Demystifying Pipe Types: A MoCo Plumbing Guide to Understanding Residential Pipes

The type of pipe used in a home’s plumbing system plays a vital role in its overall performance, durability, and safety. With various materials available on the market, understanding the differences between residential pipes can be a daunting task for homeowners. This beginner-friendly guide will walk you through the various types of pipes commonly used in residential plumbing, helping you understand their respective pros and cons.

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an existing one, or in need of pipe repair or replacement, MoCo Plumbing is equipped with the expertise to assist you in choosing the best pipes for your needs. Our professional team can guide you through the process, ensuring your plumbing system is reliable, durable, and tailored to the specific requirements of your home. Read on to discover the essential information about various pipe types and how MoCo Plumbing can simplify your plumbing decisions.

1. Copper Pipes: A Classic Choice for Reliability and Longevity

Copper pipes have been the preferred choice for residential plumbing systems for decades due to their durability, reliability, and resistance to corrosion. They’re available in three wall thicknesses – Type M (thinnest), Type L (medium), and Type K (thickest) – depending on the application and pressure requirements. Copper pipes are known for their longevity, with an expected lifespan of up to 50 years or more, depending on water quality and pipe maintenance.


– Proven track record of reliability

– Resistant to corrosion and bacterial growth

– Withstand high water pressure and temperature


– High material cost

– Requires soldering and experienced installation

– Susceptible to pinhole leaks caused by aggressive water conditions

2. PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) Pipes: A Modern and Flexible Option

PEX pipes are becoming increasingly popular in modern residential plumbing systems due to their flexibility, ease of installation, and lower cost compared to copper pipes. They’re made from a high-density plastic material designed to handle both hot and cold water applications, with excellent resistance to freezing temperatures. PEX piping also allows for the efficient delivery of water, minimizing the chance of water hammer noise and reducing energy loss through the pipe walls.


– Lower material and installation costs

– Flexible and easy to install, with fewer fittings needed

– Corrosion-resistant and less prone to water hammer issues


– Not suitable for outdoor exposure due to UV sensitivity

– Cannot be connected directly to a water heater without a heat-resistant fitting

– Some minor concerns about leaching of chemicals into the water 

3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) Pipes: Lightweight and Low-Cost Solution

PVC and CPVC pipes are common in residential plumbing systems, particularly for cold water supply lines, drain, waste, and vent applications. PVC pipes are often used for main water supply lines and drainage systems, whereas CPVC pipes are designed specifically to handle hot water applications due to their added heat resistance. Both materials are lightweight, low-cost, and easy to work with, making them a popular choice for plumbers and homeowners alike.


– Lightweight and easy to install with solvent-welded connections

– Low material cost and wide availability

– Long-lasting and corrosion-resistant


– Not suitable for high-temperature applications (PVC)

– Limited to residential and low-pressure applications

– Susceptible to cracking under excessive pressure or if exposed to freezing temperatures

4. Galvanized Steel Pipes: A Durable Yet Aging Option

Galvanized steel pipes were once a standard choice for residential plumbing systems due to their strength and durability. They are made from steel covered with a protective layer of zinc to prevent corrosion. However, in recent years, these pipes have seen a decline in use due to the inevitable rusting of the galvanized coating and the potential for lead exposure.


– Strong and durable with a proven track record

– Suitable for high-pressure applications


– Susceptible to internal rusting and eventual water quality issues

– Heavy and difficult to work with compared to modern alternatives

– Potential risk of lead exposure from aging pipes

5. Cast Iron Pipes: A Traditional Choice for Drain, Waste, and Vent Applications

Cast iron pipes have been used in residential plumbing systems for centuries, mainly for their strength, durability, and noise-dampening properties. While their use has diminished in modern homes due to material cost and weight, they can still be found in some older homes and historic properties.


– Extremely durable and long-lasting

– Noise-dampening properties for quiet drain, waste, and vent systems


– Heavy and difficult to install, requiring skilled labor

– Expensive material cost compared to modern alternatives

– Vulnerable to rust and eventual corrosion

Choosing the right type of pipe for your residential plumbing system is crucial for ensuring its reliability, safety, and durability. MoCo Plumbing can assist you in determining the best option based on your home’s requirements and local codes. Trust our skilled and experienced plumbers to help you make the best decision and provide expert installation, ensuring a high-performing plumbing system for years to come.

Consult MoCo Plumbing for Expert Pipe Selection and Installation

Understanding the various types of pipes available for residential plumbing systems is essential in selecting the most suitable material for your home. Each pipe type comes with its unique set of advantages and drawbacks, making it crucial to choose based on your specific requirements, local codes, and long-term maintenance considerations.

MoCo Plumbing is here to help you navigate the complex world of residential pipes and make informed decisions that cater to your home’s needs. Our team of professional plumbers can guide you through the selection process and provide expert installation services to ensure the reliability, safety, and efficiency of your plumbing system for years to come. Contact MoCo Plumbing today for assistance with all your residential pipe-related needs.



MoCo Plumbing LLC​

Client testimonials

MoCo Plumbing LLC​

Let Us Take Care of All Your Plumbing Needs

At MoCo Plumbing LLC, we love helping our communities in Montgomery County. We continually strive to meet and exceed expectations by making sure each customer receives the best service at the best price. We’re a straightforward plumbing company with straightforward prices, so when we visit your home or office to begin a project, you know exactly what you’ll get. Feel free to contact us anytime you have a plumbing problem.


(240) 286-1040