What Are Copper Pipes?


Copper pipes are tube-like materials that are composed of copper metal which is reddish-brown in color. Chemically, copper is identified by its atomic number i.e. 29, and the chemical symbol ‘Cu’.

The key purpose of copper pipes is served in the construction industry wherein they are used to carry fluids i.e. water, gas and oil from one place to another.

Copper pipes remain popular among plumbers because of their robustness, resistance to corrosion and non-toxicity. It serves a number of purposes because of these qualities.

Copper pipes are used in electric wiring, for water pipes, and in air conditioning and fire sprinklers. The most commonly used copper pipes in residential and commercial usage include type K, type L and type M.

Types of Copper Pipes

  • Type K Copper Pipes: This is the thickest copper pipe out there which is used in underground installations and water lines. This is because of its ability to withstand pressure. These pipes can be found in both rigid and flexible forms and are compatible with flared and compressed fittings.
  • Type L Copper Pipes: The most common type of copper pipes are the type L pipes that are used both underground, indoor and in places where they are in direct exposure to the sun. It is thicker than type M but thinner than type K. Common applications include HVAC applications and plumbings.

They are both rigid and flexible and are compatible with flared, compressed, and sweat fittings.

  • Type M Copper Pipes: Vacuum systems and heating services are most likely to use type M copper pipes that are thinner than both type K and type L. They are most likely used in residential spaces. It is also more affordable than the other two.

They are both rigid and flexible and are compatible with flared, compressed, and sweat fittings.

What Are DVM Copper Pipes?

Though the above three types are the most commonly used copper pipes in both residential and commercial areas, there is also a fourth type called the DVM pipes. This is usually seen in older constructions and few places use it these days.

The reason they have become archaic is because of their inability to handle high pressure. They are thin-walled pipes and are distinguished by yellow marks.

Features of Copper Pipes

Copper pipes exhibit a number of features that make them a popular material in residential and commercial construction.

1.    Resistance to Corrosion

The fact that copper is resistant to corrosion makes it the preferred choice in several construction industries. This is the reason copper pipes provide superior flow capacity and are thereby chosen for internal pipes and fittings.

2.  Thermal Conductivity

When compared to other metals, copper can conduct heat in a far superior manner. Copper is one of the best conductors of heat when compared with aluminum and steel. In simple terms, the work done by a thick aluminum pipe will be the same as that done by a thin copper tube. This quality also allows to space copper tubes far more widely.

3.  Environment Friendly

The presence of plentiful copper reserves makes it a great option as compared to lesser environment-friendly options. It emits way less toxic emissions than synthetic alternatives. Besides, a lot of copper used in construction comes from recycled material that is way more beneficial for the environment.

4.  Malleable

Copper, as a metal, is extremely malleable. It can be turned into several shapes and sizes without compromising on its structural strength.

Benefits of Copper Pipes

Copper pipes offer a number of benefits that explain their immense popularity in the construction and plumbing industries.

1.    Durability

Made to withstand high pressures, copper pipes can last several decades, sometimes even 60-70 years. This is because of its ability to stand the test of time in both scorching summer months and freezing winter months.

2.  Rust Resistant

The lack of iron makes copper resistant to rust. This is perhaps the reason it is used widely in water pipes. This doesn’t mean copper pipes would never corrode, but the time taken by them would be way more than other metals.

3.  Antimicrobial

Copper has several antimicrobial properties that kill several bacteria and microbes as soon as they come in contact with the metal. This is the reason copper pipes are known to keep the water clean and hygienic.

The Final Word

Copper pipes remain popular among plumbing professionals because of the many advantages of using them. They are robust, malleable, and cost-effective. Above all, they are good for the environment and keep water in the pipes clean.

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