Picking the Proper Piping: The 6 Types of Pipes You’ll Find in Any House

Jun 25, 2021

In both older and newly constructed homes, you’ll find several types of pipes. While a variety of materials can be found; each has its’ own strengths and functions, while some are suited for special applications. Depending on the plumbing project, one type may logically or economically be preferred or required over another. These are the common types of household pipes that homeowners can choose from:

Different Types of Pipes

1. PEX Pipes

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) plumbing pipes are rigid yet flexible, allowing them to withstand high water pressure and be maneuvered through walls and ceilings. For convenience, they’re also color-coded; pipes for hot water are red, those for cold water are blue, and ones for hot or cold water are white. PEX won’t leach rust or corrosion into the water. Rather than branching directly off the main water line, each PEX tube connects to a water distribution manifold, attaches directly to a faucet, and has its own shut-off valve.


2. PVC Pipes

Often used for drain, waste, and vent pipes, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are suited for low temperature, low pressure applications. Up to three-inch pipes are often used for sink drains/plumbing vents but up to four-inch varieties are available. Inexpensive, this plastic water pipe easier to work with than steel or copper, and diameters are marked on the pipe’s white surface.


3. ABS Pipes

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a black pipe often used for tub, sink, and toilet drains. Slightly more durable than PVC, it is also softer and can warp or deform at certain temperatures. Building codes don’t always permit ABS piping. However, ABS is quite strong, withstands cold temperatures, and is suited for underground exterior installations.


4. Copper Pipes

Copper has been used for water supply lines for decades. It’s used around various fixtures, including showers, sinks, and tubs, in new and old homes alike. Copper pipes don’t affect water quality. However, installation and repair require a professional assistance as they must be soldered with a propane torch.


5. Galvanized Piping

Galvanized pipes were once used for water supply and drain lines. Although it’s no longer used in new construction, it served as an alternative to lead pipe. Nonetheless, it’s prone to rust that can block your pipes and contaminate drinking water. Galvanized pipes are now mostly used for gas supply lines. One benefit of galvanized piping is the threading at the ends of the pipe, allowing sections to be screwed together without fittings.


6. Flexible Piping

Flexible connections, or flexi’s, attach appliances like toilets, sinks, and water heaters to your home’s plumbing system. It’s not a pipe type suited for use within walls or floors (building codes don’t permit this). Flexible pipe has a high tolerance to heat and fits in tight areas; it is also used for gas and domestic water connections.


When to Replace Your Pipes


Choosing the right plumbing pipe types for your home comes into question when you notice the following signs:


  • Discolored Water: Mineral deposits and rust can discolor your water, clog pipes, and increase pressure potentially leading to a burst pipe.


  • Loud Pipes: Loud noises from your shower or within the walls can mean issues are developing that will eventually worsen.


  • Water Pressure: Low water pressure from your faucets and fixtures can be due to causes deep within the water lines for your house.


  • Wall Stains: Brown stains on ceilings or walls mean that pipes are leaking and will continue to do so or burst if not fixed.


  • Old/Worn Appearance: If pipes look old and deteriorated, are flaking, or visibly leaking, contact a plumber for an inspection and any necessary repairs.

Contact Elmer’s Home Services


If you notice any issues with your plumbing or are renovating/remodeling your home, contact Elmer’s Home Services for assistance. Our experienced technicians can perform leak detection and emergency repairs as well as advise you on the best house plumbing solutions, including the most suitable types of pipes. For help by a licensed San Antonio plumber, call 210-333-5637 today.

If you are experiencing any of the signs that your water heater needs repair or replacement, don’t hesitate to call a professional.

Elmer’s Home Services in San Antonio TX can help you assess the situation and make the best decision for your needs. We have experienced plumbers and quality service, so you can get back to enjoying hot showers and baths in no time. 

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San Antonio, TX 78233

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