With the development of new materials, piping systems are also getting more and more diversified. In your home, you may have a plumbing system that uses all one type of material for the water supply pipes, but you won’t be surprised to hear the names of the following pipe materials.
Galvanized pipe is a steel pipe that has been treated with a zinc coating. This galvanized coating keeps the water from corroding the pipe. It was once the most common type of pipe for water supply lines, but because labor and time that goes into cutting, threading, and installing galvanized pipe, it no longer used much, except for limited use in repairs. However, galvanized pipe for water distribution is still seen in larger commercial applications.
Copper pipe is mostly used for hot and cold water distribution, as well as being regularly used in HVAC systems for refrigerant lines. Although once used in gas piping, this is no longer allowed in most jurisdictions. Copper piping works in both underground and above-ground applications, but copper can be affected by some soils and it should have a protective sleeve if used underground.
PVC is an acronym that stands for polyvinyl chloride. Of the different types of plastic pipe used for water supply, PVC has a wide variety of plumbing uses, from drainage pipe to water mains. It is most commonly used for irrigation piping, home, and building supply piping. PVC is also very common in pool and spa systems. PVC pipe is often white but it can also come in other colors. You can often tell what it is used for by the colors and marks on the pipe. For example, a purple pipe with black lettering is used for reclaimed water. PVC also comes in a variety of thicknesses, called schedules. Schedules 40 is the most common for pipes used in water distribution.
Historically, PVC was one of the first forms of plastic used instead of copper for water supply pipes. PVC is normally used for cold water pipes only, as heat can eventually break down the plastic. Always check with local code restrictions before using PVC pipes for hot water delivery lines. In homes plumbed with first-generation plastics, the cold water lines are often PVC, with CPVC used for hot water lines.
PVC connections are made by using a primer that softens the PVC and then applying PVC glue that melts the joints and pipe together. PVC pipe should always be clearly labeled if it is used for both potable (drinkable) and non-potable water in the same building.
PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene. It is sometimes known as XLPEl. With good resistance to both hot and cold temperatures, PEX is commonly used for both hot and cold water lines in homes, and for hydronic heating systems (such as radiant under-floor systems).
Above we had a brief introduction on the types of various water pipes and a part of their history. It is obvious that plastic pipes are gradually replacing metal pipes for corrosion resistance. The reinforced thermoplastic pipe (RTP) is also a new choice for HDPE water supply pipes. It has a special reinforcement layer for HDPE pipes to improve their strength. Our RTP pipes are also suitable for hot gas and oil & gas pipelines.