I live in California with 'hard water' and tract/project homes with galvanized pipe. After 18 yrs and several leaks, it's time to renew the water service (repipe). While getting prices on copper pipe, I was told I should go with CPVC. Then someone else said that was a bad idea, stick with "tried and true" copper, type L.
Can anyone tell me why either is "better" or give me advice? The majority choice seems to be copper...
I'm also living in "earthquake country", will this make a difference either way? I know even a little rattle shakes up sediment loose in the pipes and I have to clear all faucets (taps)...
I plan on doing this by the end of the year with some friends in the biz. Also, can I do it in "portions at a time?"
Being From NYC I love Copper Type "L" for all above ground water lines and type "K" for under ground water distribution. I do not know the "left coast" (California) plumbing code BUT I will give you some facts about copper "L" and CPVC.
From every thing I have read I love copper for Proven longevity. Look at copper roofing exposed to the elements for over 300 years and still going strong. Copper is natural and is found in the body of mammals. Copper can be joined several ways and is much stronger than its plastic counterpart, solder is not as toxic to work with as glues or primer. In case of fire, some plastic fumes can kill you long before the fire will.
Now copper pipe once cut has to be reamed properly (always a great idea) to prevent erosion at this point. Copper the maximum suggested velocity is around 8 fps (Feet Per Second or 2.44 Metre Per Second) other wise you not only get erosion you have a noisy piping system that can be prone to failure. Copper is one of the easiest materials used in plumbing to repair and it can resist freeze ups more readily than its plastic counter part.
Copper does resist vibration very well (used on ships) and high pressure pumping systems. Copper can be recycled and is a proven winner for over 3000 YEARS. Copper excels in pressure fluctuations by taking hydraulic shock without rupturing. The problem with copper is it is a non ferrous metal subject to failure under certain water/soil conditions and the CDA (Copper Development Association) should be contacted after you take a water pH test. You may have to do a water treatment program and ask your local Licensed Master plumber not a "6 week wonder"
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) by conservative estimate, more than 50 percent of the piping systems in the chemical process and other industries are now within the pressure size and temperature capabilities of such advanced PPS thermoplastics as PVC / CPVC / PP and PVDF
Since thermoplastics are non-conductors, they are immune to the electrolytic or galvanic corrosion that attacks and often destroys metal piping materials, particularly installed under ground. Plastic piping system has one of the lowest "friction losses " of all piping systems (no internal corrosion or sediment build up)
Plastic piping installed is slightly cheaper than its copper counter part. ( But it had better be properly supported).
CPVC can (according to some manufacturers) handle temperatures to 210 degrees (98°C). Plastic piping is not subject to erosion and therefore can go as high as 10 feet per second (3.04 metres per second) BUT it is supposed to be designed to be 5 FPS (1.52 MPS). Up to now I am not impressed with any plastic valve. I also don't care for the load factor (plastic buried under ground can crush if not protected properly). I also do not know if "plastic" or the glue/primer leach into the potable water system?
I also have no idea if the long term effects of drinking water flowing through this piping system will affect you or your family. One more point about Copper and Stainless steel is that no bacteria can grow on these metals as far as I have seen. There are also lots of documented failures with some plastic piping systems used in some heating systems.
Personally if water conditions allow I would only trust copper for my family's health as copper is safe and has proven itself over the test of time. Good luck..
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