If your home has old galvanized steel pipes that are corroded and need to be replaced, your plumber will talk to you about the right kind of pipes to use for the replacements. Galvanized steel pipes aren't used as much as they once were since it was discovered that they rust as they age. Here's a look at some choices in plumbing pipes your plumber might recommend instead.

Plumbing Inlet Pipes

Pipes that carry drinking water have to withstand high pressure and they need to be made of a material that won't leach contaminants into the water. Pipes also have to tolerate both hot and cold temperatures. Two types of pipes are ideal for inlet pipes that carry drinking water: copper and PEX. Copper pipes have been used the longest and they have a long life. They're a good choice for drinking water since they don't leach dangerous minerals or chemicals in the water.

However, copper pipes must be repaired and installed by a plumber since the fittings need to be welded. The pipes are also rigid, so the plumber may need to open up your walls when it's time to put the copper pipes in. Another drawback of copper plumbing pipes is that they're expensive when compared to PEX pipes.

PEX pipes are a type of cross-linked plastic. They're durable but flexible. They are color-coded so once they're installed, it's easy to track the hot and cold water lines. Plus, PEX pipes connect water faucets to the main distribution manifold, which is a little different than traditional steel pipes. The connections at the manifold have valves that let you turn off the water supply to each pipe so you can control water leaks in your home without having to turn off the water to the entire house.

An advantage of PEX plumbing pipes is they are flexible so it's easy to snake them through small openings and bend them around obstructions. A plumber might be able to install new PEX pipes with less disruption to your walls and flooring. These pipes don't contaminate water and they tolerate hot and cold temperatures as well as high water pressure.

Plumbing Drain Pipes

Your plumber may recommend replacing rusty galvanized steel pipes if the rust is flaking off and contaminating your drinking water. This isn't a problem with drains, so your drain pipes might not need to be replaced right away unless the pipes are corroded and worn out. Two choices for drains are PVC and ABS. PVC is usually white and ABS is often black. PVC is a more common choice in new construction since it can tolerate sunlight and is an ideal material for drains and outdoor pipes. However, PVC pipes are not for inlet pipes since they don't do well with high pressure and hot water.

Learn more about your options by contacting residential plumbing services.