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Is a plastic pipe as good as copper?

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One of the most important choices to make while deciding on any plumbing system is the material used for the pipes. The top two contenders for this choice have been plastic or copper pipes due to their favorable properties for this specific application. There are a lot of differences between the properties of these two materials and these will be delineated in this article to determine the better choice for manufacturing pipes.

Plastic Extrusion Machinery

Copper pipes were extremely popular in the late 20th century for plumbing as it was relatively easier to replace different sections of the pipe system if it did not meet the requirements. Using copper pipe has some benefits such as that they have higher durability and last longer. These pipes can withstand high temperatures without losing their general strength and given their strength properties, they are more suited to withstanding high-pressure water. However, copper pipes are much more expensive than any other material that can be used for manufacturing pipe and they are not very flexible. One problem that occurs with a copper pipe in colder regions is that at freezing temperatures, these pipes may succumb to cracks if the water in the pipe freezes. 

Plastic pipes have become extremely popular in recent years as the choice of material for making pipes due to a number of different factors. There are different types of materials that can be used to manufacture plastic pipes so for the purpose of this article, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will be considered. Plastic pipes are generally more resistant to acids, alkalis and salt temperatures and they have relatively easier installation options compared to coppers pipes. Plastic pipes have better soundproofing properties so using plastic pipes can muffle the sound of water rushing in the pipes. Plastic is also a better heat insulator so lesser heat loss will be done through these pipes. However, plastic pipes have a shorter life as compared to pipes made from other stronger materials. Plastic pipes are not recommended to be used outside as high UV light is known to damage plastic pipes.

Given these properties of plastic and copper pipes, it can be concluded that plastic pipes function as good as copper pipes. The choice between the two pipes is mainly dependent on factors such as the temperature of the liquid it is supposed to handle and whether it is going to be installed outside or inside. For higher temperature liquid and outside application, it is generally recommended to use copper pipes. For all other uses, plastic pipes work perfectly fine.

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