Learn the Different Types of Plumbing Pipes

Learn the Different Types of Plumbing PipesEven if you’re the type of homeowner who likes to DIY projects when you can, plumbing projects may bring you up short. You have different pipes running in all directions. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which pipe does what, and if you make a wrong guess, you have a real mess to clean up.

In general, you have two types of pipes in your home — those that bring something in, and those that take something out.

“Incoming” Pipes

Most pipes in this category are bringing in water. You can recognize them because they are usually made from one of two materials: copper or PEX, a flexible plastic.

  • Copper pipes. These can be flexible (usually found closer to the faucet or outlet) or rigid (usually used for covering long distances).
  • PEX. Even though they’re plastic, they can flex up to 90 degrees. They are usually white, blue, or red — options that allow you to color-code your hot and cold water supply lines if you wish.

“Outgoing” Pipes

Most pipes in this category are drain or waste-removal pipes. You’ll also find steam or air vents made from the same materials. Typical “outgoing” pipes that you’ll find in older homes include:

  • Cast iron. This material isn’t used for new construction very often, but many older homes still have cast iron pipes that are going strong. They may look rusty, but as long as they’re not leaking, they’re fine.
  • Galvanized steel. This is another older material that’s been replaced by modern plastic options.
  • ABS. The first type of plastic pipe used, these black pipes tend to come apart at joint junctions. They’re not used in new construction anymore in most locations.

If your home is newer or if you’ve had repairs done, you’re likely to see the most common type of pipe available today: PVC. It’s white plastic, doesn’t cost much, and stands up to almost anything. It’s also easy to join together, in most cases just requiring a glue-like solvent to attach two pipes.

Need help with plumbing issues in your Greater Cleveland-area home? Contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues. For more information about plumbing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or give us a call at 440-345-8795.

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