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Thread: pipe materials

  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    Question pipe materials

    in constructing a new small house in central florida, what would be the best plumbing material to use: copper, pvc/cpvc, or pex?...from a health perspective too... thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    Go with PEX, if it is approved in your town.

    I know that copper is not good in FL.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    Every area has its favorites. Pex is an umbrella term covering a wide range of specific products. Talk to some of the middle aged plumbers in your area - the ones who hold the actual licenses, visit building sites, and ask what's predominant in your area.

    If building inspectors aren't too deeply into their ruts, they can give guidance as well.

  4. #4
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    Cool Re: pipe materials

    thanks very much dj1 & houston remodeler for your guidance/tips...i'll do further research on pex and why copper is not a good idea in fl...will ask bldng inspectors for opinions...visit bldng sites & ask some middle-aged plumbers with actual licenses for recommendations in my area---thanks

  5. #5
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    Years ago I visited a track home building site in Jacksonville. When I asked the GC why they weren't using copper pipes, he said: we have copper eating insects in this part of the country. No joke.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    Perhaps he was referring to theft ?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    I'm the worlds biggest skeptic regarding 'new and improved' building materials, but I am a huge fan of PEX. IMHO it is a vast improvement over all other plumbing supply piping in almost every case, so that's what I'd go with.

    Phil

  8. #8
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    Perhaps he was referring to theft ?
    Years ago copper was cheap. A 10 footer of 3/" type L was about $6. Theft was not a real problem back then.

    Today the high price of copper is due to the unreal demand: local and international. And that's why we hear about copper theft.

    Local: slowly, homes with galvanized are switching to copper, plus new construction.

    International: China and India are waking up and are using every copper pipe the world can produce.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: pipe materials

    There were -- and still are -- legitimate health concerns with earlier types of plastic pipe. Polybutylene, black polyethylene, and PVC all have the potential to leach chemical into the water supply, especially if used with hot water. (PVC and black polyethylene are generally not suitable for hot water anyway, due to the fact that they are unable to withstand high pressure at high temperatures.) CPVC leaches much less than these other materials, but it still can leach. Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), by comparison, is extremely stable and has not been shown to leach harmful amounts of chemicals even when used with hot water.

    Some people still insist that plastic is not healthy and that you should only use copper. They don't trust PEX, even though it has been proven to me much safer than the other plastics -- I believe this is due to a general bias against plastics.

    Copper, though, is not perfectly healthy and is not immune to leaching. Given the right water conditions, it, too can leach into the water. The problem with copper is rather than leaching pure copper, it reacts with other things in the water to form potentially harmful copper compounds.

    Galvanized steel is probably even safer than copper, since few iron compounds are harmful to your health and may even be beneficial. However, iron is fairly reactive, so it can corrode quickly. It "typically" lasts between 5 and 50 years, depending on the composition of your water. Besides, steel is expensive now and installation is labor intensive. For these reasons it's generally not used in new construction anymore.

    So there's no product that's entirely free from potential harmful effects to your health, but I believe that PEX is the safest from a health perspective.

    Every plastic should be protected from ultraviolet light. When used outdoors, it should not be directly exposed to sunlight. Ultraviolet light is a catalyst that accelerates oxidation of the hydrocarbons in the plastic.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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