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  • No More Copper Tubing in New Construction?

    We're building a new home and the plumber hired by our builder told us today that he only uses plastic piping for the water pipes. We've always had copper tubing before. Are we behind the times? Is plastic tubing alright for water pipes? He said he hasn't used copper tubing for 9 years. We need your advice ASAP since he's already started the rough plumbing. Thank you for your help. It is very much appreciated.

  • #2
    Plastic is easy and cheap. Emphasis on easy and cheap.

    Properly installed sweat joint copper pipe is still the best job for your money.

    If your water is very, very hard an alternative might be worth looking at however, if you plan to live in your home for any length of time then definantly use copper. If you don't care about trailer park quality then go ahead and use plastic.

    My humble professional opinion.

    There are three grades of standard copper pipe.

    M,L,K,

    M is the thinnest while K is the thicker. There are other grades but they do not apply to standard water pipe. I reccomend L copper in your home with a K copper service line. Unless you have acidic soil or slag as fill your properly installed copper service and waterlines will last the life of your home.
    Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by NewtoThis:
      We're building a new home and the plumber hired by our builder told us today that he only uses plastic piping for the water pipes. We've always had copper tubing before. Are we behind the times? Is plastic tubing alright for water pipes? He said he hasn't used copper tubing for 9 years. We need your advice ASAP since he's already started the rough plumbing. Thank you for your help. It is very much appreciated.
      In addition to Plumbers comments, many builders have had failures with under slab soft copper and thus are afraid to spec copper. A propperly installed Type L copper system installed above ground will last long after we are gone.

      Mark
      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

      I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

      Comment


      • #4
        ToUtahNow,

        Every copper system I have ever seen fail under concrete was due to improper installation. In an effort to save 3 dollars the contractor leaves the copper directly exposed to the concrete where it made its penetrations into the home or they fail to bury the pipe in the ground or cover it with sand and left the copper exposed to the gravel and concrete under the floor. Both faults are easily remedied if the contractor will just take the time to do the job right.

        Two or three years ago I replaced all of the plastic under a concrete slab because the previous contractor laid it right on top of the compacted gravel under the concrete. They didn't even bother to scrape the rock. The shopping complex wasn't even fully rented out yet when the lines started failing. It was kinked, torn, punctured and damaged in a host of different ways.

        Like we have written before, it comes down to doing the job properly.
        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

        Comment


        • #5
          plumber,

          I don’t disagree with the installation comment and have seen plenty of that. I just had a slab leak in Vegas where the pipe was 30” below a PT slab and had rocks the size of golf balls laying on top of the pipe.

          Out here in the west we also have a problem with suspended CO2 in well water from deep wells eating soft copper both above and below ground. A piece of soft copper in my valley will last about 3-years before it starts to leak.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, 3 years. There's been nothing like that here. Hard water problems occasionally but softners have become cheap and reliable enough that they are within grasp of even the most limited budgets.

            Can the water be treated for CO2?
            Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

            Comment


            • #7
              If the water company would aerate the water and hold it in a reservoir the CO2 would be released. However, the water goes from a super deep well into a tank on a hill and then into the home without any aeration. This condition cause the leaks to manifest in the horizontal piping as the CO2 gets trapped there..

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

              Comment


              • #8
                HI. Nice forum, this is my first post.

                "Plastic" is a broad general term. I would never want my house plumbed with PVC, and polybutylene was obviously a mistake, but I am building now and plan to use PEX. Do the opinions here that plastic is cheezy apply to PEX?

                Peace,
                Sanaka

                Comment


                • #9
                  sanaka, personally i feel that pex is an excellant product. there are some here that feel it's trailer park plumbing. it's approved in all states but california. california has a city by city approval. more of a political issue than a plumbing issue. it is approved here for hydraunic heating.
                  one real important issue is with uv light. the pex cannot be exposed to uv light. also expansion and contraction needs to be addressed.
                  the only real urban legend ive heard was that a rat will eat the pipe. same could be said about romex wiring, abs waste piping, flex ducting, telephone and cable tv wires.
                  i was in new mexico and utah last week. stayed at a nice chain hotel. pex was used as the water connectors to the fixtures. who knows what was behind the walls.
                  rick.

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                  • #10
                    I piped the process fluid in a new kidney dialisis center in Pex a few years ago. When I went through the training I was sceptical. But after two years they have had no problems.

                    They are running a mild acid solution at about 85 psi/ 85 degrees F.

                    I'm not sure, however, if what was used was the same grade of tubing used in residential.

                    the dog
                    the dog

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                    • #11
                      the old dog is learning a new trick. next trick pro press. it doesn't bite. i have some good treats when you try it. good boy.

                      dog, just a little dogging. thought i would never hear this from you. you have mellowed out too. i switched to lower case, you paid a compliment, i think?
                      i step at a time.

                      rick.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Don't let your guard down Rick, your one wrong comment away from an ***-nipping. [img]smile.gif[/img]

                        I used Pex because it was specified. The interesting thing is that I thought from the beginning that we would have problems with the building department, which we did. The California Plumbing Code prohibits the use of PEX in medical facilities (see 2001 CPC, section 604.1, Exception #3).

                        The customer eventually got it approved.

                        I found it difficult to work with, but that was the result of the particular location and system we installed.

                        We used the expanding ring type which I think is different than that used in residential. You could probably fill me in that.

                        the dog
                        the dog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          dog, no biting yet. the style of connector is typically proprietery to the brand of material being used. that's a draw back. if the material used a small ring of tubing that was slipped onto the pipe and then expanded until the fitting was able to slip in. it sounds like it was wirsboro brand pipe.
                          the big problem with service on all the different brands of pipe is having all the compatable fittings and tools to crimp or expand their brand of material. fortunatly the new shark bite fittings are compatable with most brands of tubing. copper, pex, cpvc. good to have a small selection of fittings to get through that emergency.
                          dog you get a bone.

                          rick.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for your comments. Sorry for my delayed response, I lost the link to this forum for a bit. I'll soldier on with my Vanguard plans....

                            Peace,
                            Sanaka

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