Basic Types of Piping and Tubing
Pipe & Tubing Safety Tips
- When sweating a copper joint, use a metal flame shield in tight places to protect surrounding areas from catching fire.
- Wear safety glasses, a hat and gloves when cutting pipe or soldering a joint, especially if making a repair where you must reach over your head.
- Always have adequate ventilation when using solvents to prevent buildup of fumes
- Rigid copper pipe is good for new installation. Soft or flexible copper pipe is good for repair work since it can bend around obstacles without multiple cuts and joints.
- Type K is heaviest, used in municipal, commercial, residential and underground installation; Type L is medium weight and is the most commonly used in residential water lines; Type M is hard and thin.
- Recommended for light domestic water lines and not permitted in some city codes or for underground use.
- Common sizes are 3/8”, 1/2 and 3/4”.
- Refrigeration tube has moisture removed and ends sealed for better performance of refrigerants. Often used in heater connections but may corrode. For heater connections, use flexible brass or aluminum.
- Larger sizes also used for DWV (drain-waste-vent) applications.
- PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride.
- Used for carrying cold water, irrigation, as conduit and for DWV (drain-waste-vent) projects.
- Rated by thickness and strength. Common ratings (thickest to thinnest) are Schedule 40 (most common), Class 315, Class 200 and Class 125 (generally used for irrigation).
- Available in sizes from 1/2” to 2”. White in color
- CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride.
- Used for both hot and cold water supply or chemical distribution systems.
- Good for temperatures at 200° F in pressure systems and non-pressure systems.
- Requires special solvent cement that is different from cement used for other types of plastic solvents. Most solvents will indicate this on the can.
- Means Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.
- Made from a thermoplastic resin. Lightweight and easier to use than metal pipe.
- Commonly used for DWV (drain-waste-vent) applications or for underground electrical conduits.
- Available as either solid wall or cellular core construction
Black Poly Pipe
- Used for carrying low-pressure cold water. Common applications include golf course sprinklers, underground conduits or to carry corrosive liquids and gases.
- Good chemical and crush resistance.
- Lightweight enough to cut with an ordinary knife or a fine-toothed hacksaw blade.
- PEX stands for crosslinked polyethylene.
- Chief advantage is its flexibility and strength. It can make turns around corners without couplings.
- In a PEX plumbing system, a separate line is run from the main water supply to each fixture in a set up much like a circuit breaker box.
- Used for carrying hot and cold water.
- Excellent chemical resistance to acids and alkalis, but do not use for fuel oil, gasoline or kerosene systems.
- Do not weld with solvents. Join with heat fusion, flare, crimp ring or compression fittings.
- Has zinc coating that prevents rust if not scratched.
- Use primarily for carrying water or waste. Do not use for gas or steam.
- Common water sizes are 3/8”, 1/2”, 3/4” and 1”. Common waste sizes are 1-1/2”, 2” and 3”.
- Often sold in pre-threaded standard lengths, or can be custom threaded.
- Use only with similar galvanized pipe fittings, not with black pipe fittings.
- Measured using the I.D. (inside diameter)
Black Iron Pipe
- Not treated for rust resistance.
- Used for carrying steam or gas.
- Used only with black iron pipe fittings, not galvanized fittings.
- Measured using the I.D. (inside diameter).
Water Supply Tube
- Used to connect a water supply line to a faucet fixture, toilet or appliances. Several types available.
- Plastic type is flexible and inexpensive but not designed for exposed connections.
- Ribbed chrome type bends easily without kinking.
- Braided type features pre-attached connector nuts at both ends and can be flexed to fit.
- Chrome-plated copper or brass tubes are more rigid than other types and are good for exposed applications.
- The most common size is 3/8", with lengths ranging from 6" to 72".
- Economical and used in a variety of applications.
- Usually joined with pressure fittings and clamps
- Installed under sinks and tubs to route wastewater to the drain.
- Bridges the gap between the sink tailpiece and the drain line.
- The bend in the trap uses gravity to hold water and prevent sewer gas from seeping into the house.
- Attach using slip nuts
- Three configurations include: P trap, S trap and J bend.
- Most common sizes are 1-1/4” and 1-1/2”.
- Also available is a trap with flexible tubes that help in connecting misalignments of the tailpiece and the drain line.
- Available in plastic and chrome-plated brass
- Uses an overflow opening to control draining in a tub.
- The Spring type consists of an assembly controlled by a lever that moves a pop-up plug up and down. It is easiest to install, especially in retrofits.
- The Weight type consists of an assembly that controls a weight that lifts up or down out of the drain hole. It is also controlled by a lever.
- Also known as a P.O. drain.
- Controls the mechanism in a lavatory sink with a plug that can open or close the drain.
Courtesy of NRHA.org