The amount of materials available to you when you are looking to complete a new or emergency plumbing project is sometimes overwhelming. There are choices along with a spectrum of materials and cost. To complicate matters, depending on the plumbing project, different materials may be more suitable than others. In this guide, we review the tips you need to consider when making a plumbing purchase, large or small.
Follow Plumbing Standards
There are many different organizations that post plumbing standards. The World Health Organization has outlined standards that should be followed by any plumbing body. Following these standards ensures that there is a minimum level of quality and safety of materials available. They also provide direction as to which materials are applicable for specific projects. When you go to the store and look for plumbing parts, do not assume that they have all met the standard. Check the packaging to see if the product has met a quality check by an external evaluator.
Choose the Right Material
There is no one right plumbing material. You must choose the one that is right for the job at hand. A large part of most plumbing projects will be the pipes used. Available pipe materials are PEX, Copper, PVC, black, galvanized, and brass.
You should use stainless steel pipes anywhere that you want a polished look or if you live in an area where rust is a high probability. If your project is looking to move water in a building, then you should use PEX piping. It is dangerous to use this piping outside of a building because the plastic can be damaged by the sun. Your skill level will dictate if you use copper pipes as they can require extensive soldering. If your pipes are going to be for potable drinking water, you want to look into PVC pipes. These pipes must be marked NSF-PW or NSF-61 to ensure they passed standard checks. Galvanized pipes should only be used for nonpotable water transportation as they rust over time and put rust in the water. Brass pipes have a longer lifespan than other plumbing materials and are good for hot water transportation when they are a blend of brass and copper. The final option is case iron piping. This is good for under the ground piping where sewage needs to be drained.
Regardless of the type of pipe material you select, you should be aware of possible chemical leaks and wear over time. Copper pipes are susceptible to hard water and PEX pipes have plastic that potentially contains PVA.
Without plumbing pipes and fixtures that comply with external standards set by a body, the risk of water-borne disease and outbreaks increases significantly. Besides that, installing or choosing low-grade materials or installing them incorrectly to cut corners can cost more money in the long run due to expensive repairs and replacements. Whether you are just getting into your own plumbing installations or have been doing it for a while, it is always worth your time to do research on the proper materials for your specific project before jumping right into the work.