If you are installing a water supply line at a newly built home or replacing a broken or leaking water line at your existing home, you have several types of materials to choose from. Years ago, water supply lines were usually galvanized steel or polybutylene. Neither of these types of materials are used today for water supply lines because they had a very high failure rate.
Instead, plumbers today usually use copper, PVC, or polyethylene pipe for water supply lines. Copper is generally considered the best material for water supply lines. It is easy to work with, durable, and strong. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive option. Also, copper pipe is available as either rigid pipe sold in ten or twenty foot sections or a softer version that comes in coils. Rigid copper pipe is put together will connectors and each connection is an opportunity for a leak to develop. Flexible copper pipe is sold in coils and has far fewer connections where leaks can develop.
PVC pipe is less expensive than copper and also very easy to work with, but it is not quite as durable as copper. In addition, like rigid copper, PVC is sold in sections and leaks can develop at the connections.
Polyethylene pipe is inexpensive like PVC, but has the advantage of being a flexible type of pipe that is sold in rolls. Polyethylene pipe can be installed more quickly because it does not need to be joined every ten to twenty feet. Fewer joints means fewer spots where leaks can develop. In addition,it’s flexibility also means that it can be routed around corners and obstacles easily.
Your plumbing professional can help you choose the right type of pipe to fit your needs and budget.