Re: No Hot Water, New Water Heater?
I'm on the other side of Spruce's jury... more or less. PVC, CPVC, and polybutylene plastics do leach chemicals into the water. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is many times more stable and the leaching is nearly nil (same material as plastic milk jugs and the lining of paper milk cartons). Copper is good except that it will react with some water to create harmful copper compounds. PEX hasn't been shown to be reactive and the pipe will not burst when frozen. My preference is PEX, though it requires special, expensive tools a homeowner isn't likely to have. With the tools, PEX is easier to work with than copper.
Steel is not good for water pipes, for all the reasons Spruce mentioned. Plus, the difficulty of working with steel often results in a high incidence of bad words.
Do not join copper pipes directly to steel pipes. Use a dielectric union; this fitting has a plastic washer that electrically insulates the two types of metal. When the two metals are in contact in water, one or the other will be eaten away (through a process called galvanic corrosion) depending on whether the water is acidic or alkaline.
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.