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In many professionals’ opinion, copper rules in most situations (unless you have low pH or aggressive water)! Over time, the plastic can sometimes sag and possibly get brittle. If it needs to be repaired or altered in any way, the pipe will have to be glued and you will have no water until it dries. Copper – you can solder, turn it on, test it and know that all is well. Any plastic to metal connection is weak, such as where the water heater connection is made. Additionally, mice and rats love many plastics. They chew on it to keep their teeth from growing through their lower jaw.

3 Comments

  1. Syed Zishan Ahmed

    Sorry but not satisfied/agreed with answer. As per the gentlemen it is easily brittle/damage but as per my experience UPVC which is use for water or sewage line is very tough and reliable when compare to copper time. life of upvc pipe is more than copper pipe & if at all it get damage there are N no. of coupling to rectified the damage joint within a limited time.

    Reply
    • Marvelous McFly

      /agreed.
      Plumbers love copper piping because working with it requires some training, skills and specialized tools/equipment. PVC and plastics on the other hand is cheap, simple and easy to do. Sagging or brittle plastic pipe is a myth. Waiting for glue to dry ? You can’t be serious. Properly connected, metal to plastic connections are no weaker than either source material. And finally. mice and rats may love to chew on many types of plastics but those used in modern plumbing are not in their flavor palette, as part of the manufacturing process involves the inclusion of chemicals that make them taste terrible. And they are not chewing to minimize teeth growth, they are chewing for moisture. Now the American Bigfoot, he likes to chew on plastic pipes. Copper too.

      Reply
      • plumbergirl

        We agree with you, modern plastic pipe that has been installed in the last 5-10 years is highly reliable and long-lasting. Many of the problems homeowners and municipalities face with plastic pipe are due to existing infrastructure – sagging and brittle plastic pipe is not a myth (http://www.plasticstoday.com/nature-polyethylene-pipe-failure/12289981915310), it’s just a problem that affects older plastic pipe – so much so that they developed better pipe, which is what we have now.

        However, you still run into problems if not installed properly. A chemically formed joint is always going to be stronger than a joint formed by a fitting – whether that’s a copper solder or a plastic glue – because that joint really is no longer a joint but a part of the pipe itself. Connecting two very different types of materials like metal and plastic requires special fittings, but again there is a greater potential for leaks.

        Additionally, it is worth noting that almost no water/sewer lines in the US were ever copper – they are usually cast iron or clay, many of which are failing simply due to age (100+ years for some systems) and now being replaced by plastic pipe by many municipalities. Copper has traditionally only been used in the smaller systems of individual homes or buildings, schools or medical complexes, and similar places, not for large scale water transfer.

        Reply

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