis, IN, or Greenwood, IN, our team of professional plumbers at Kellie Plumbing, Inc., is here to help! We offer our customers quick, quality plumbing services at competitive prices.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule service for your plumbing pipes!