Different types of pipes are used in the home plumbing system. If you know more about them, you will have an easier time making repairs in your home. Each type of pipe requires a unique repair technique. Using the wrong techniques could exacerbate problems and require the intervention of a professional plumber.
Plastic pipes are either acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). From the mid-1970s, most homes used plastic pipes and fittings because of their lower cost and ease of use. The joints of the plastic pipes are simply glued together by primer or liquid cement. ABS is no longer used in many areas because the joints tend to come loose. PVC is the most widely used pipe in drain lines today. It is both safe and durable.
Cast iron pipes were commonly used before the 1960s for vent stacks, vertical drains, and horizontal drain lines. While cast iron is known for its durability, it tends rust over time. It is quite difficult to repair a rusted section of the cast iron pipe. You may need to call in a professional plumber to replace the rusted part with PVC using the right transition fittings.
Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is now popularly used in homes. It is easy to cut and install. The pipe is very flexible and can be joined using compression fittings. The downside of PEX is the cost, which could be several times more expensive than copper.
Galvanized steel pipes are commonly found in older homes. They are strong, but they only have a 50-year lifetime.
Copper pipes are the best at resisting corrosion. They are commonly used in homes today. Copper pipes are expensive, but they last for many years. Copper tubes are either rigid or flexible.
Understanding the pipes in your home will make it easier to do minor repairs. For major pipe problems, call in the professionals rather than risking worsening the problem.