Water Pipes

Plastic is mainly used for making water pipes. There are many reasons why plastic is the most popular choice for pipe manufacturing. Although steel, cast iron, and copper are still good pipe materials, plastic offers many advantages over them. In fact, plastic pipes have many advantages over metal pipes. However, if you’re going to use plastic water pipes, you must know what kind of plastic pipe materials are available and what the pros and cons of each type of material are.  In this article, we will look at why water pipes are made mostly of plastic.

plastic water pipes

Water Distribution Pipes

A water distribution pipe is a pipeline used to transport water from its source to where it’s needed. Water distribution pipes are usually made out of metal and plastic. There are two types of water distribution pipes: water mains and service lines. Water mains are large diameter pipes that deliver water from the main supply to your home. Service lines are smaller diameter pipes that connect your home to individual fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, etc. Water mains usually run under streets, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and parks. Service lines are located inside walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas of buildings. Water mains and service lines are connected using valves. Valves control the flow of water through the system. When you turn on your faucet, the valve opens allowing water to flow into the fixture.

How does a water pipe work?

Water distribution systems are either gravity fed or pumped based. Gravity-fed systems rely on gravity to move the water through the system while pump-based systems use hydraulics to push the water through the network. Gravity-fed systems rely on the force of gravity to move water through pipes. In this case, water is pulled down from the reservoir and flows through the pipes until it reaches a valve that controls the rate of flow. If the valve opens, water begins to flow. Pump-based systems are similar to gravity-fed systems, but rather than relying on gravity, they transfer water using hydraulic power. Pumping stations provide energy to drive pumps, which are then connected to other parts of the system. These pumps circulate water throughout the network by pushing it through pipes.

In addition to piping materials, other components include water metres, fire hydrants, pressure regulators, and other equipment necessary to deliver water safely and reliably throughout the community.

Materials Used in Water Supply Pipes

The three prerequisites for a pipe are that it be able to supply the required quantity of water, resist all external and internal forces acting on it, and be durable. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cast iron, copper, steel, and in older systems concrete or fired clay are all commonly used to construct water pipes. Here’s a brief overview of the most commonly used types of water supply pipes.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Pipes: This kind of plastic is most commonly used for irrigation piping, home, and building supply piping. PVC is durable, but contains the most harmful chemicals. 
  • CPVC: A chlorinated form of PVC, it is more resistant to high temperatures and pressures. PVC is commonly used in industrial plumbing and residential hot water lines for which standard PVC is not suitable.
  • HDPE: High-density polyethylene is highly durable and can be used in a variety of plumbing applications. It also allows water to flow easily inside since it has a low coefficient of friction, which lowers water pressure.
  • PEX: Cross-linked polyethylene is used for cold and hot water pipes, as well as freshwater systems in kitchens and bathrooms. PEX pipes are commonly colour-coded to assist plumbers in quickly determining which lines are hot and which are cold.
  • Copper Pipes: Copper is the oldest type of water pipe and mainly used for hot and cold water distribution. Copper pipes are very sturdy and last longer than any other type of pipe. However, they are expensive to install and are difficult to work with.
  • Galvanised Steel Pipes: Galvanised pipe was formerly the most popular sort of water supply line, but because labour and time required to cut, thread, and install galvanised pipe has diminished its usefulness except in rare cases. Large commercial applications still use galvanised pipe for water distribution.
  • Steel Pipes: They’re durable and reliable, yet heavy and expensive. They are immune to corrosion. Steel pipes provide a stable flow of water through the entire system.
  • Cast iron pipes: Cast iron pipes are a popular choice for high water pressure because they are quite durable. Cast iron pipes, on the other hand, are heavy and therefore unsuitable for remote areas due to logistic difficulties. Furthermore, their weight makes them difficult to transport, so their costs of arrangement and joining go up.

Size of Water Pipes

Water pipes come in various sizes. The size of the pipe depends on how much water needs to be transported. They range from 10mm to 1.5m diameter. Most residential homes use 3-4″ pipes. For example, a small bathroom may only need a 1/2 inch diameter pipe. On the other hand, a large home may require a 3 inch diameter pipe. Standard residential water supply line diameters include 7/8″ (20mm) and 9/16″ (23mm). 

Pipes are sized based on the amount of pressure used. For example, 5 psi is typical for domestic hot water systems. The diameter of a pipe determines its flow rate. A 20mm pipe has twice the flow capacity as a 2mm pipe.

Why are water pipes made mainly of plastic?

  • Plastic pipe is used for water lines because plastic has many advantages over metal pipes. There are many advantages of using plastic pipes instead of metal piping for water lines.
  • Plastic pipes are lighter than iron pipes, making transportation easier and safer than metal pipes since they do not rattle when handled.
  • Non-Reactive & Corrosion Resistant: A common problem with metal piping is that, when connecting dissimilar types, they can react and corrode. In contrast, plastic pipes for plumbing are resistant to chemical corrosion.
  • Low Heat Conductivity: Plastic piping can handle a wide range of temperatures without warping or cracking. The low conductivity of these pipes helps to keep the temperature of the water inside without creating condensation like copper pipes are prone to.
  • Plastic pipe is less expensive than iron pipe.  
  • They’re flexible, allowing you to bend them into different shaped curves and angles.
  • Maintenance: Plastic pipe can be repaired quickly and inexpensively. It’s easier to install, maintain, and control water flow through plastic pipe as well.
  • Plastic pipe is highly visible, which allows people to find leaks and other problems very easily. 
  • Plastic is recyclable. When you’re done using a plastic item, you can recycle it. Recycling helps conserve resources and reduces pollution.

Application of Water Pipelines

Water pipelines are used to transport water through pipes. There are many applications of water pipelines. Some of these applications include,

Indoor Plumbing Systems: These pipes are used for carrying water inside the building. They are used for sinks, toilets, bath tubs, showers, and faucets.

Outdoor Plumbing Systems: These are used for carrying water outdoors. They are used for lawn sprinklers, rain gutters, downspouts, and fire hydrants.

Fire Protection System- These pipes are used to protect people from fires. They are used for fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors.

Irrigation Systems: These pipes are designed to deliver water to plants. They are used for watering gardens, lawns, and trees.

Drainage Systems: These pipes are installed under roads and parking lots to collect rainwater and prevent flooding. They are used for storm drains, catch basins, and manholes.

The Right Pipe for You

Agru Australia is one of the leading suppliers of plumbing products in Australia. For the best pipes in your home, we offer a variety of piping systems and fittings. We manufacture large diameter flexible piping systems for use in water supply and drainage networks. Agru Australia supplies the following types of products: water pipes, valves, fittings, pumps and accessories, flanges, etc. Contact us today if you would like to discuss any of these products or if you require further information about our services.

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