Here are some quick facts on copper piping. Copper pipes date back to over 4000 years. History tells us that ancient Egyptians used copper to transport water around 2150 BC. The Romans used copper pipes to distribute water. Copper has become the most used material for plumbing since the 1940s. Cooper is scientifically safe, reliable, and is proven to last 50 years or longer in our homes. Lead pipes were once the first choice for our plumbing system but have proven to be a health risk.
Copper Piping Took A Big Hit
To lower costs, many municipalities of the 1980s and 1990s turned their sites onto plastic piping for their water lines. The copper market took a hit by losing 25% of the market share. Up through the mid-1970s, copper had 75% of all service installations. That would soon slip away when lower-cost pipes lured municipalities up through the 2000s. Municipalities started experiencing a trend of issues with pipe leaks and loss of water from plastic service lines. Plastic had captured 50% of the waterline market. Since the 2000s, copper has seen a steady increase, and those same utilities and municipalities have moved back to purchasing copper. Copper has proven to be the best value providing longer life and reliability.
what were the major benefits?
Since the mid-60s, copper was always a breath of fresh air for plumbing companies. But then, it was most plumbing companies go-to piping for new home construction and home repiping and this is why:
- Durability: Copper is incredibly durable and will withstand cold and hot temperatures. Additionally, it can withstand water pressure of up to 1000 pounds per inch (psi). The pipes are also less likely to freeze in higher elevations.
- Cooper Does Not Release Dangerous Materials – While all other home piping has faded, such as lead, iron, and galvanized steel, copper has stood the test of time.
- Life Expectancy – The average life of copper pipes is 50-70 years. That number can increase if your pipes are of good quality copper, the original contractor completed the installation to the highest standard, and you have a whole house water treatment system.
- Easy To Work With – Copper is lightweight, flexible, and easy to work with. It became a big hit from the moment it hit the market.
- Better On The Environment – The manufacturing process is friendly to the environment, especially when compared to PEX and PVC. Additionally, you can recycle copper at the end of its lifespan.
And while the drawbacks are few, you can’t mention the benefits without mentioning the disadvantages:
- The cost of copper – One of the big disadvantages of copper is the cost, especially compared to its counterpart cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), which has quickly become the new go-to piping for the 21st Century. It had become the new piping for the same reasons copper did when introduced to the plumbing industry. But some homeowners and plumbers will not change from copper piping regardless of cost. PEX is quickly becoming the new standard.
- Copper cannot withstand hard water – While it may take many years, hard water minerals will build up in copper pipes of any plumbing system. Even our municipal water supply is known for its hard water and chemicals. Installing a whole house water filtration will eliminate hard water from your plumbing system.
Copper Piping Made A Great Comeback
By 2009 copper has increased its market share to 79% of the water service line market. In the end, copper exceeded expectations, and the cheaper plastic lines could never outlast the durability of copper pipes. In 100 years from now, when old pipes get replaced with new ones, the copper will be recycled and still hold its value.
Old Home? Trust The Experts At Big B’s Plumbing!
If you have a home dating back to the 1970s or older, it’s time to have your pipes evaluated. Unfortunately, many of our older homes still have old galvanized pipes. You can call your Big B’s Plumbing professional to examine your existing pipes and provide you with an estimate to replace your old pipes with new ones. Big B’s Plumbing is an A+ rated plumbing company with the Better Business Bureau with over 1000 top-notch reviews. Contractor’s license #986152.