The Basics

How to choose water pipes

Without water pipes it is impossible to organize a heating or water supply system. They have to be changed periodically: the pressure often drops in old pipes, because they clog. The average service life of pipes under the condition of proper operation is about 30–40 years, but it also happens that they have to be replaced earlier than this period.

We tell you what to look for when choosing new pipes.

Material

When choosing a material, the purpose of the pipe must be taken into account. The most popular pipes for home water supply are polypropylene, metal-plastic, HDPE. Metal pipes are rarely chosen now: in quality, they are no better than the same polypropylene pipes, but they cost more. For example, stylish copper pipes, which are not prone to corrosion and chemical attack, will cost about 20 times more expensive than reinforced polypropylene pipes.

Polypropylene is a universal option. Pipes from it are suitable for any water supply and heating systems, resistant to deformation. For cold water systems, polypropylene pipes without reinforcement are suitable, for hot reinforcement is necessary: ​​without it, pipes can not withstand high temperature and pressure.

Plastic pipes are a structure of three layers. The two outer ones are usually made of plastic or cross-linked polyethylene, the inner one is made of metal, most often aluminum. Such pipes are flexible, durable, will last a long time. Easy to install, perfect for hot water and heating systems.

Cross- linked polyethylene pipes are  quite durable, flexible and can withstand high temperatures. They are considered less reliable than metal-plastic. In addition, quite demanding on installation. Despite this, they are also quite often chosen for cold and hot water supply, heating systems.

HDPE  – pipes made of low pressure polyethylene – durable, resistant to aggressive chemical environments, but are not able to withstand high pressure or high temperature. Because of this, they are more often used for wells, drainage, sewage.

PVC pipes are quite durable, easy to install and inexpensive, but can not withstand high water pressure. Because of this, their capabilities are limited – in this respect they are inferior to polypropylene pipes.

Copper pipes – reliable, durable, withstand high loads and temperature, are not prone to corrosion and external influences, look stylish. Of the minuses: very expensive and difficult to install. Such pipes are chosen by those who are willing to spend a lot of money on repairs.

If you want to save, but not lose in quality, take a look at polypropylene and metal-plastic pipes. They are universal, suitable for all water supply systems – hot and cold – and heating. Reliable and will last a long time.

Type of water pipes

Pipes are smooth, corrugated, and flexible. They differ in installation technology and durability.

So, corrugated pipes are more durable and flexible than smooth but cost a little more. Flexible is also smooth pipes made of polypropylene, PVC, plastic, some types of copper and steel pipes.

The main feature of flexible pipes is the ease of installation, because such pipes can bend without losing their properties. Most often, flexible pipes are used if the installation is complicated: for example, there are many obstacles in the way of the pipes, and there is not enough space. 

Reinforcement

Reinforcement increases the strength of the pipe, increases the service life. Reinforcement can be found in polypropylene and plastic pipes.

Polypropylene pipes are reinforced with aluminum and fiberglass. Metal-plastic – only aluminum. Pipes with fiberglass are considered more durable: unlike pipes with aluminum reinforcement, they are a monolithic design.

Determining which reinforcement the pipe has is simple: you need to check the cut. If a red ring is visible on it, the pipe is reinforced with fiberglass. If the ring is silver – aluminum.

Reinforcement is an indispensable element of a pipe if you plan to use it for hot water supply and heating.

Diameter

The diameter of the pipe determines its throughput. For home water supply and heating systems, pipes with a diameter of 15–20 mm are usually chosen. When choosing a diameter, you can use a simple rule: the longer the entire system and the more joints, turns or bends in it, the larger the diameter of the pipe should be.

An example . Pipes with a diameter of 15 mm provide a flow rate of 18 l / min: this is enough if you plan to use a shower, a sink in the kitchen and a washing machine at the same time. If the apartment has several bathrooms at a distance of 6 to 30 m, you will need pipes with a diameter of 20–35 mm and a throughput of 25 l / min.

To be sure of the choice of diameter, it is better to entrust the calculations to the plumber. He will be able to give recommendations on the choice of pipes and organization of the entire system.

Pressure

The scope of application depends on the pressure that the pipe can withstand. The maximum pressure is marked with the letters PN. For home systems, pipes with a PN value of 10, 16, 20 or 35 atmospheres are most often chosen.

PN 10 – pipes with a thin wall. They are used exclusively for cold water supply. PN 16 able to withstand temperatures up to 65 ° C, more durable and reliable.

PN 20 and 25 are universal, most often reinforced. Withstand high pressure and high temperature.

How to choose water pipes

  1. Decide on the material. The most popular and universal are polypropylene and metal-plastic pipes. Suitable for any water supply and heating systems. You can also choose copper pipes: they are as versatile, very reliable, but expensive.
  2. Choose the type of pipe – flexible or rigid. For complex systems choose flexible smooth or corrugated pipes.
  3. Check if there is reinforcement. It is necessary if you are looking for pipes for hot water or heating systems. Reinforcement also makes the pipe more durable.
  4. Clarify the diameter of the pipe – its throughput depends on it. The longer and more complex the system, the more water exit points, the larger the diameter of the pipe should be. For internal systems, pipes with a diameter of 10–20 mm are selected.
  5. Check what pressure the pipe can withstand. For complex systems and hot water systems, the pressure indicator must be at least PN 20.

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