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Copper pipe use for domestic

Around here rigid M is pretty well the standard for domestic with K (rigid or soft) required underground. With hard, alkaline water pretty much the norm for municipal systems, M seems to last indefinitely. Must say though that I tend to prefer the added insurance of L--as do some of the better (my opinion) plumbers around.

Comments

  • I was in a local supply house

    And a plumber told me it was OK to use type M for domestic water now . Any truth to this rumor ? This was in western Suffolk County , Long Island .
  • John@Reliable_2
    [email protected]_2 Member Posts: 104
    Ron, I think it's great for repeat business every 5 yrs!

    You sure you wasn't at H.D. [email protected]
  • Thats exactly

    what I said to him . He wasnt advocating using M , he was actually picking up L soft . He was just telling me the codes changed recently .
  • Interestingly enough...

    New Yawk is the ONLY place I've heard of that requires the use of L copper. Out west here, we've been using M for ever, and never had a problem. Course, we used the water before everyone else did, and it was hard enough to lay down a protective patina of lime scale. If your water is inherently soft, then L is probably a good idea and cheap insurance against early pipe failure.

    If your JHA has adopted the I codes, it is entirely possible that M as a minimum is the standard.

    ME
  • Richard Miller_2
    Richard Miller_2 Member Posts: 139
    A few questions for you Mark...

    If the water is known to eat copper?

    And the reason to use L is that it lasts longer than M but the same conditions still exist?

    Then why use copper????

    Because Grandpa did?

    Because Dad did?

    Because the other "Dead Men" did?

    Because the CDA said it's good stuff?

    Because in some areas it lasts forever, but in others it lasts 5 1/2 years?

    Why?

    I want to know.

    The "Dead Men" used whatever they understood to be the best material for the application available in their time. Will we do the same? Or will we worship at the alter of the "Dead Men" while missing the entire lesson their work taught?
  • Paul Cooke
    Paul Cooke Member Posts: 181
    L or M

    Seems to me that if your PH is off the mark, what difference does it make if you use L or M. Of course the L will last longer, but it will only be a matter of time before it will need replacing.

    Out west we see mostly M for residential work. Seems like the problems arise on springs or wells with mineral-hungry soft water. Soon the fixtures are stained blue-green and then the leaks appear. Have seen this with L and M.

    I'd like to know the role electrical grounding plays in the pitting of copper. Wonder if the CDA has anything to say about that.

    Interesting note about copper: I have heard that over 90% of all water systems installed in the U.S. are done with copper. Considering how many installations I see here in PEX and CPVC I was surprised at that figure.
  • Richard...

    Back east, a lot of the codes were written by staunch supporters of the union. They didn't want to lose control of their "craft", so they wrote the code such that it precludes the use of manners and materials that are craftless, i.e. plastics. I think you will find that even in DWV, that cast iron and copper has a strong foot hold.

    Times, they are a changin', and I think even the unions understand that if they stand back and watch, they will lose a good chunk of their market share to contractors using plastic.

    Plastic is not for every/everywhere. You also have to go with proven technology until the new technology has shed its first skin. I think plastic is now approaching it's second molting...

    If I did what my dad and grandfather did, I'd be running a front hoe for a living:-)

    Onward Christian soldier.

    ME
  • flange
    flange Member Posts: 153


    i dont know exactly what the correct answer is yet, but i got a call the other week from the brother in law, apparently he was hanging cabinets in the laundry room and put a nail right into his plastic water pipe. even though it was 1030 at night, it was a simple repair which didnt require a torch. still not sure on the whole copper/plastic debate, they each add a certain flavor to the end product, but i grew up tasting the copper and now the plastic tastes funny!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,034
    Properly installed

    is the key word :) I feel M is adequate for residential applications. Velocities under 8 FPS and assuring the water falls in the perimeters set forth by the CDA, as well as workmanship are important.


    Copper rarely "pinholes" due to wall thickness, alone. Outside (or inside) forces are always the cause of premature failures. Be surprised how many DHW recirc systems pinhole from unreamed connections!! Heavier wall would probably just buy "more time"

    I have seen underground K copper disintergrate in several years time, due to high soil ph levels.

    The perfect tube material just doesn't exist. Even the most current versions of Pex and composite pipe has a weak link. Often times the very chemical that is added to public water systems can be the nemsis of plastics especially when a "slip" ,in the monitoring of doseages happens!


    Knowledge of the quality of the water inside the pipes is becoming very important these days, be it potable or hydronic systems.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    round these parts...............

    you can us anything that will hold water.If straws could hold it they'd use it.I use mostly Wirsbo Aquapex in my new installs.The water here is 90% of the times well water.And the ph is typically lower.(6.5-6)I have seen M copper leak in 10 year old homes.Pex for water in these situations to me is a nobrainer.

    As far as nails in pipes............I have had HO's (one time)find one of my type M heat pipes in a wall with a nail.Nice shot!It was also antifreezed:)

    cheese
  • PJO_2
    PJO_2 Member Posts: 36
    I'm with HR...

    The most important parameter is the water itself, then select the appropriate tubing. While I'm not a contractor, I have a bit of time with the water end.

    Public treatment systems are required to add corrosion inhibiters when copper and/or lead levels rise above the limits...don't recall exact numbers, but I believe it's 0.3 ppm and 0.015 ppm respectively? As stated, it's when there is corrosion, and/or when the treatment for the corrosion is incorrect (by design and/or operation).

    For private wells, the problem is often worse because the homeowner is "used to it", or isn't aware at all...ingesting copper (or God forbid lead) even in small amounts for an extended period is very bad. For kids and pregnant women, it's even worse.

    If there's blue staining in a domestic system (with copper), it should be fixed...not just the pipe but the water itself, IMHO. Install the NSF plastic tubing, yes, but also check the water. As stated already, putting a thicker wall of copper does make it last longer, but also still "feeds" a bit of copper for ingestion.

    Take Care, PJO
  • Thanks for the heads up guys

    Just going by code , I had no idea that using type M was accepted practice on domestic water in many places . To see red letters on the hot and cold around here is sacreligous . On Long Island , I believe the Town of Huntington requires type L on domestic AND heating lines . A few months ago we went on a ski trip to the Poconos , and in a closet was an electric heater and all of it was piped in PVC . Try that here and I believe its a capital offence .
  • andy clifford
    andy clifford Member Posts: 3


    I live and work as a builder in the Huntington area (Cold Spring HArbor) and L "is" code. I don't understand the big hub bub about the extra dollar for a length of L over M.
    Like plumbers around here don't make enough money? I hear some doctors are trying to make more of an income so theyre switching over to becoming plumbers. LOL
  • andy clifford
    andy clifford Member Posts: 3


    I live and work as a builder in the Huntington area (Cold Spring HArbor) and L "is" code. I don't understand the big hub bub about the extra dollar for a length of L over M.
    Like plumbers around here don't make enough money? I hear some doctors are trying to make more of an income so theyre switching over to becoming plumbers. LOL
  • andy clifford
    andy clifford Member Posts: 3


    I live and work as a builder in the Huntington area (Cold Spring HArbor) and L "is" code. I don't understand the big hub bub about the extra dollar for a length of L over M.
    Like plumbers around here don't make enough money? I hear some doctors are trying to make more of an income so theyre switching over to becoming plumbers. LOL
  • masterplumb
    masterplumb Member Posts: 93
    M tubing

    As of January 1, 2003 New York State switched codes (nys I believe has different code from nyc) to ipc, with some stiffer restrictions.Most of it is the same as the old state code with some differences. And yes you can use m tubing on domestic(if you fall under nys code)Chris
  • masterplumb
    masterplumb Member Posts: 93
    M tubing

    As of January 1, 2003 New York State switched codes (nys has different code from nyc) to ipc, with some stiffer restrictions.Most of it is the same as the old state code with some differences. And now you can use m tubing on domestic(if you fall under nys code)Chris
  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    I'll give you 2 good reasons for copper Rich

    Here on Long Island, I see "L" copper systems in constant use from the 1940s - no massive failure as the Pex proponents like to claim. That's over 60 years of PROVEN performance - not long-distance claims. The only time we see failure is when they have an electrical ground problem or well water - which can be treated. As far as I'm concerned, the only true test is time....let's see how that pex holds up over the next 50 years. The second reason craftsmanship - which is rapidly going out of style in this trade. The dumbing down of our trade concerns me, and i will fight a delaying action as long as I can. Mad Dog


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