What Type Of Copper Pipe For Hot Water Heater

Copper Pipe Types

Type L copper pipe is ideal in situations where strength and protection are required. Type M copper pipe, on the other hand, is perfectly enough for standard “in the wall” domestic plumbing. You might be shocked to learn that there are two different varieties of copper pipe available on the home center shelf: Type L and Type M. The difference is the thickness of the walls of the copper pipe diameters, and thus the amount of pressure they can withstand. Because the external measurements are the same, you may use the same copper fittings on both buildings.

It is frequently used underground, in hot water heating systems, in commercial plumbing systems, and for the installation of a gas line (where permitted).

“Type L pipe will last 300 years, but Type M pipe will last just 250,” one of them informed me.

It is possible that acidic water with a pH of 7 or below will be difficult for copper pipe.

Better still, use “plastic” CPVC pipe and fittings instead of the thinner-walled Type L pipe.

However, according to seasoned plumber Charlie Avoles, PEX is the most cost-effective alternative to copper (flexible plastic pipe).

type L or type K copper pipe for water heating?

Welcome! The following are the website’s rules, as well as some suggestions on how to best use this forum. To locate a contractor in your region, please click here. Which sort of copper pipe do you want to use for the hot water heating system? 0


  • You’re referring to the heating type “M.” Type “L” refers to residential use. Both may be used for heating, although there is a little price difference between the two. 0
  • Not of the type M Type M is the thinnest of the pipe types. I read somewhere that, as a general rule, Type K should be used whenever possible, Type L only when absolutely essential, and Type M only in exceptional circumstances. 0
  • sMI I believe the information you discovered is related to subterranean water service. “K” is a soft copper with a thick wall that comes in a roll form. “L” is a heavy-duty commercial/industrial structure with strong walls that is commonly found in my region. Even though I don’t have extensive expertise in every region of the country, I notice the letter “M” 99.9% of the time. As the saying goes, “If you can’t explain anything clearly, you don’t understand it well enough.” Albert Einstein was a brilliant scientist. 0
  • Type M should be used. In the case of hydronics, it is a closed loop system. Type L refers to wells and drinkable water, as previously stated (open loop). Only on government and industrial operations have I encountered type K
  • It’s so thick that you have to cut it with saws, since tube cutters are insufficient for the task. Bob Boan is an American businessman and philanthropist. You have the freedom to do anything you choose, but you cannot select the consequences of your actions. 0
  • Type the letters “L” and “M” Copper Tube: Copper tube is a type of tube that is made of copper. Using Type “L” for heating has only ever occurred in the context of bid specifications, which is the only other occasion I’ve ever witnessed it. The only time I utilized Type L tube in heating was when it was specifically mentioned in the plan/contract requirements, which was very infrequent. It’s possible that I ran out of Type M tube and needed a short piece to finish the job, and I happened to have a short piece in my vehicle. It was less expensive to utilize the short Type L than it was to go on safari in order to obtain a length of the Type M. 0
  • sTubing Type M tubing was always used for hot water heating, while L tubing was utilized on HW systems when we had to purchase the tubing underground because Type M gives less resistance to flow. I’ve always used Tpye L for domestic usage, and I’ve actually seen M used on a water heater in Queens, New York, and it developed pin hole leaks as a result of it. When it comes to commercial high rise buildings, we demand K tubing for both chill water and all hot water heating applications, and we also require brazed joints at every junction. 0
  • sType None of them are required to be used for heating or for household water, and any of them will almost probably be suitable for the purpose. There was a time when type m was not permitted in home water due to a rule in the plumbing code, but that limitation has since been lifted. Because it is less costly and is not subjected to high pressure or corrosive water conditions (at least in this area), I have always chosen M for heating systems. However, Type K has the advantage of being able to be bent, which makes it useful for coming up through the sills of an old house. However, because of the cost and the fact that it is much faster to install, and you don’t have to worry about igniting the house with your torch, HEPex is becoming more popular. 0

In terms of heating, you’re referring to type “M.” Households are classified as Type “L”. Either may be used to heat a home, although there is a tiny price difference between the two options. Type 0; not M. It is Type M that has the smallest diameter. I heard somewhere that you should utilize Type K whenever feasible, Type L only when absolutely essential, and Type M only in exceptional circumstances. 0;sMI In your search for subterranean water service, it appears that you discovered some information.

  1. “L” is a heavy-duty commercial/industrial structure with strong walls, which is common in my region.
  2. As the saying goes, “If you can’t express it clearly, you don’t understand it well enough.” Abraham Einstein was a scientist who lived during the early twentieth century.
  3. It is a closed loop system in the case of hydronics.
  4. Only on government and industrial operations have I encountered type K; it’s so thick that you have to cut it with saws, since tube cutters are insufficient for the task.
  5. The actions you choose are entirely up to you; you have no say in the outcomes.
  6. Copper Tube: Copper is a metal that is used in the construction of tubes.
  7. It was only when it was stated in the plan/contract specifications that I ever employed Type L tube in the heating system.

In comparison to going on safari in order to obtain a length of Type M, using the short Type L was more cost effective.

Type M was always used for Hot Water Heating.

For both chill water and all hot water heating applications in our commercial high-rise buildings, we require K tubing that is brazed at all joints.

Previously, type m was not permitted in household water under the plumbing code, but that restriction has been lifted.

However, Type K has the advantage of being able to be bent, which makes it useful for coming up through the sills of an old house.

However, because of the cost and the fact that it is much faster to install, and you don’t have to worry about igniting the house with your torch, HEPex is becoming increasingly popular. 0;

The Differences Between Copper Pipe Types, Explained

Image courtesy of depositphotos.com Throughout history, copper pipes have been utilized as water supply lines in homes, and you’ve undoubtedly noticed them hidden behind your cabinets or hanging above in your basement. Most people are aware that pipes are available in a variety of sizes, but what you may not be aware of is that certain copper pipes are thicker than others. You will be better prepared to make an educated decision when beginning a plumbing repair or restoration project in your house if you are familiar with the differences between copper pipe types and the appropriate applications for each.

1. Type K Copper Pipe

Type K copper pipe has the thickest walls and is the most durable of all the copper pipe kinds. The thickness of the pipe wall varies with the diameter of the pipe. The wall thickness of a 12-inch Type K pipe is.049 inches, whereas the wall thickness of a 34-inch Type K pipe is.065 inches. Because of its thickness, Form K copper pipe is also the heaviest and most costly type of copper pipe available. Type K copper pipes will not be found under your sink or attached to other plumbing fixtures.

  • Although the thickness of Type K makes it suitable for use in commercial plumbing, HVAC, and sprinkler systems, the material is most frequently encountered in underground water main installations.
  • Type K pipe, which is distinguished by green markings, is available in both rigid and flexible rolls, depending on the application.
  • Type K tubing is more likely to be employed in the rigid form for commercial indoor applications such as sprinkler systems than in the flexible version.
  • Pick of the Editors: Underground applications such as water mains benefit from the ease of use and longevity of Mueller Streamline Type K copper pipe coils (which are available at The Home Depot).

2. Type L Copper Pipe

With a wall thickness of.045 inches for a 34-inch diameter pipe, it is not quite as thick as Type K, but is still highly robust and may be utilized in a wide range of situations and applications. It is strong enough to be utilized in subterranean applications, however it is most frequently employed in the replacement and/or repair of water lines. Because hard water does not wear through the thicker walls of Type L copper pipe as quickly as it does through Type M pipe, it is generally the preferred choice for homes with known water difficulties, such as hard water.

It is the most widely used of the copper pipe kinds.

For most things, but especially for internal water lines, this product is ideal. Pick of the Editors: Mueller Streamline Type L tubing (10-foot lengths are available at The Home Depot) is a robust option for installing and repairing home water pipes. Image courtesy of lowes.com

3. Type M Copper Pipe

A 34-inch diameter pipe with a wall thickness of.032 inches has a thinner wall than a pipe with a wall thickness of.032 inches of Type K or Type L copper. In spite of the fact that this appears to be a point for the “cons” list, it is not: Because Type M copper pipe has less copper than Type A copper pipe, it is lighter, less stiff, and simpler to work with. The best part is that it is less expensive than the other varieties of copper pipe! Type M is distinguished by its red markings and is available in both flexible rolls and rigid tubes.

In reality, because of its reasonable price, it is the most often used copper pipe for home water systems.

Pick of the Editors: Domestic water lines are commonly routed with Mueller Streamline Type M copper pipe (available at The Home Depot), which is a popular choice due to its inexpensive cost.

4. Copper DWV Pipe

The initials DWV stand for drain, waste, and vent, which serves as a good reminder that DWV pipe is only allowed for use in drain and vent lines, among other applications. DWV pipe is known as the “odd man out” since it is the only copper pipe type that is not utilized in water systems. Pipe for copper DWV is available in bigger diameters than other types of copper, and it is recognizable by the presence of yellow marks. As a result, it has thinner walls than the other types of copper pipe, with a wall thickness of.040 inch for a length of 114-inch pipe, which is the lowest diameter accessible for DWV applications, the thinnest of the three available.

This type of pipe is commonly found in older homes, but if you live in a modern home, don’t bother looking for copper DWV pipe in your drain or vent lines; copper DWV tubing has been all but eradicated in new construction, with PVC pipe taking its place.

The Most Common Types of Copper Pipe Used in Construction

A handy reminder that DWV pipe is allowed for use solely in drain and vent lines may be found in the initials DWV: drain, waste, vent. DWV pipe is a bit of a “odd man out” in that it is the only copper pipe type that is not employed in water distribution systems. Copper DWV pipe has a greater diameter than the other varieties of copper pipe and is recognizable by the presence of yellow marks on the outside. As a result, it has thinner walls than the other forms of copper pipe, with a wall thickness of.040 inch for a length of 114-inch pipe, which is the lowest diameter accessible for DWV applications, the thinnest of the three possible sizes.

This type of pipe is commonly found in older homes, however if you live in a modern home, don’t bother looking for copper DWV tubing in your drain or vent lines; it has almost all been replaced with PVC pipe in new construction.

In older homes, this substance is most commonly found in the drainage and vent systems. Pick of the Editors Cerro copper DWV pipe (available at The Home Depot) is still occasionally used on repair work, despite the fact that it is no longer commonly used in new construction.

Copper Pipe Sizing

The actual outer diameter (OD) of rigid copper type pipe is always 1/8 inch greater than the nominal dimension, or what the pipe is referred to as in the industry. For example, a 1/2-inch copper pipe has an exterior diameter of 5/8-inch and an inside diameter of 1/2-inch. This holds true for all three of the most frequent types of new pipe, namely K, L, and M. Copper pipe’s internal diameter (ID) is defined by the wall thickness of the pipe, which varies depending on the pipe type. The internal or external fluid pressure may influence the kind of copper piping required for a particular application, as well as the installation, service conditions, and local building code requirements, among other things.

Common Types of Copper Piping

  1. Type K Copper Pipe: Of all the common varieties of copper pipe, Type K copper pipe has the thickest wall thickness. It is utilized in the construction sector for a variety of purposes including water distribution, fire protection, oil, HVAC, and a variety of other things. Type K pipe is available in both rigid and flexible forms, and it may be used with both flaring and compression fittings to create a variety of configurations. When used for major water lines and subterranean installations, it is preferred due of its thickness, which allows it to bear the pressure from backfilled dirt in trenches. Type L Copper Pipe: Type L copper pipe is utilized for a variety of purposes including interior plumbing, fire prevention, and some HVAC systems. It is available in both rigid and flexible versions, and it may be utilized with a variety of fittings, including sweat, compression, and flare. Form L copper pipe is the most often utilized type of copper piping because it may be used in a greater number of applications than Type K. Flexible Type L copper tubing can be used to repair or replace old water lines, while rigid tubing is more robust in this application. Type L can also be utilized outside the home in areas where it will be directly exposed to the elements. Compared to Type K copper, Type L copper is thinner, but it is thicker than Type M copper. Type M Copper Pipe: Type M copper pipe is narrower than both type K and type L copper pipe. Type M copper pipe is used for water distribution. Type M is available in both rigid and flexible configurations, and it is most typically utilized in hot water services and vacuum systems. It may be utilized with a variety of fits, including sweat, compression, and flare. Type M tubing is popular for residential projects because of its inexpensive cost
  2. A thinner wall implies less copper, which results in a lower price. Plumbing codes do not always permit the use of Type M copper in all places and applications, as is the case in several countries. Always double-check with your local building authority to see if there are any limits on its use. In many older residences and commercial buildings, copper DWV piping was utilized for plumbing drains and vents. In newer construction, PVC or ABS plastic tubing has largely taken the role of copper DWV piping. (For specific applications or usage, refer to your local code for further information.) In addition, it is only appropriate for above-ground applications and has a low-pressure rating, which is generally lower than the water pressure of the majority of municipal water distribution systems. In order to identify it from M type copper, DWV pipe is often marked with yellow markings.
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Choosing the Right Plumbing System for Water Heating

When it comes to water heater installation, deciding on the appropriate sort of plumbing system can be a challenging decision. Plumbing pipes and fittings must be sturdy, durable, and non-corrosive in order to be able to function for an extended period of time. Whether you’re working with copper, PVC, PEX, CPVC, or galvanized steel, the installation process may be complicated if you don’t understand the fundamentals or don’t have the proper equipment. Fortunately for you, we have the best guide for selecting the most appropriate plumbing system for your water heating requirements, as well as some installation suggestions, right here.

These pipes must also be able to operate at high pressures and deliver hot water 24 hours a day without interfering with the performance of the heating system.

Copper piping has traditionally been the most popular and widely utilized material, however newer materials such as CPVC and PEX are gaining in popularity.

Before utilizing any of the pipes indicated above, make sure you verify your local plumbing codes first.

Plumbingwater heaters: Basics

Plumbing, as well as electricity and natural gas, must be installed correctly. In addition to delivering clean water and removing wastewater, the plumbing systems also supply hot water for showering, laundering, and doing dishes. We also don’t worry about it until something goes wrong, such as a leak, a lack of hot water, or a stinky water supply. Pipes used for water heating in the house are used to distribute cold water and to transport hot water from a water heater to an appliance. It’s also possible to accomplish it in a variety of ways.

Hot water delivery

Taking a hot shower in the morning or evening is something that everyone enjoys. You just turn on the faucet and hot water is immediately available.

Because your plumbing is connected to the water heater, this is the case. The water heater is comprised of two pipes, one of which supplies cold water and the other which transports hot water to the fixture, shower, or other appliances in the home.

Re-Circulating systems

Recirculation can also be accomplished by the use of pipes. This is the approach that is most commonly utilized for delivering hot water quickly. It makes use of a two-pipe system: one that transports hot water from the heater to the sinks, and another that returns unused water to the heater. It appears to be straightforward, but it is not. It all comes down to keeping the water circulating through the plumbing system by utilizing the circulation pump, while the pipes are insulated to keep the water heated for a longer period of time, primarily when the plumbing system is not in use or when the plumbing system is passing through a space with a lower temperature.

Auxiliary/tank systems

In addition to delivering hot water quickly, this system does so without the need of the recirculation system or the pump. Instead, a tiny heater (POU) is often installed at the point of service. Because the POU and short pipe length provide immediate supply of hot water, there is no need to wait for hot water from the central water heater. The pipes used in these systems are a little less complicated. Ultimately, it all boils down to the pipes that run from your heater to your tank, and from your tank to your sinks.

However, it is generally preferable for the residence where the water demand is smaller since it conserves water.

Types of water pipes: Advantagesdisadvantages

Now that you understand how the plumbing and water heating systems interact, it’s time to learn about the many types of pipes available.


Copper is the most often utilized material in the plumbing industry. It has been in use for more than four decades. It is the most often used material for pipes of all types since it is exceedingly dependable and robust. Managing and installing it, on the other hand, might be a complete nightmare. Generally speaking, it has a high level of resistance to toxins and other pollutants. Additionally, copper pipes are quite resistant to corrosion, and they give good results when it comes to supplying hot water.

Copper is a more expensive option than other materials, not just because it is more expensive to purchase, but also because it is more expensive to install, as it requires sweat connections or compression fittings to link pipes together.

Copper is ideal for auxiliary plumbing systems in heaters since they require a more basic installation while still delivering outstanding heating performance, which copper is able to do in abundance.

Flexibility is advised for new installations, whereas rigidity is recommended for repairs and retrofits or in situations where solid copper pipe cannot be run.+ Extremely dependable, durable, and resistant+ No pollutants or rust are released into the environment.

Good insulation keeps water hot at all times, although it is more expensive than other solutions. Flexible for re-circulating systems because to its less weight and greater flexibility.

Galvanized steel

House plumbing systems are often made out of galvanized steel, which is almost as prevalent as copper as a material for plumbing systems. Despite the fact that it is excellent for heaters, it is more susceptible to corrosion over time. Galvanized steel may be an excellent material for heaters. Nonetheless, because of the possibility of rust formation, this is not the ideal option to use. Galvanized steel pipes, on the other hand, have the potential to live even longer than copper, maybe up to 100 years without deterioration.

However, it is not utilized as extensively as it once was due to the fact that it has a little influence on the water’s pH.

Check them out here.


PEX is a form of plastic that is made up of a mixture of polybutylene and polyethylene molecules. Because this type of tubing is extremely flexible, it is quite simple to install in most situations. Even though it is a terrific choice for water heaters because of how easy it is to manage and incorporate into houses, it is not the ideal solution for all applications. However, it should not be connected directly to a water heater since it might be damaged by the high temperature and the passage of time.

As a result, you will need to utilize it as a retrofit or extension to an existing pipe, or link it directly to the heater with a portion of other resistant material of at least 18 inches in length.

It is ideal for use in a recirculating system since it is both lighter and less expensive than copper and steel, while also providing greater flexibility for installation methods that are simpler.+ Amazing adaptability for re-circulating systems and other applications+ Heat resistance is higher than that of PVC or CPVC+.

Because of the high chemical makeup, it is possible that hot water will be contaminated.


It is a form of plastic that is made from the combination of polybutylene and polyethylene fibers. It is rather simple to install this sort of pipe since it is extremely flexible. Even while it is a terrific choice for water heaters because of how easy it is to manage and integrate into homes, it is not the ideal solution for all applications. However, it should not be connected directly to a water heater since it might be damaged by the high temperature and the passage of time. It will keep the water functioning efficiently.

As long as it is not directly linked to a heat source, PEX is still heat resistant and will survive for many years before displaying symptoms of degradation.

Recirculation systems provide incredible versatility+.

PVC and CPVC+ are less heat resistant than ABS. Extremely high flexibility and strength, which permits bending without the need of couplings+ Suitable for use with both hot and cold water. Because of the chemical makeup, hot water may become contaminated.

CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride)

CPVC is the same PVC material as before, but it has an extra chlorine component that increases its durability and resistance to impurities and corrosion, as well as its flexibility. Additionally, CPVC contributes to the uniformity of clean water pipe drinking quality and is effective with both hot and cold water. One of the most advantageous characteristics of CPVC is that it provides excellent insulation. Furthermore, it is less expensive than both copper and galvanized steel, yet it provides an unprecedented level of flexibility that neither of these materials can match.

CPVC may be the best option for a recirculating or auxiliary system, depending on your needs.

Installation is simple, and it is more flexible than PVC+.

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Types of connections used in plumbing

The soldering (also known as sweating) of copper pipe fittings is accomplished by utilizing flux, solder, and a torch to link copper pipes together. Threaded fittings are available in a variety of materials, including steel, plastic, and copper. Pipe dope or seal type should be used for connections (Teflon, for example). Solvent weld fittings are used to join together similar plastic pipes that have been cemented together with cement. Compression fittings link plastic, copper, or a mix of the three materials using a compression ring rather than glue or solder.

Tip: For simple and quick pipe repairs, push-on fittings are recommended since they are simple to use and are quick to install.

Water heaters

In order to offer hot water to sinks and showers and other appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, hot water heaters must first get cold water from house plumbing before heating and delivering it hot. Water heaters can be either electric or gas, tank or tankless. Tank-type heaters take a long time to heat all of the water that is stored inside the tank, whereas tankless heaters heat water as it passes through the heat exchanger, which is done on-demand, saving time and money. The hot and cold water pipes always run parallel to one another; they never overlap.

A problem known as plumbing crossover will occur if the pipes are wrongly connected (i.e., hot to cold and cold to hot).

How to save

It is possible to decrease heat loss and maintain the hot water 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than it would be if the pipes were not insulated, while also conserving water.

Use tube foam insulation (pipe sleeves) for this job, which can be obtained at any hardware shop, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, Home Hardware, Menards, and so on. Polyethylene, neoprene, and fiberglass are the most often used materials for insulation.


As long-lasting materials like copper and galvanized steel, they are also more expensive and time-consuming to install than other materials. PEX, on the other hand, is a lot more flexible choice that can withstand heat just as efficiently as PVC, but it is not as inexpensive as PVC, which is a plastic with remarkable durability but not as much heat resistance. In this scenario, CPVC might be an excellent choice because it is very heat resistant while also being quite resistant to freezing. Regardless of the situation, remember to consider your home’s plumbing system and how it will interact with your water heater.


Plumbing an electric water heater with copper needs a little more effort than doing the same procedure with PVC or steel pip, but it is not impossible. Out of consideration for the evident differences in the methods used to join fittings, there is also the question of where and when the fittings can be assembled. A section of the plumbing must be completed before it is connected to the water heater due to the high heat necessary to solder copper fittings and pipes. This prevents internal elements and wiring from being damaged during the soldering process.

  1. Using a wire brush, thoroughly clean the interior of a 3/4-inch threaded male fitting. Insert the brush into the slip-fit side of the fitting and rotate the brush three or four times counterclockwise to remove surface oxidation from the fitting
  2. The tubing cutter should be used to cut a length of 3/4-inch tubing that is at least 6-inches long. Using an emery cloth, clean both ends of the tube that was cut
  3. Then use a flux brush to apply flux to the inside of the threaded male fitting as well as the exterior of one end of the tube
  4. And Incorporate the tubing into the threaded male fitting by threading it in. When inserting the tube, use a twisting motion to ensure that all of the pieces are properly inserted. A torch should be used to heat the collar of the threaded fitting closest to the threads. The melted solder is drawn to the hot area of the junction by gravity. A weak or partial joint is created when heat is applied to the outside end of the slip fitting
  5. Allow the fitting and tube to cool to room temperature by allowing them to air cool. It is not recommended to submerge in water. The copper’s structure and integrity are compromised as a result of this practice. Wrap two to three layers of plumber’s tape around the threaded fitting
  6. Insert the fitting into the heater’s intake or output port and tighten tightly using a wrench
  7. Repeat the previous procedures for the remaining port
  8. Obtain access to existing plumbing by installing tubes and fittings. Before connecting the electricity to the water heater, run a pressure test via the pipes. Before putting the heater into use, make sure there are no leaks.

What Is the Difference Between L and M Copper Pipe

My home has copper pipes, and I’ve been studying about them while I’ve been doing some renovation work on my house. My research led me to believe that writing this post would be beneficial in explaining the distinction. Because L copper pipes are thicker than M copper pipes, there is a difference in the thickness of the two types of copper pipes. When used to distribute water across a home or structure, L copper pipes outlast M copper pipes by a factor of three. L copper pipes are more costly than M copper pipes, and as a result, M copper pipes are occasionally favored over L copper pipes.

Should I Use Type L or Type M Copper Pipe?

It is worth noting that the thickness of type L copper pipes differs from that of type M copper pipes. When should you use type L copper pipes, and when should you use type M copper pipes, is a question worth asking. As a general rule, type L copper pipes should be used for the distribution of water in a structure. Type M copper pipes are permitted for water distribution in the majority of jurisdictions (but not all). Type L copper pipes, on the other hand, will survive longer since they are thicker and will not need to be changed as frequently as type M copper pipes.

However, type M copper pipes are significantly less expensive than type L copper pipes.

As a result, some people choose to utilize Type M copper pipes rather than Type L copper pipes in order to save money.

In a recent essay, I discussed the circumstances under which copper pipes should be replaced.

You have the ability to read it. Copper pipes, on the other hand, have a lifespan of 80 to 100 years. Some plumbers, however, claim that if you use type M copper pipes instead of type L copper pipes, you will need to replace them after 20 to 30 years since they are thinner.

Some jurisdictions require Type L pipes

Copper pipes of type L or type M can be used for distributing water throughout a residence all over the world, regardless of the country. Type L pipes, on the other hand, are required in some areas, and you may discover this to be the case. The major reason for this is that some municipal water sources require high water pressure in order to satisfy the demands of the community. The L copper pipes, which are thicker than the M copper pipes, can resist higher pressures. As a result, it’s preferable to consult with a local plumber in your specific region before purchasing them, or to consult the building codes on your local government’s website before purchasing them.

However, it is your obligation to ensure that your project complies with local construction requirements.

As a result, prior to installing or replacing copper pipes, it is a good idea to double-check that everything is in order.

What Are the Different Types of Copper Piping?

Copper piping comes in a number distinct varieties, each of which may be distinguished by the color of the inscription applied to the exterior of the pipe. I’m curious in the many applications for which different types of copper pipe are employed. Here’s what I discovered. Copper pipes are classified into four categories: K, L, M, and DMV. Copper pipes of type K are the only kind of copper pipes that may be buried under the surface of the earth. Copper pipes of the L variety are used for water distribution, whereas copper pipes of the M variety are utilized for heating.

Pipes made of DMV material are often seen in older residences and have been phased out since plastic pipes are less expensive and simpler to deal with than copper piping.

Here’s a table that explains how to recognize the difference between the several types of copper piping and what they’re used for:

Type of pipe and color code Used for
K – green The only type of pipe that can be buried underground. Used for water supply into a building.
L – blue Located inside a building and used for supplying water throughout the building.
M – red Recommended to be used for heating systems. It can be usedfor water supply lines but not recommended
DMV – yellow Used for drainage and vents. Not widely used much anymore, and typically only found in old buildings.

Copper pipes will have a small strip of color and/or text applied on the exterior of them to identify the type of pipe it is. L copper pipes, for example, will have blue writing or a tiny strip of blue paint applied to them.

Thickness of the pipe and the pressure rating

Water is forced through pipes by the force of gravity. Furthermore, in order for water to be transported from the ground to a showerhead, or to an upper kitchen or bathroom, it must be pushed under a high enough pressure. Each type of copper pipe has been subjected to stress testing in a laboratory to see how well it performs under varied water pressure. The diameter and thickness of pipes, on the other hand, are not the same thing – which can be perplexing because a huge pipe might have thin walls and, as a result, can resist less pressure.

Under the same conditions, pipes with thicker walls will endure longer than pipes with thinner walls, which is a good thing.

Which Copper Is Thicker L or M?

The thickness of copper pipes is a significant variation between the many varieties available. As a result, what is the difference in the thickness of L and M pipes? Type L pipes are often thicker than type M pipes on the entire. L and M copper pipes are frequently available in diameters of 12 inches (12.5 mm) or 34 inches (19 mm). Copper pipes with a diameter of 12 inches L have a wall thickness of approximately 0.032 inches (0.8 mm). 12 inch M copper pipes have a wall thickness of approximately 0.045 inches (1.1 mm).

However, because L-type copper pipes will live longer than other types of copper pipes, they can withstand higher water pressures.

Copper, on the other hand, is very scarce and expensive to remove from the earth, and as a result, type L pipes are more expensive than type M pipes because they include more copper.

The following is a cost comparison between type L and type M copper pipes on an average basis:

Type of copper pipe Cost per 10 ft (3 meters)
L ~$125 (1 inch)
M ~$25 (3/4 inch)

*According to Lowe’s Home Improvement store, the price will be the same in 2021. The cost varies depending on the region and supply. Since of the significant price difference, M type copper pipes are preferred over type L copper pipes whenever feasible. Type L copper pipes, on the other hand, are suggested by plumbers because they last three to four times as long as type M copper pipes before they need to be replaced.


  • Fastplumbers.net.au: The Differences Between Type L and Type M Copper Pipes
  • Bobvila.com: The Differences Between Copper Pipe Types, Explained
  • Bobvila.com: The Differences Between Copper Pipe Types, Explained Mueller Streamline, according to Lowes.com Mueller Streamline 1/2-in x 10-ft Copper M Pipe, available at Lowes.com
  • 1-1/2-in x 10-ft Copper L Pipe, available at Lowes.com

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The Differences between Type L and Type M Copper Pipes

Copper pipe manufacturers construct soft and hard soft copper pipes for use in the plumbing industry. Copper pipes are mostly utilized in the distribution of water. Even without the use of a tool, a copper pipe constructed of soft copper has the tendency to bend readily. As a result, copper pipes and tubing are both referred to as tubing. Unlike soft copper pipes, pipes constructed of hard copper are inflexible and require the use of specific equipment to be bent.

Instead of bending hard copper pipes, they are chopped and put together to form a connection. Hard copper type L and type M pipes are used for the majority of water supply lines in residential structures nowadays.

Types of Copper Pipes

Copper pipe manufacturers provide four different types of copper pipe, which are designated as Types L, M, DWV, and K, respectively. These letters represent the relative thickness of the pipe wall to a certain extent. The wall thickness of a pipe is determined by the size of the pipe. Additionally, these letter codes are used to identify the type of pipe represented by the color written on the pipe. The color of the copper pipe aids in the identification of the kind of copper pipe. Type K is represented by green, type L is represented by blue, type M is represented by red, and type DWV is represented by yellow.

What are the uses of different types of copper pipes?

For each form of copper pipe, there is a corresponding use. DWV pipes, on the other hand, are not suitable for use as water supply lines since they do not have a pressure rating. Copper pipes of type K, which are green in color, are the only ones that can be buried underground because of their low conductivity. Their primary function is to give water to a residence. Types L and M pipes are the most suitable for distributing water throughout a house. Type L is distinguished by having thicker walls than type M.

Some municipal plumbing rules only permit the use of type L pipes in residential settings and do not permit the use of type M pipes.

The Differences between Types L and M

The pressure rating and wall thickness of types L and M are the most significant differences between them. The most often encountered copper pipe diameters are 12 and 34 inches in diameter. Type M 12 inch has a wall thickness of 0.028 inch, whereas type L 12 inch has a wall thickness of 0.04″. Type M 3/4 inch has a wall thickness of 0.032 inch, whereas type L 3/4 inch has a wall thickness of 0.045 inch. In general, type L is more expensive than type M. One of the reasons for the cost difference is that type L has thicker walls and so weighs more than type S.

Its shipping costs are also greater than those of type M, owing to the fact that it weighs more.

Because of the varied wall thicknesses, the inner diameter varies depending on the kind of container.

Residential Suitability of Type L and M

In most cases, unless specifically stated by municipal laws, copper pipes used for water distribution in the home are of the type L or M. Each variety has received favorable evaluations for the amount of water pressure necessary in municipal water delivery lines. Because Type K is more expensive than Type L, it is less suitable for burying in the ground in order to deliver water to a residence. Type M is preferred over type L by most property owners when working on large projects because the cost difference between the two types is significant enough to make the decision.

You may also get in touch with Fast Plumbers if you want the services of a plumber. Related:How to Replace Copper Pipes with PEXAngela2020-10-25T12:56:21+10:30How to Replace Copper Pipes with PEXAngela2020-10-25T12:56:21+10:30How to Replace Copper Pipes with PEX

III. Copper Tube for Heating Systems

When it comes to heating systems, copper tubing is a common choice for both new and renovated buildings. Contractors have discovered through trial and error that, when all parameters are taken into consideration, copper tubing outperforms any alternative material. Among the most significant advantages are their light weight, wide range of temper options, long-term dependability, and simplicity of connecting, bending, and transporting. For example, drawn tube is recommended in situations where stiffness and aesthetics are important considerations.

The use of annealed tube reduces the requirement for fittings to a bare minimum, resulting in significant labor and material savings during installation.

They are low maintenance and may be readily zoned to give varied temperature levels throughout the building.

These systems make advantage of the smallest and most cost-effective tube diameters available, as well as soldered junctions, and they need little installation space.

The Heating and Air-Conditioning Guide, published by the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), as well as material provided by manufacturers of boilers and other heating equipment, provide information on the design and installation of heating systems.

Steam-Heating Return Lines

Copper tube’s high corrosion resistance and non-rusting qualities make it ideal for use in steam-heating systems, particularly return lines. This ensures that traps, valves, and other devices may be serviced and maintained without difficulty. Condensate and hot water return lines should have a minimum diameter of two feet before they reach the heating medium, with the last two feet being double the diameter of the rest of the line. For example, if the return line is a 1-inch tube, it should be expanded to a 2-inch tube.

Radiant Panel Heating

It is possible to employ radiant panel heating, which is a modern application of an ancient principle, to successfully heat practically any form of structure. Panel systems heat surfaces and the air by circulating low-temperature hot water through coils or grids of copper tubing installed in a concrete floor or plaster ceiling and heating the surfaces and the air. Panel systems provide uniform warmth and comfort, as well as an inconspicuous heat source, total utilization of the floor space, cleanliness, and the avoidance of dust-carrying drafts, among other benefits.

  • Copper tubing is available in a variety of sizes and shapes.
  • Heaters, mains, risers, and grid-type heating coils are all examples of applications for hard temper tube.
  • Installation of floor coverings has the benefit of being inexpensive up front, making them particularly well suited for garages, schools, and churches.
  • When the temperature rises over this level, the inhabitants feel uncomfortable.
  • Heating panels are quick to respond to changes in heating demand, have little thermal storage, and require just a simple control system to function well.
  • 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch, and 3/4-inch soft temper tubing are commonly used for sinuous floor coils, with a center-to-center spacing of 9-inch or 12-inch between each coil.

The sinuous coils used in ceiling panel installations are made of 3/8-inch soft temper tubing with a tube spacing of either 4 inches or 6 inches between each coil. Soldered joints are a type of joint that is often utilized.

Flexible Copper Water Heater Connector

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Explore Pipes and Water Heaters

Ask yourself questions such, “Is PEX pipe better than copper?” and “Does PEX pipe require insulation?” when you begin to consider the possibility of building a home for yourself. Myron Ferguson discusses the numerous types of plumbing systems that are utilized in new house building, as well as some of the potential concerns that you should be aware of. This article is an extract from his book Build It Right: What to Look for in Your New Home, which you can purchase here. Many decades have passed since water pipes were composed of iron, which had corrosion issues and had a limited life span.

Then came copper pipe, which, while more expensive, had such significant benefits over iron pipe that it was eventually phased out of use.

In this post, we will discuss the many types of water pipes, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the two distinct types of drain pipes.

Plumbing designs are usually plain and uncomplicated, unless you desire anything uncommon, such as circulating hot water, in your system.

If you have the opportunity to check this in the model house, do do. You should also make sure that the hose bibbs on the outside of the house are easily accessible and are not positioned in a place where growing plants will make it difficult to get to them.

Copper Pipes Vs. Plastic Pipes (PEX Pipes, PB Pipes) – Which Type Of Pipe Is Right For Your New Home?

While copper has traditionally been the most prevalent form of pipe used in new construction, numerous varieties of plastic are becoming increasingly popular. The plumbing industry has been slow to adapt to the new technology, but three types of plastic pipes have already been certified by a number of building code organizations, including the Council of American Building Officials (CABO), whose regulations serve as the foundation for many state codes. It should be noted, however, that certain governments are taking their time in approving the use of plastic pipe in residential buildings.

  • You’ll need to look up the state codes in your area.
  • There was a severe problem with polybutylene (PB) connections, which resulted in a large number of lawsuits due to the damage done to homes as a result of leaking PB joints.
  • Cross-linked polyethylene has been available for many years, but its broad usage has been hampered by a general aversion to the material’s chemical properties.
  • Copper PipesCopper is the preferred material for plumbing subcontractors, despite the fact that installing copper pipe requires more skill than installing plastic pipe.
  • There have been instances of pin hole leaks in copper pipe in southern California, which are thought to be caused by chemicals in the water supply.
  • Pipes made of plastic |
  • CPVC, in contrast to PVC, does not soften when exposed to hot water.

When installed by a qualified professional, the installation times for CPVC and PVC are nearly identical.

Polybutylene pipes and cross-linked polyethylene pipes are similar in that they both require special fittings that are neither soldered nor cemented but are mechanical in nature.

Flexible polybutylene and cross-linked polyethylene tubes and pipes enable them to be used in a variety of various ways, each of which has distinct advantages, both during installation and later on in the home’s use.

Each output is connected to an uncut length of pipe that connects to a single outlet, such as a faucet, dishwasher, toilet, tub, shower, or washing machine, depending on the configuration.

As a result, installation durations are shorter than those required for copper pipes, and costs are cheaper in terms of both materials and labor.

(WIRSBO, a producer of PEX, provides a twenty-five-year warranty if the installation is completed by a licensed plumber, and a one-year warranty if the installation is completed by the homeowner.) The fact that each line coming from the manifold has just one faucet means that turning on a second faucet has minimal effect on the flow of water to the one that is currently flowing.

As a result, if you are having a shower and someone switches on a faucet somewhere else, it will have very little effect on the volume or temperature of the water in your shower. Both PB and PEX have been certified for use with hot and cold water, respectively.

Water Heaters

Make certain that the water heater is appropriate for your household. For the most part, contractors will go for the smallest (and least expensive) heater that is permitted by code. When you need hot water quickly, you have two options: recirculating hot water or an auxiliary hot water tank. Recirculating hot water is a type of hot water that circulates through a system. Hot Water that is recirculated You are probably already familiar with the concept of re-circulating hot water—or have you ever wondered how you obtained hot water in your hotel room so quickly?

  • One pipe transports hot water from the heater to the faucets, while the other transports any remaining water back to the heating system.
  • If the pipe is made of copper, it must be insulated in both directions.
  • According to WIRSBO, this is not essential with their PEX.
  • There is an up-front expense for installing the system, as well as a continuing cost for the power required to keep it running.
  • It is possible that you may recoup some of the initial investment because you will no longer be wasting water by running the water until it is hot (as previously).

It is desirable to utilize plastic piping in recirculating hot water systems because it is simple to install, does not have the potential noise concerns associated with copper, and works as an insulator in its own right.Auxiliary Hot Water Vanity counter-mounted water heaters, which are small and compact, may supply hot water almost immediately.

As with other hot water heaters, you’ll need to have gas or electricity delivered to the place where the heater will be installed.

WaterPipes and Outside Walls

Because of the risk of freezing, a smart house design will reduce the number of water pipe runs that run along the outside walls, although small lines of pipe are frequently found in these areas for kitchen and vanity sinks. Generally speaking, the outside walls of newer homes are well-insulated. In order for water pipes to be properly installed in these walls, it is critical that the pipes be routed toward the interior of rather than the outside of the walls. The wall insulation must also be built so that the majority of it is between the pipes and the outside wall and little or none is between the pipes and the interior wall, among other things.

Plumbers and insulation installers are aware of this and typically install insulation in this manner. However, it’s not a bad idea to double-check.

Protect Your Pipes And House | Nail Plates

Pipes that pass through studs or plates are constantly at risk of being pierced by wallboard fasteners, which are nails or screws that are 1 1/4- to 1 5/8-inches long and are pushed into studs behind the wallboard, according to the manufacturer. When the wallboard is installed, the installer will be unable to see where the pipes are located. Plumbers are required to add pieces of galvanized sheet metal, known as “nail plates” or “safety plates,” on the exterior of studs or plates in order to prevent the wallboard installer from accidentally driving a nail or screw through the pipe when installing the wallboard.

Beyond the apparent problem of a leak that happens immediately, badly positioned or missing nail plates can result in subtle problems that may not be noticed for several years after the first leak.

Another scenario is that a wallboard screw will enter a water or drain pipe, but the screw itself will act as a stopper until it rusts out a few years after the first incident occurred.

This type of guarantee is usually only valid for one or two years after the construction is completed.

Noisy Pipes

The way in which water and drain pipes are installed might help you to lessen the amount of noise they produce. Try this experiment while you’re visiting model homes: have your spouse turn on a faucet at one end of the house and listen to see if you can hear water flowing through another end of the house. It goes without saying that some houses are substantially better than others in this regard. When water is going through a pipe and it comes into contact with wood, the water becomes louder because the wood acts as a sounding board.

Plastic pipe used in water distribution systems offers a number of extra advantages in this application.

Additionally, copper will more quickly transmit noise along the pipe than will plastic.

Noise from the second-floor drain pipes can be reduced to a significant extent if iron pipes are covered with insulation.

Iron pipe, on the other hand, rusts, so be sure you know how long it will last in your location before having it put. Wrapping either iron or plastic with fiberglass insulation will assist to reduce the amount of noise produced.

Hose Bibbs

Hose bibbs should be installed on the exterior of your home. The majority of contractors install two: one in the front and one in the back. This is insufficient for the majority of us. If you have an RV pad, it is recommended that you install a hose bibb there. In any event, having a second hose bibb on at least one side of the home is a convenient feature to have. Bibbs, which are linked to both hot and cold water, should be put in the garage if you need to wash your car while it is still warm.

  1. The typical faucet that is used to combine hot and cold water has a restriction on the volume of water that may be sent through it.
  2. Make it clear where you want the hose bibbs to be installed, either in writing or with a design.
  3. hose bibbs must be equipped with a method of draining the water from them in the winter in regions where there is a risk of water freezing in them, according to plumbing rules.
  4. Both are acceptable.
  5. These valves are situated in an easily accessible, warm location where there is no chance of the valves becoming frozen.
  6. The “waste” portion of the valve is a stopper that may be removed to allow water to drain.
  7. In the fall, the home user must do the following:
  1. Close the stop-and-waste valve to turn off the water supply. Open the hose bibb and make sure that any hoses that may be attached are properly secured
  2. Alternatively, if the bibb and pipe do not drain on their own, the waste plug must be removed in order for the water to drain

The technique described above must be reversed in the spring. Unfortunately, not all plumbers adhere to the code to the letter, and not all inspectors ensure that they are doing so. There are far too many instances when the stop-and-waste valve is installed in a location where it is difficult to reach, rendering it essentially ineffective. You should insist on having the stop-and-waste valves installed where you can readily access them and that the pipes drain by simply opening the hose bibb if your builder or plumber does not agree that frost-proof hose bibbs are a good idea.

A piece of copper pipe is included in the frost-proof bibb as part of the bibb itself.

The water drains from the exposed section of the hose bibb when it is turned off, and no harm is done to the bibb.

Hoses with closed nozzles are sometimes left connected, resulting in the water being unable to drain.

This has happened frequently enough that certain plumbers in some areas have developed an aversion to using these bibbs at all. When utilized properly, they can successfully reduce difficulties associated with freezing.

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