Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Big box copper pipe vs plumbing supply copper pipe

PeteA
PeteA Member Posts: 169
just curious if anyone has found a differences in the quality of copper pipe between big box stores like HD and a plumbing supply house company. I know the differences between L, M, K but I'm not referring to those differences. If I compare apples to apples a 2 foot section of 1" type L from a big box store is nearly 33% cheaper.
Copper being a volatile commodity in the world markets is prone to price swings but I'm wondering is there a loophole in the pipe standards that the suppliers use to make the pipe so cheap in the big box stores which also makes it a lesser quality pipe for the long run for a worry free boiler install.
Any issues with big box copper?
Mad Dog_2

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    edited November 2023
    You're probably going to get a lot of opinions on this and no actual facts.
    Unfortunately I don't think anyone actually knows for sure.

    When I did my water service I did go out of my way to buy Mueller brand type K though. But, is it any better than anything else? I have no idea.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    PeteAMad Dog_2ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,295
    edited November 2023
    Look at the name stamped on the tubing. Mueller, Cero something like that.

    There are standards for tubing but who knows how strict the inspections are. I would guess the tubing is the same quality as at a supply house. I don't know of anyone having issues.

    But in this day and age anything can slip through the cracks.

    Also, big box store buy the stuff by the trailer loads so they get better pricing
    PeteAMad Dog_2
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 549
    edited November 2023
    My local home depot carries Mueller, the same pipe from plumbing supply houses.
    Your mileage may vary as your home depot may be closer to another manufacturer and buy from them.
    PeteA
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,793
    I doubt copper tube manufacturers make two grades of L and M copper tube? one for wholesale, one for box stores.
    If the tube has ASTM listings stamped on it and it has to meet that certification, I don't see a manufacturer risking their listing to do what? Lower the cost to box store.

    If anything the box store tube at a premium price should be a higher grade :) I doubt it is.

    If it is a no name import tube, and has the ASTM listings printed on it and it is not up to that spec, notify the FTC.

    I'm not sure you or I could know that, however?

    I bought some 1" L at HD this past Sunday. It is Muller Streamline. That company and brand name has been around for years.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    PeteAMad Dog_2
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,862
    edited November 2023
    I don't even know what brand they carry anymore, but I get all my copper from the big box. I had plenty of pinholes and other issues with Mueller and Cerro from the wholesale house at nearly double the price of the big box, so I'm content with whatever the big box has on the shelf now. I don't go through a ton of pipe, maybe 1500ft per year, but have not had any trouble since switching over. Same with PVC pipe- it doesn't make sense to buy from the wholesaler anymore due to cost.
    PeteA
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    GroundUp said:

    I don't even know what brand they carry anymore, but I get all my copper from the big box. I had plenty of pinholes and other issues with Mueller and Cerro from the wholesale house at nearly double the price of the big box, so I'm content with whatever the bog box has on the shelf now. I don't go through a ton of pipe, maybe 1500ft per year, but have not had any trouble since switching over. Same with PVC pipe- it doesn't make sense to buy from the wholesaler anymore due to cost.

    I think the last few times I bought PVC from Homer it was actually Charlotte Pipe made in USA.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    PeteAGroundUp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,295
    The only time I ever had copper tubing "trouble" was 1 time. This tubing came from one of the largest suppliers of PVF in New England and they sell tons of stuff.

    On this particular job we ordered every size from 3/4"-2" and propressed all of it. When we air tested it we had several 2" leaks every other size was ok.

    We cut the fittings out and replaced them with sweat. We had to get the job online and we didn't know if our propress gun or jaws were out of spec or bad fittings or bad pipe.

    The report came back from Viega that it was the 2" copper. It was made in England. The diameter was ok but when they rolled the tubing at the seam there was a slight dip that the propress was not enough to take up that miniscule gap.
    PeteA
  • PeteA
    PeteA Member Posts: 169
    Wow that's pretty interesting @EBEBRATT-Ed I would have never thought about something like that. Thanks for the info