Different Kinds of Water Pipes

March 30, 2017

There are a wide variety of pipes used around the house: water mains, heating, sewage, etc. And even if you are only talking about water mains pipes, not even all of them are identical. Over the years, many different materials have been used for this purpose. If you experience water damage, it may be beneficial if you can tell the plumber what kind of pipes can be found in your home. They may be able to fix the problem a lot faster just on account of this small factoid you provided.

If you have experienced water damage in Irvine or other parts of Orange County, contact Emergency Home Solutions, a 24-hour plumbing service, as well as skilled water damage restorators.

There are several types of plastic used for pipes, but these are the most common ones.


Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene was the first plastic material to be used for piping inside homes. It’s a durable plastic whose properties can be adjusted by varying the proportions of the components. LEGO bricks are also made of this material. It is not used in homes very often anymore because the joints between two pipes aren’t as durable as they are expected to be. Some regions don’t even allow ABS to be used.


Polyvinyl chloride is a very common type of plastic. It has been used for pipes since the 60s and is probably the most common material used. The plastic is rigid, usually white and resistant to chemicals. A subtype of PVC pipes is CPVC (Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) which adds increased heat resistance to the base material. All in all, PVC pipes are incredibly durable, cheap and easily replaceable if necessary.


Cross-linked polyethylene is a fairly new material. It is used for both cold and hot water since it is resistant to temperature fluctuations. Additionally, it is flexible and easy to cut. The only downside to this material is the cost, which is higher than other materials at the moment but is dropping as the material becomes more commonly used.


Copper is used for all kinds of water pipes, including hot, cold and HVAC pipes. What makes copper such a good material is its resistance to corrosion. However, it can be susceptible to damage by some types of chemicals and soil. Because of that, when used outdoors or underground, it needs to be coated with protective materials. Nowadays, copper is used less frequently, mainly due to the price. Cheaper options such as plastics are preferred.

Cast iron

Cast iron is extremely durable, and corrosion resistant, which makes it an ideal candidate for a water pipe. The best method of making cast iron pipes is centrifugal casting. It ensures that the thickness of the pipe, as well as structural integrity,  are uniform throughout the length of the pipe. Despite their resistance to corrosion, these pipes are quite brittle, so extra care needs to be taken not to damage the pipe during transportation or installation.

Galvanized iron

Galvanized iron or galvanized steel is just regular iron/steel which is then coated with a thin layer of zinc. The zinc coating is used to prevent water from corroding the pipe itself. These pipes are still in use today, though not very often. The main problem with galvanized pipes is the cost of installation and subsequent maintenance.

These are the most common types of pipes that exist in our homes. There are other, such as the dreaded asbestos pipes, but those are largely been replaced. If you experience water damage in Irvine, remember to call in a professional to help you with that problem. Emergency Home Solutions has been in business for over 15 years. Contact EHS today.