Be an expert: know different types of water pipes

Pipes are circular tubular products used to transport fluids (liquids, gases, and fluidized solids).

Pipes are constructed for a specific design pressure that corresponds to a specific design temperature.

Pipe size, pipe schedule or thickness, pipe material, pressure withstanding capability, temperature withstanding capability and so on are all parameters connected to pipes.

Any pipe or tube designed to deliver drinking water to customers is referred to as a water pipe.

It depends on the circumstances whether the water is treated before distribution or at the point of use (POU).

Water is routinely treated and occasionally chlorinated before distribution in well-planned and engineered water distribution networks to prevent recontamination on the route to the end consumer.

Pipes used to transport potable drinking water in a house plumbing system are made of different materials than those used to transport drain water.

Your home’s plumbing system may employ only one type of material for the water supply pipes, but don’t be shocked if you find multiple types of pipes, especially in older homes that have had numerous plumbing repairs or modifications.

Types of Pipes

Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride Pipes (CPVC)

CPVC is a thermoplastic created by post-chlorinating PVC.

CPVC has a chlorine content by weight of 67 percent, compared to 56 percent in homopolymer PVC grades.

The heat deflection temperature at 1820 kPa increased from 68°C to 103°C as the chlorine content in CPVC increased.

However, at 23°C, its physical properties are very similar to PVC (Walsh, 2017).

The specific gravity of CPVC is 1.54, which is slightly higher than the specific gravity of PVC, which is 1.4. (Agarwal and Gupta, 2011).

It also has a higher modulus and tensile strength. Because of the presence of additional chlorine in CPVC, it has greater flame and smoke resistance.

Its flash ignition temperature is 482°C.

CPVC is resistant to mineral acids, bases, salts and paraffinic hydrocarbons, and it is also a good material for hot and corrosive liquids up to 98.9°C.

Most polar organic materials, however, such as chlorinated or aromatic esters and ketones, were not recommended for use with CPVC.

Neither PVC nor uPVC is used to transmit drinking water. CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is used instead.

Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride Pipes (uPVC)

uPVC is used for most plastic pipes in the world, as it is incredibly resistant to chemical erosion and has smoother inner walls that help to encourage water flow.

It also functions well in a wide range of temperatures and operating pressures.

It is incredibly strong, stiff and cost-effective, so is often used for sewage lines and exterior drainage pipes.

Under normal weather conditions, uPVC will not change shape, but it can be reshaped at extremely high temperatures.

uPVC windows are more energy-efficient than wooden or metal-framed windows.

In addition, uPVC can be used for door frames and conservatories.

PVC Pipes

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PVC pipe, also known as polyvinyl chloride pipe, is a type of plumbing pipe used for drain or vent lines.

PVC gained popularity initially because it was lighter and easier to work with than traditional galvanized steel pipe.

PVC pipe is relatively simple to install, requiring only a hacksaw and a miter box to cut.

PVC is glued together using solvents.

Galvanized Iron Pipes

G.I pipes are constructed of mild steel sheets. It has a Welded Seam Type joint along its length. G.I pipe is used to distribute gas, water, or any other liquid throughout the building.

Pipes of this type are manufactured in diameters ranging from 12 mm to 150 mm.

They are available in 6-meter lengths.

The thickness of its sheet’s wall varies according to its diameter.

This pipe is dipped in a zinc solution after it has been prepared.

This is known as galvanizing. The pipe is thus protected from rusting.

This pipe has an average age of ten years.

They are easily joined, and threading, cutting and bending them are also simple tasks.

They are connected using a socket.

These pipes are lightweight and inexpensive.

Acidic and alkaline water harms these pipes.

Polypropylene Pipes

This type of pipe is bendable and can be wrapped around various objects.

It is ideal for transporting hot liquids and gases in beverage and food processing applications.

It can be used to support small fluid systems or as a liner in metal piping systems.

Cast Iron Pipe

Cast iron (CI) pipes were widely used for the transportation of water and sewage before plastic pipes were invented.

They are one of the oldest piping systems still in use today and are being phased out in favor of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes.

Some cast-iron pipes are still operational, but the majority have deteriorated and must be replaced.

Cast iron pipes are expected to last 75 to 100 years, but evidence suggests that some have lasted much longer.

Cast iron pipes can withstand low wastewater pressures despite corrosion due to the thickness of their walls.

While cast-iron pipes corrode over time, the rust forms a layer over the remaining pipe, slowing corrosion.

The advantages of cast iron pipes continue to make them a good choice for installing in homes, but with less expensive and less time-consuming alternatives now available on the market, cast iron pipes are becoming less popular.

Copper Pipes

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For decades, copper pipe has been a fixture in the plumbing business.

This type of plumbing pipe has a lifespan of up to 50 years and is widely used in sinks, showers, tubs and other fixtures in both new and old homes.

Copper pipes are still popular among plumbers and households because they are corrosion-resistant and best suited to protecting water quality.

For water supply lines, many pipe sizes are available.

Copper pipes can withstand high water pressure and are resistant to both hot and cold temperatures.

It may also be recycled, making it an environmentally responsible solution.

However, there are a few disadvantages to consider.

Plumbers cannot utilize copper plumbing in narrow spaces due to its rigidity.

It is also the highest-priced form of plumbing pipe.

The cost of any project employing copper pipe will climb as the price of copper continues to rise.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Pipes (ABS)

ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) is a rigid pressure piping system known for its high-impact strength and durability, which work together to provide exceptional toughness.

It is suitable for use at pressures up to 15 bar and temperatures ranging from -40oC to 80oC.

ABS is particularly useful in subzero temperatures because it retains high levels of impact strength.

ABS piping is resistant to a wide range of abrasive slurries that would otherwise damage steel or other pipe materials.

It is non-toxic and taint-free, and it is widely used in food, soft drinks, and high-purity water.

ABS pipe systems are lightweight, rigid, and simple to erect.

Solvent cement is used to make joints, which do not require any special tools.

Brass Pipes

Brass pipe is a copper and zinc alloy.

It is widely used in and for a wide variety of household items such as locks, bearings, doorknobs and plumbing applications such as tubes.

Galvanized Steel Pipes

Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to prevent rust. This type of pipe – which replaced lead pipes for water lines in houses built before 1960 – was popular in houses built before 1960.

The issue with galvanized steel pipes is that the zinc coating eventually erodes, resulting in rust.

For decades, galvanized steel pipe was used for drainage, water supply, gas supply and a variety of other purposes.

While galvanized steel pipe is still in use (especially for gas supply), it is rarely used for water supply in new construction or remodel projects.

Each pipe end is threaded, and individual pipes are screwed into one another using connecting fittings

Galvanized pipe is classified as either hot-dip galvanized or electro-galvanized.

The hot-dip galvanizing layer is thick and uniformly plated, with strong adhesion and long service life.

The cost of electroplating is low, but the surface is not very smooth, and the corrosion resistance is significantly lower than that of hot-dip galvanized pipes.

Cross-Linked Polyethylene Pipes (PEX)

Cross-linked Polyethylene (PEX) is a plastic material made from medium- or high-density polyethylene that has been modified to have improved properties such as improved heat resistance and long-term strength and stability, making it an excellent choice for use in service lines, hot- and cold potable water distribution systems, residential fire sprinkler systems and hydronic heating applications.

For decades, PEX piping has been used in hot- and cold-water distribution systems, as well as hydronic radiant heating, in Europe.

PEX is the most widely used flexible plumbing piping for plumbing and radiant floor heating applications, having been introduced in the United States in the 1980s.

Steel Pipes

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Steel pipes are used to transport gas, water, or other liquids under pressure from one location to another.

Steel sheets are used to make these pipes. Small pipes have welded joints that are not visible along their length.

Large pipes have either a riveted or welded joint.

These pipes are not heavy. A welded joint can be used to connect them. They are positioned on Open support.

Such pipes could be easily bent. These pipes may rust if exposed to acidic or alkaline water.

This type of pipe is difficult to repair. Because of their thinner walls, they may also be pressed by external pressure.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipes

High-density polyethylene pipes are probably the most effective pipes on the market.

They are available in a variety of thicknesses and can be used in high-pressure environments.

This type of pipe can bend to a 90-degree angle and has a 50-year warranty due to its high quality.

Because roots cannot grow into this type of pipe, it is best suited for water and sewer lines in a variety of applications.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Pipes

This tubing can be used in plumbing for water-softening lines.

It’s resistant to a wide range of solvents, acids, alkalis and gases.

It is extremely stress crack resistant, flexible and long-lasting.

Polythene Pipes

Polythene pipes are used for cold water services.

These days, plastic pipes outperform the competition due to the following benefits:

1-Installation is simple.

2-Threading is not required.

3-Bacterial scale resistance.

4-Corrosion is not permitted.


6-Reduced weight.

So, while these are widely used around the world, they are limited to cold water supplies.

They cannot withstand high temperatures.

Vinyl Pipes

This type of tubing is commonly used in laboratories as well as in the home for applications such as home brewing.

It is not commonly used in plumbing applications, but we included it because it can be a useful tubing option for running liquids through at times.

Lead Pipes

Lead pipes are highly corrosion-resistant, flexible, and have a high hydraulic coefficient of flow.

However, lead in water can cause poisoning effects that are harmful to people. As a result, it is not preferred.

Asbestos Cement Pipes

The asbestos pipe is made of silica, asbestos, and cement, which are pressed together to form a dense, homogeneous material with high strength.

This pipe is available in 13-foot lengths with diameters ranging from 4 to 36 inches.

The pipe is available in a variety of grades, with the strongest rated for internal pressures of up to 200 psi.

The joint is as corrosion-resistant as the pipe itself and is flexible enough to allow for up to 12° deflection when laying pipe around curves.

Stoneware Pipes

In ceramic industries, these are made by burning soft soil at high temperatures.

These are used to carry drainage underground. Skilled labor is required for the installation of a stoneware pipe.

Concrete Pipes

these pipes use for heavy drainage water disposal, and concrete pipes of large diameters are used.

Smaller diameter pipes are used for small flows.

These are made from concrete only; no reinforcement is provided. These are pre-casted pipes.


[1] Hashmi, M., 2020. Reference module in materials science and materials engineering 2020. [S. l.]: Elsevier.

[2] com. n.d. PVC vs uPVC – Difference and Comparison | Diffen. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 March 2022].

[3] The Spruce. n.d. 5 Main Types of Plumbing Pipes Used in Homes. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 March 2022].

[4] n.d. Types of Plumbing Pipes | Learn What the Top 5 Are in This Post | NEIT. [online] Available at: <,(CPVC)%20is%20also%20used.> [Accessed 19 March 2022].

[5] The Spruce. 2022. 5 Main Types of Plumbing Pipes Used in Homes. [online] Available at: <> [

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