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Today’s PHW Inspections Topic: Copper Plumbing Supply Pipes
Copper supply piping has been a popular choice for plumbing systems in homes across Southwest Florida for several decades. Copper piping is highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to corrosion and leaks, making it a reliable choice for homeowners who want to ensure that their plumbing system is built to last. Below are the Pros and Cons of copper supply piping, as well as some of the common issues that homeowners may face when using this type of piping.
Pros of Copper Supply Piping
One of the main benefits of copper supply piping is its durability. Copper is a tough material that is highly resistant to damage from heat, pressure, and chemical exposure. It can withstand high water pressure and temperature fluctuations, which are common in many Southwest Florida homes. Copper piping is also resistant to corrosion, which means it won’t rust or break down over time, making it an excellent choice for long-term use.
Another advantage of copper supply piping is that it is easy to work with. Copper pipes are relatively easy to bend, cut, and shape, making them ideal for fitting into tight spaces or around obstacles. This means that installation is typically quicker and more straightforward than with other types of piping materials.
Cons of Copper Supply Piping
While copper supply piping has many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks that homeowners should be aware of. One of the main drawbacks of copper piping is its cost. Copper is one of the most expensive types of plumbing materials, which means that installation costs can be higher than with other materials. However, homeowners who choose copper piping may be able to recoup some of their costs over time, as copper piping tends to have a longer lifespan than other materials.
Another issue with copper supply piping is the potential for corrosion caused by chemical reactions with the water supply. In areas where the water supply is particularly acidic or contains high levels of minerals, copper piping may corrode more quickly than in other areas. This can lead to leaks or other plumbing issues over time.
Common Issues with Copper Supply Piping
One of the most common issues that homeowners may face with copper supply piping is pinhole leaks. These small leaks can develop over time due to corrosion or other factors and can be difficult to detect. Homeowners may notice a decrease in water pressure or hear a hissing or dripping sound coming from their pipes. In some cases, a professional plumber may need to be called in to locate and repair the leak.
Homes built during the 1990s often used thinner-walled than copper used in previous decades. These homes were more susceptible to pinhole leaks in their copper piping due to a combination of factors, including the use of thin-walled copper, improper installation, water chemistry, and the use of acidic flux during installation. Homeowners should have their plumbing system inspected regularly to identify any potential issues and take steps to address them promptly to prevent water damage and other plumbing problems.
Another issue with copper supply piping, in northern areas, is the potential for freeze damage during the cooler months. If the pipes are not properly insulated or if temperatures drop below freezing, the water inside the pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to burst. Homeowners can prevent freeze damage by insulating their pipes or allowing a small trickle of water to run from their faucets during cold weather.
Tips for Maintaining Copper Supply Piping
While copper supply piping is highly durable, it is still important for homeowners to take steps to maintain their plumbing system and prevent potential issues from occurring. Here are some tips for maintaining copper supply piping:
- Regularly inspect your plumbing system for signs of corrosion or leaks. If you notice any issues, contact a professional plumber to make repairs.
- Consider installing a whole-house water filtration system to help prevent corrosion and other water-related issues.
- Insulate your pipes to prevent freeze damage during cold weather.
Copper supply piping is a popular choice for plumbing systems in Southwest Florida homes due to its durability, resistance to corrosion, and ease of installation. While copper piping may be more expensive than other materials, its long lifespan may make it a worthwhile investment for homeowners who want to ensure that their plumbing system is built to last. Homeowners who choose copper piping should be aware of the potential for pinhole leaks and freeze damage and take steps to prevent these issues from occurring. Regular maintenance and inspection by a professional plumber can help to ensure that copper supply piping remains in good condition and continues to function properly for many years to come.