What Type of Copper is Used For Plumbing?
When it comes to plumbing, you’re going to encounter two different types of copper – type M and type L. Both types have advantages and disadvantages, and plumbers will need to choose the right one depending on the project at hand. Type M is the thinnest and most common type of copper, while type L is a more rigid and expensive material. Most plumbers will choose Type M, but some building inspectors may insist on Type L for some projects. what type of copper is used for plumbing
Type L pipes are thicker and longer-lasting than type M. However, this type of pipe requires more copper to produce and transport, resulting in higher prices. Generally speaking, copper pipes of type L and M are both about 80 to 100 years old, but some plumbers believe that type M pipes will need to be replaced after only 20 or 30 years. In any case, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and choose the right type of copper pipe.
One of the most common copper plumbing problems is pinhole leaks. These tiny leaks are caused by corrosion on the inside of the pipe. Fortunately, the majority of plumbing is concealed behind walls and ceilings. The easiest way to identify a pinhole leak is to look for wet spots on the ceiling. If you can’t find the leak yourself, shut off the water and call a plumber to find it. If you’ve already paid for the water bill, there’s no sense in wasting the water flooded ceiling and a ruined floor.
Copper pipes are available in two types, soft and hard. While type L is commonly used for water lines, type M requires special tools to bend it. Type M is more expensive than type L, but it’s easier to work with in tight and crowded spaces. It is also commonly referred to as “annealed temper,” which is a metallurgical process. Type M is the most common type of copper pipe, and it’s available in a range of sizes from 1/2 inch to one and a half inch. Type M is typically 0.028″ thicker than type L.
As cities consider the safety of their water, some municipalities are beginning to replace lead service lines with copper. Cities like Milwaukee and Lansing, Wisconsin are already comparing copper to plastic. More than half of respondents in the CDA survey indicated that their lead service lines caused problems, while fewer than one-third indicated the same for copper. Regardless of your decision, copper remains the best option for protecting critical water infrastructure.
The reliability of copper is unrivaled. By the end of the decade, copper had accounted for nearly 80 percent of water service line installations. These utilities made conscious decisions about copper’s reliability over alternatives and sought out the best material for their infrastructure projects. While competitors may point to the fact that copper is an ancient material, the safety of copper outweighed the cost of aging pipes in the long term. Copper is a highly dependable and safe material for plumbing and other water infrastructure.
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