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Why Copper Is Used In Plumbing


Copper metal is one of the best materials for manufacturing plumbing pipes. Copper plumbing began a long time ago, around 4,000 years back. Ancient Egyptians used to distribute water using copper pipes during the agrarian revolution.

The First World nations adopted copper plumbing materials massively after World War I. For their many virtues, copper pipes are arguably the most preferred plumbing materials. Most of our clients at S & D Plumbing choose copper pipes because we have educated them on this topic, and they believe in us. In this article we’ll share the explanation of why copper is the most prized substance for plumbing pipes.

Types of Copper Tubing

There are two major types of copper plumbing pipes.

Soft Copper

It’s the annealed and bendable type. You can easily bend soft copper pipes to avoid obstacles when you are working.

Rigid Copper

It’s the hard-drawn type commonly ideal for water lines. You can rarely bend these pipes, although you can also make them softer through careful treatment. Instead, you will use copper tube benders or elbow fittings to avoid obstacles.

The broad categories are subdivided into four, namely, K, L, M, and DWV (drain-waste-vent).

Type K Pipes

Type K copper pipe is ideal for major water lines and underground installations. S & D Plumbing uses type K for water, oil, and HVAC distribution as well as fire protection. We have rigid and flexible K pipes. You can identify it by its green stamp.

Type L Pipes

We use L pipes for interior plumbing, some HVAC, and fire protection. You can get the rigid or the flexible forms. Type L is more widely used than K. We use it mostly for replacement and repairs. It’s thinner than K. We usually give it a blue stamp, and our experts use it for indoor water supply.

Type M Pipes

Type M is the most suitable for water heating applications and vacuums. It’s cheaper and ideal for its affordability. You can identify an M by its red markings. Most of our DIY clients prefer M. The clients like it because it’s easy to use, though there’s no rigid variety of this pipe.

DWV Pipes

DWV is used almost exclusively for drain-waste-vent plumbing. However, most homes prefer PVC and ABS currently. Yellow markings identify it.

Copper pipes and accessories have long-term benefits. Most plumbers prefer them for several reasons, including those explained in this article.

Why Use Copper for Your Plumbing?

Copper is durable, impermeable, reliable, and non-corrosive. It also lasts longer.


Copper pipes do not contain lead. Original copper fittings and tubes lack a lead component. Plumbing solders and fluxes have been lead-free for three decades now. You should consistently use lead-free solder to connect copper pipes. Lead poisoning is a hazard to humans, especially children, and lead in water pipes are to be avoided at all costs.

Comparison With Plastic

Copper pipes (made of 99.9% copper metal) are more durable than cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) and other plastic pipes. Unlike plastic pipes, copper does not expand and contract insignificantly. That’s why foreign substances do not easily seep into the pipes. Also unlike plastic pipes, copper pipes are resistant to UV rays. Rodents do not tamper with copper pipes. Although that last possibility is fairly uncommon, plastic pipes pose dangerous risks when it happens.


Copper pipes withstand extreme conditions for a long time, spanning 50 to 70 years. Oxidizing chemicals like chlorine do not crack these pipes.


Copper pipes keep foreign substances at bay. Such chemicals as petroleum products, fertilizers, and insecticides are prone to spill at homes. These will not contaminate your water if the system is composed of copper pipes.

Heating Systems

Copper pipes are ideal for heating systems. Copper metal melts at 1,980 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you intend to install lines that convey hot water and steam, copper is your ideal choice. Copper has higher thermal conductivity, making it suitable for heating systems and saving you money on utility bills in the long run.

Not Susceptible to Rust

Unlike steel pipes, copper pipes do not rust. Although, they may corrode when they come into contact with acidic water.

Easy to Bend

Copper pipes are ductile. You can bend them without straining, and you can rarely find kinks after reshaping or bending them. Kinks significantly affect seamless water flow, so the absence of them is a significant advantage.

The Pros of Using Copper Pipes

Health Benefits

Copper metals have natural antibacterial properties. They are also biostatic and impermeable to foreign objects. Copper pipes do not sag or crack easily, even after several years. Robust copper pipes do not allow contaminants into the water.

Resistance to Corrosion

Copper pipes do not corrode easily unless the water is acidic. Iron and steel pipes corrode and rust easily. This characteristic makes copper the ideal plumbing material.


Copper pipes do not burn or support combustion whatsoever. In case of fires, the pipes do not catalyze the spread of the conflagration. Due to their nontoxicity, copper pipes do not contaminate their surroundings.

The Cons of Using Copper Pipes

Installation Costs

Copper is more expensive than other piping materials. Since they are also rigid, you must incur the cost of elbow fittings. The rigidity makes them more challenging to cut and fix during installation. The longer it takes to handle the materials, the more cost you incur.

Leaks and Drips

Copper pipes resist corrosion but do not have immunity to it. You’ll realize that if water is acidic, the pipes corrode gradually, causing pinhole leaks. Copper pipes do not expand and contract significantly, so they are prone to burst and leak if the water inside them freezes. In case you notice or suspect any leaks, S & D Plumbing is your go-to company in Austin, TX, and beyond. We have over 30 years of excellent service. Our experts are quick, careful, and accurate.

When Should You Replace and Repair Copper Pipes?

Albeit copper pipes have the most extensive lifespan (up to seven decades), they tend to deteriorate after two decades. They begin to fail gradually, mainly due to constant high pressure. Pressure affects the joints and system connectors. Leaks and drips are common as well. If you can get a pressure regulator and have it installed, this will help you greatly.

Acidic water deteriorates copper pipes, especially if exposed for more extended periods. The corrosion may end up in your body eventually. Although it would take a great concentration to harm you, copper toxicity is a remote possibility.

For the reasons and factors outlined above, you should repair and replace faulty copper pipes regularly. Healthy precautions are our priority, and we advise you to do pipe maintenance on a routine basis. You can rely on our team for this. We offer excellent plumbing services in Austin, and its environs.

Are you looking for a licensed plumber in Austin, TX? At S & D Plumbing, we provide our customers with outstanding plumbing services and the best quality products, and we’ve been doing it for more than three decades now. All of our professionals have credentials, skills, and expertise. We conduct ongoing training to keep them all updated on industry developments. You can rely on us for hydro jetting, trenchless sewer line repairs, drain repairs, faucet installation and repair, shower installation and repair, rooter services, pipe repair, and a full line of other plumbing services. Contact us at S & D Plumbing today for any of your plumbing needs.

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