February 4, 2020
If we ask you to think about the dangers of copper pipes in your home, your first thought is probably, “Some people steal copper pipes!”
(By the way, not that you needed to know, but there’s really no money in stealing copper. If you try to sell the copper from an AC unit, you’ll get $4-$6. Although, some scrap yards will pay you about twice that much, if you take everything apart yourself… We obviously don’t recommend it!)
Let’s move on from the topic of stealing copper, and instead talk about what you should know if you have copper pipes.
Copper has been considered the material of choice by many since the 1960s. That is to say, many, many people have copper piping throughout their home.
Copper's been the choice of builders because It’s lightweight, resistant to rust and corrosion, can last a few decades, and can even kill microbes. (Want to know what scary microbes live in some people’s pipes? E. coli!! So, yes, it’s great to have a pipe material that doubles as a pesticide!)
On the other hand, there’s a reason why PVC is overtaking copper. For one thing, not all copper is created equal, and interestingly, the copper in older homes is probably better than newer copper. That’s because, today, many builders try to cut corners and save money by using inferior copper.
Also, even though we said copper resists corrosion, if your water is acidic, then the pipes are more likely to corrode. (If your water taste copper-y, then that’s not a good sign.)
Last but not least, PVC pipes are stronger when it comes to water pressure. Copper pipes are less likely to be able to withstand high water pressure.
So, it kind of looks like the cons outweigh the pros, despite what we said about copper pipes being a choice material from the 60s until now!
Copper pipes certainly are a better choice than lead pipes, but to reiterate, the problem is mostly due to the build quality of recent copper plumbing.
You’ll know that something is amiss if you have teal stains in your bathtub, because this color indicates corrosion. Have you ever seen copper turn a bluish-green? You have, if you’ve ever seen the Statue of Liberty!
It may be tempting to have the same pipe material as Lady Liberty. But if you’re worried your copper pipes are too vulnerable, then you may want to opt for this growing trend:
This isn’t the same thing as PVC, but it looks similar. It was actually popular in Europe first. It’s strong and very durable when it comes to avoiding those little tiny leaks.
The problem is polypropylene pipes are expensive!
I guess that means you need to get to work pilfering copper from around the neighborhood, so you can afford new pipes…Just kidding!!
One thing we aren’t kidding about, though, is that you can always ask us any questions you have. Whether it’s a question about plumbing or some other topic, give us a call at (602) 344-9027 or contact us online.