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Understanding Your Piping Options

It happens to all of us eventually – the need to replace your pipes. Whether it’s just one or two pipes or your entire plumbing system, at some point, you’ll find yourself talking with your plumber about piping materials and repiping procedures. But when it’s time to make a choice, which type of piping is best for your home?

There are two main material types that you’ll have to consider – copper and plastic. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages and deciding between them can come down to the smallest of differences between the two.

Copper Pipes

Copper is the traditional choice for plumbing pipes. More resilient and without the toxins associated with lead and other metals, it’s found in antique and modern homes alike, and many plumbers out there prefer to work with copper piping due to its long lifespan and reliability. However, it’s not the cheapest option out there and doesn’t offer the same kind of versatility that modern piping materials do.


  • Durability
  • Natural antibiotic properties
  • Toxin-free
  • Heat resistant
  • Resists corrosion from high water pressures
  • Better for outdoor use
  • Already the material of choice for many plumbers


  • More expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Vulnerable to freezing
  • Noisier than plastic piping
  • Water may taste metallic without proper filtering

Plastic Pipes

Plastic piping comes in several varieties, including PVC, HDPE, and PEX. While there are differences between them, the same general pros and cons typically apply. Plastic piping sacrifices longevity for convenience and affordability, but it does have some pretty great benefits outside of the lower cost and faster install time.


  • Easier to install
  • More flexible
  • Cheaper
  • More resistant to freezing
  • Not as noisy as copper piping
  • Better heat retention and insulation
  • Higher water pressure


  • Can warp when exposed to hot water if not installed correctly
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Can be damaged by sunlight, so they can’t be used outdoors
  • Can require additional structures to support pipes
  • Not as resistant to chemicals like drain cleaner
  • Can leach toxins into water under certain conditions according to some reports
  • Non-recyclable

Remember, Every Home is Different

What works for someone else’s home isn’t necessarily what’s right for you. Your friends or neighbors may prefer plastic piping for its freeze-resistant properties, but you may need copper piping for your outdoor fixtures. Always keep your unique needs in mind when choosing a piping material, and never be afraid to reach out to a professional for more information and advice.

Do you have more questions about the types of piping available to you? Contact Donmar Company Heating & Cooling online or give us a call at (703) 457-8676 to get advice from our licensed plumbers!