Message to Our Customers

Select the Right Pipe for Your Project

Gas and Water Pipes  
 
Pipes supply water, and sometimes natural gas to your house and drain used water and waste back out. They are also used outside your home to supply water to irrigation systems and for drainage. With so many piping materials available in wide variety of sizes, it's easy to feel confused or overwhelmed.  This guide will help you get a basic understanding of installed pipe systems in your home and help you choose the right piping material for your next plumbing project.
 

 

Preparation


Before replacing old pipe consult local building codes and regulations. Some areas of the country require installation by a professional, while others dictate the types of materials required for certain installations. Most of the time permits are not required for repair or replacement work, but they are required if you are running pipe in a new location. Always check with your local government's building inspection department to be sure of code and permitting requirements.
 
The first step in working with a pipe is to identify whether the pipe will function as a supply line, drain line or gas line.
 
        • Water supply lines carry water from a main or well to faucets and fixtures in your home
        • Drain-Waste-Vent, or DWV, lines remove waste and gases from your home.
        • Gas supply lines carry gas to your appliances.
  

Materials


The next step is to choose the right material, based on the function it will serve. All pipes are made of plastic or metal, and each type is used for specific applications. Refer to the tables below to learn more about some common types of pipes for water supply, drainage and gas applications and how they are used.
 

Water Supply


Materials

Points to Consider

CPVC • Primarily used for hot and cold water applications in residences
• Often replaces copper pipe in interior applications
• Available in 10-foot and 20-foot lengths and diameters of ½-inch to 2-inches
• Pipe and fittings join with primer and solvent cement or SharkBite® fittings
• SharkBite® fittings can be used as an efficient alternative to solvent cements or
  soldering
PEX • Used for hot and cold water interior pipes in residences
• Easy to maneuver around obstructions without using elbows
• Available in 100-foot rolls with diameters of ¼ to¾-inch
• Joins with plastic grip or metal crimp fittings or SharkBite® fittings
• SharkBite® fittings can be used as an efficient alternative to solvent cements or
  soldering
PVC(polyvinyl chloride) • Used for cold water applications only
• Commonly used for irrigation systems
• Available in 10 and 20-foot lengths
• Pipes used for pressure applications range from ½-inch to 2-inches in diameter
• Join with primer and solvent cement or mechanical couplings
Copper • May be used with hot or cold water
• Lightweight and durable
• Fits easily in tight places
• Available in 10 or 20-foot lengths in diameters of ½-inch to 2-inches
• Use M (red) and L (blue) rated copper pipe for water service and distribution
• Use M (red)-rated copper for indoor water distribution
• Hard copper is used for water applications and is joined by soldering, brazing,
  a compression coupler or SharkBite® fittings
• SharkBite® fittings can be used as an efficient alternative to soldering

Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV)


Materials

Points to Consider

PVC(polyvinyl chloride) • Available in 10-foot and 20-foot lengths
• Pipes used for Drain-Waste-Vent are 1½-inches or larger
• Join with primer and solvent cement or mechanical couplings
ABS • Used in mobile homes, residential and commercial sanitary systems
• Strong, light and easy to cut
• Joins with solvent cement
• Transition fittings allow for connections to steel, copper or cast iron
• Joins with plastic grip or metal crimp fittings
Cast Iron • Strong and durable
• Easily joins to plastic pipe with transition fittings
• Hubless pipe is joined with a shielded no hub coupling
• Hub-and-spigot cast iron pipes should be installed by professionals

Gas


Materials

Points to Consider

Black Malleable, (aka Black Malleable Iron, Galvanized Malleable Iron, Cast Iron) • Used to transport natural and propane gas from the street or a tank to the
  home
• Usually comes in lengths of 10 or 20-feet in diameters of ½ to 1-inch
Copper • Should be type L (green) or K (blue) when used to transport gas
• Use M (red)-rated copper for indoor gas distribution
• Not recommended for use with natural gas in some areas as sulfur content can
  cause interior flaking
• Soft copper is used for gas applications and is joined using compression
  couplers or a flare joint
PVC • May be used as main gas supply to the home
• For underground use only
• Wire run beside pipe allows detection by metal detectors for repairs
Polyethylene • Available in coils, for easy installation with minimal joints
• Connected by heat fusion or mechanical fittings
• Durable and provides long-term resistance to environmental conditions

Pipe Sizes


There are several plumbing piping dimensional standards. 
 
Examples: 
 
        • Schedule 40
        • Schedule 80
        • Copper tube size (CTS)
        • Standard Dimensional Ratio (SDR)
        • Cast iron soil pipe  
        • Sewer main or sewer and drain.
 
It is imperative that you know the sizing standard of the pipe you need. 
 
Always check local code requirements to confirm that the materials you select meet required standards. If you're not sure of the correct size or grade when replacing pipe, bring it the store so that it can be matched.
 

Tools to make your job easier


Cutting Tools


Tubing cutters will help you slice through plastic with ease while cast-iron snap cutters will make short work of cast-iron pipes.
 

Hangers


Horizontal pipes need support every 4 to 6 feet, so you'll need to install hangers. Types of hangers include wire hooks, copper two-hole straps, plastic hangers and plumber's straps. Always follow local code requirements.
 

Water Hammer Arresters


Also called mufflers, these devices stop the banging sound you hear when valves on washing machines, dishwashers and faucets slam shut. They also help prevent damage to both pipes and faucets.
 

Vents and Traps 


Vents filter air and gas out of pipes as well as provide air to help water flow. Traps are installed below sinks and keep sewer gases and other noxious vapors out of your house.
 

Caps 


Caps allow you to temporarily seal off the end of a pipe so you can turn the water back on.