Who Says Plastic Pipe is as Good as Copper?
Seven Decades of Success and Counting
Copper tube and fittings have provided dependable service for more than 70 years. It's estimated that over 30 billion feet have been installed
in plumbing systems in North America.
Today, contractors, consulting engineers, builders and homeowners have a choice when it comes to plumbing tube and fittings. They can
choose copper or plastic. Many claims are being made that plastic products are as good as copper. But in reality, nothing comes close to
copper’s quality and reliability.
50-Year Warranty and More
Copper tube and fittings are backed by a transferable 50-year Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty for residential plumbing systems.
Total interchangeability is another plus for copper. Solder fittings and tube produced by all copper manufacturers are completely compatible.
No special system requirements peculiar to any one manufacturer are involved.
With plastic products, contractors are warned not to mix pipe and fittings from different manufacturers. If you mix materials from different PEX manufacturers’ systems, it may void the warranty as well.
One plastic pipe manufacturer even requires installers to complete a special training course on its products, or its normal warranty does not
Copper & Weather
Sunlight Can Degrade Plastics
There have been cases of ultraviolet rays from the sun degrading PEX pipe in as little as a few weeks. As a result, improper storage of PEX
pipe can result in rapid failure.
Copper systems are not affected by ultraviolet rays.
Flow, Pressure, and Reliability
Copper tube can handle pressures and temperatures several times greater than plastic plumbing materials. Just compare the data extracted
from Canadian codes, product specifications and installation handbooks.
There are times when you’ll need copper’s higher pressure capabilities. When you do, it’s good to know that copper can meet the challenge.
Check out the unrestricted flow characteristics of copper tube and fittings. Copper fittings are on the outside of the tube. Most PEX fittings
are inserted into the pipe. This means that the inside diameter of a PEX Brand A coupling is just 64% the size of copper, and PEX Brand B is
just 68% the size of copper.
Copper & Safety
Fire and Permeability
Copper water tube will not burn or give off toxic fumes in a fire. As well, copper tube is non-porous and non-permeable, meaning that contaminants like gasoline can not pass through the wall of an underground service tube into the drinking water supply.
Plastic plumbing materials, on the other hand, are generally classified as combustible piping by building codes. Also, some are permeable.
Certain plastic pipe materials should not even come in contact with products as common as cooking oil, certain insecticides, and a number of
pipe thread compounds and lubricants.
Copper & Environment
Recyclability vs. the Land Fill
Copper has economic value. Think of all the cut ends and short pieces which are collected on job sites and turned in to dealers for cash.
There’s no comparable demand for bits and pieces of PEX or CPVC.
Recyclability goes hand-in-hand with value. Copper retains up to 90% of its value when recycled. Only about 12% of the estimated 5.8 trillion pounds of known copper ore has been mined since copper’s value was first recognized more than 10,000 years ago. Why? Because copper
is so reusable and recyclable. Today, most new copper plumbing products are made up of over 80% of pure, recycled copper. On the other
hand, plastic pipe is made from petroleum products – a nonrenewable resource.
Copper & Costs
Check the Real Bottom Line
Material costs, installation costs, service costs, long-term performance, recyclability and scrap value need to be evaluated when selecting a material for any size of plumbing system. Copper is the clear choice when all factors are considered.
Remember that the copper you use now will perform an important function throughout its service life before being recycled into new products.
The Tradition Continues
2003 marks the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the introduction of copper plumbing tube in North America. In Canada, the first standard
for copper water tube was developed by the Canadian Standards Association in the mid-1930’s. Today ASTM Specification B88 is used throughout North America. Plus, in Canada copper plumbing tube is third-party certified by an independent testing organization.
CANADIAN COPPER & BRASS
Toll Free: 1-877-640-0946