What are the Pros and Cons of Copper Pipes?

If you have copper plumbing pipes or you need a pipe replacement and you’re considering your options, you may be wondering about the pros and cons. Copper pipes are still the standard hard pipe used in home plumbing systems. But, in recent years, the uptake of plastic pipes have become a more viable alternative. Let’s take a closer look at copper plumbing pipes to help you make an informed decision.


Copper Pipes are Durable

A copper plumbing pipe can withstand a water pressure up to 1000 psi and the average lifespan is 50-70 years depending on various factors, including: water quality, local climate conditions, operating patterns and more. For most families, a well installed copper pipe system can withstand virtually a lifetime of use.

Resistance to Temperature Extremes

Copper plumbing pipes are a popular choice with many people because they can withstand cold and hot temperature extremes. Copper pipes are less likely to freeze during the winter months when compared to other materials. A copper pipe is also corrosion resistant from slightly acidic water and it has a sufficient reactivity rate.

Reduced Water Contamination

The properties of your plumbing pipes can change the properties of drinking water under certain conditions. Copper plumbing pipes will not contaminate water to the same extent as iron, galvanized steel and lead. Of course, lead is extremely toxic and if you have lead pipes or other sources of lead in your home they should be removed.

Lightweight Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are lightweight which makes them easier to transport and install. This is a flexible material that can be extended over longer distances to connect different areas of the home. Because copper is a durable material it doesn’t need many support elements to secure it in place and to withstand your specific requirements.

An Environmentally Friendly Option

Many people install PVC and PEX plastic pipes in their homes and businesses. These are up to the task, but the manufacturing processes used to make these pipes emit harmful chemicals and gas emissions. It’s also worth noting that copper pipes are easy to recycle when they come to the end of their useful lifespan.


Metallic Tastes

The copper pipes can add a slight metallic flavor to drinking water which can be unpalatable for some people.

The Price

Copper is expensive when compared to PVC or PEX alternatives and the price is likely to rise in the future due to increased demand for this metal.

No Resistance to Acidic Water

If you have a supply of water with high acidity levels, you may experience issues with copper pipes and plumbing fixtures. This typically happens a few years after the pipes are installed when exposure to acidic water has degraded the inner pipe walls. Copper pipes should only be used in areas where you can guarantee that the water is pH neutral or slightly alkaline.

If you have problems with acidic water or you’re considering a copper pipe upgrade, contact your local water treatment specialist today.