What are Your Pipes Made Of?

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What are Your Pipes Made Of?

Most homeowners can readily identify what their home is made out of, perhaps even what their roof is made out of—but what about the stuff under your sinks, in your basement, and within your walls? Do you know what your pipes are made out of?

Having this knowledge can actually be really helpful, as it can help you determine potential issues with your plumbing. Consider the following rundown of different, common piping materials.

Lead. It is unlikely that your pipes are made from lead, unless you live in a particularly old home—made before the 1930s, for instance. If this is the case, then lead piping is possible—and that’s not necessarily a good thing. There could be harmful contaminants in your water. Don’t freak out, but do have your water tested, and consider having a filtration system installed.

Steel. Galvanized steel became the piping material of choice post-lead, and remained popular through the early 1980s. Steel is better than lead but it does rust over time, and may lower the quality of your water. Be wary of this.

Copper. Copper is a good material for piping, with one issue: Copper tends to degrade over time, and, after a couple of decades, becomes more susceptible to pin leaks. If you have copper pipes, make sure you regularly inspect the plumbing and are vigilant to spot leaks.

PVC. PVC plastic is popular because it is both cheap and durable—a win-win! Its cheapness can sometimes be disadvantageous, though, as cracks and leaks can emerge between different joints. Again, just make sure to inspect your home plumbing regularly.

PEX. This plastic material is really the best option—a little more expensive than PVC but without any of the potential issues. This is as reliable a plumbing material as you will find. The only downside to it is that it is not really appropriate for outdoor plumbing; direct sunlight will cause it to deteriorate.

If you are unsure of which material is used in your home piping, remember that you can always call a plumber to come out, inspect everything, and fill you in on what you’re working with—and what potential issues you should have on your radar.

To learn more, or to schedule your plumber’s visit, contact our Vancouver plumbing team today!

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