Plumbing Terms to Know: Piping 101


Don’t know a Schedule 40 PVC pipe from a Schedule 80 PVC pipe? Or maybe you need to brush up on the different uses for flexible copper pipes as opposed to rigid copper piping. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are researching for a home improvement or expansion project, or you need to conduct repairs for drain lines or other broken pipes, here is a glossary of some various types of piping has a handy guide.

  • Copper Pipe: Used for water supply systems, this is more durable than plastic piping, and it even fights corrosion. Copper pipes are either flexible or rigid.
  • Flexible Copper Pipes: are generally used for appliances such as dishwashers, feeding water through a more supple form of copper. As it is pliable, it can get warped. To fix this, you have to cut out the twisted portion and put in a new piece through soldering or compression fittings.
  • Galvanized Steel Pipe: You can find this piping in older houses, for water supply and branch drain lines. While these pipes are tough, you can’t expect them to last longer than 50 years.
  • PVC Pipe: PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes look white or off-white, appear unaffected by chemicals, and practically never ever wear down. That would be why it’s the most common type of pipe utilized to make drain lines.
    • Schedule 40: Usually speaking, this strength of PVC piping can hold up for residential plumbing. Double check with an inspector though.
    • Schedule 80: This pipe can make up the supply line for cold water, but it is prohibited in some places, as this pipe can’t really handle hot water.
  • Rigid Copper Pipes: As the name conveys, these types of pipes do not get so easily bent. To cut out a portion of rigid copper, it takes a hacksaw, wheel cutter, or tube cutter. You can find these pipes in three different thicknesses:
    • Type M: the thinnest version of rigid copper pipes, this can still handle most plumbing around your house.
    • Type K & Type L: these are the pipes of choice for outdoor plumbing.

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Whether you need a little help to tackle a home improvement project, or you need to conduct some serious repairs of your home’s plumbing, you can find the expert help you need at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. Our team is ready to help even after business hours, and that includes the weekend. Whatever the emergency, we can provide a fast response at no additional cost. And even if you face a seemingly small problem, no project is too small or too great for us to take on. Call a Kansas City plumber for a quote today!

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