Your home’s pipes are one of its most valuable assets. A house with well maintained pipes is a house that will have fewer plumbing issues. But when disaster strikes and pipes corrode — or worse, burst — replacing them is not a small investment. That’s why, if you do undertake the daunting task of switching out your home’s pipes, be sure that you know what options you have to choose from.
Vintage pipes made from galvanized steel
As the home construction industry has evolved, the material used for pipes has also changed. Prior to the 1950s, using galvanized steel pipes were the norm, which were a solid choice due to their low rusting quality. However, as homes age, even galvanized steel pipes start to leach harmful chemicals into the water supply as they naturally corrode underground.
The copper piping takeover
Copper was then widely used, from 1950 to the early 2000’s as homeowners looked for a safer piping material option. The only drawback with copper is the time and skill it takes to install copper pipes that require welding the piping joints. Now, there has emerged a third era of piping with the introduction of PEX plumbing tubing.
Good to Know
Since copper and PEX are completely different materials, you’ll need to replace your entire plumbing line when you switch.
PEX piping upgrades
PEX is made from using cross-linked polyethylene, which is a form of flexible plastic tubing that gives it great strength and lasting durability beyond its metal counterparts. Although copper piping is not uncommon to find, many new home construction and repairs are being done with PEX piping, partly because of its ease of installation that does not require welding.
The best thing to do is to get a reputable plumbing contractor to survey your home’s plumbing system and provide you with both a quote and the best recommendation. In some cases, if you have separate plumbing lines that run to your home, you may choose to replace one first and wait to replace the other, as opposed to doing them both at the same time.