The Benefits of Copper Piping
July 02, 2010
Outfit Your Home with Copper Piping
Has your once magnificently cascading shower slowed to a pathetic dribble? Does it drench you with scalding water no matter how furiously you twist the “cold” knob? Is the water issuing from your household faucets an unappealing brownish color? Do you feel something dripping on you from above? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you have worn out piping in your house or office. Antiquated pipes can lead to low water pressure, brownish water, scalding showers, and overhead leaks.
Most homes built over 25 years ago are outfitted with galvanized piping, which supplies water and drainage. These pipes are coated in zinc, which gives them a silver color. Over time, the zinc on the pipes starts to break down, causing the pipes to rust and setting up the possibility of rupture. That’s why you should consider installing copper piping throughout your home.
Ten Benefits of Copper Piping
Copper piping has a number of benefits. It is durable, lightweight, and safe — qualities which make it the ideal material for water supply pipes. Copper piping resists corrosion, which means you’ll never have to worry about rust holes in your piping. It also has a smooth surface that provides optimal water flow throughout your household. Some of the other benefits of copper are that it:
- Enjoys long-term durability in non-acidic installations
- Discourages bacteria growth
- Resists earthquake damage
- Increases the resale value of your home
- Fits in tight places
- Resists fire
- Eliminates bulky joints
- Easily installs and is ready for use with minimal delay
- Rates highly in terms of internal working pressure
- Meets most building codes
The Types of Copper Piping
Copper piping comes in both rigid and flexible forms. Rigid copper, which is sometimes called hard copper, is approved for home water supply systems by all local codes. It comes in three wall-thickness grades: Types M, L, and K. Copper tubing also comes in flexible forms. Flexible copper is also called soft copper and comes in two wall-thickness grades, Types L and K. Since these types of copper tubing are also flexible, they can be easily bent and reformed to fit your existing walls.
Other Uses for Copper Piping
Copper piping can be used for more than just water pipes. Drainage and vent systems, heating systems (including solar), oxygen systems and fuel oil systems can all benefit from copper piping. In fact, copper piping can even be embedded in concrete without worry.
Forced-circulation hot water heating systems use small and economical tube sizes with soldered joints; they require less space for installation. Drainage systems use Type DWV tubing. And large-diameter copper tubing is an efficient and cost-effective type of piping for water distribution and fire-protection risers in multistory buildings.
Experts suggest that it is good engineering practice to use one material for all piping throughout a system. Therefore, you should see to it that all your piping is replaced with copper tubing. This will ensure reliable performance.
Tips for Cutting and Soldering Copper Piping
It is important that you follow certain rules when cutting copper piping to size. Copper piping can be cut with a hacksaw or a copper tube cutter. Make sure to use a jig or mitre box when cutting copper pipe with a hacksaw. A jig or mitre box will ensure a square cut in the pipe. When using a pipe cutter, hold the copper pipe in place with a holding device like a pipe vise. After cutting the pipe, you can remove the burrs inside the pipe with a half-round file.
To solder copper piping you first must heat the pipe and the fitting to be soldered to a sufficient temperature. It's important that the pipe reach the right temperature, because it will draw the solder into the joint by capillary attraction.
You don't need sophisticated equipment to solder a copper pipe. A simple propane torch that uses screw-on bottles will suffice to solder pipe up to 3/4 inch in diameter. Before you solder the pipe, you must make sure it is very clean and free of oxidation. Copper piping can be cleaned with:
- coarse steel wool
- a wire brush
The inside of the pipe can be cleaned with a special round wire brush, which comes in a variety of sizes. Even new copper piping requires cleaning, but you only need to brighten the area that is to receive solder.
Hire a Professional Plumber
Replacing your antiquated piping with copper piping can be a complicated process. The job needs to be done by experts. Otherwise, you risk creating leaks throughout your entire home. That’s why if you want to replace your old piping with copper piping, you should contact a professional plumbing company. A professional plumbing company has the expertise to replace your antiquate piping with copper piping, allowing you to rest easy in the knowledge that the job was expertly done so you can enjoy the benefits of your new piping for years to come.
Tucson: (520) 505-3236