Basic Types of Piping and Tubing 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

copper pipes

Copper Pipe

  • 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 pipe

PVC Pipe

  • 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 pipe

CPVC Pipe

  • 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.

ABS pipe

ABS Pipe

  • 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 rolled up

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 pipe rolled up

PEX Pipe

  • 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.

galvanized pipe

Galvanized Pipe

  • 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

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 coiled up

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".

vinyl pipe coiled up

Vinyl Tubing

  • Economical and used in a variety of applications.
  • Usually joined with pressure fittings and clamps

trap pipe

Trap

  • 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

tub drain

Tub Drain

  • 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.

pop-up drain

Pop-Up Drain

  • 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

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!