Copper Pipes and Fittings
Copper is a mineral that is mined from the ground. Pure copper can be melted and molded into various sizes, lengths, and angles.
Copper pipes and fittings are used in an endless variety of piping systems. They have a wide range of uses: for hot and cold water supply; for drain, waste, and vent (DWV) systems; for fuel gas supplies; and for transporting refrigerant in air conditioning systems.
The following is a list of some of the advantages of using copper pipes and fittings:
• Copper is a long-lasting material that provides relatively trouble-free plumbing installations. In fact, copper pipe installed 60 years ago may still be working successfully.
• Copper is easy to join and dismantle.
• It resists corrosion extremely well, and will not burn or support combustion.
• Copper is lighter in weight than iron, making it easier to transport.
• It is also easy to bend, reducing the number of joints and fittings needed to install pipe. This advantage reduces installation cost and improves performance.
A disadvantage of copper is its cost; it is more expensive than other pipe materials. However, because of its long-lasting performance, reliability, and other advantages, it is actually extremely cost-effective for plumbing applications.
Pipe is often referred to as tube or tubing.
Copper tubing comes in five different types: K, L, M, DWV, and ACR (air conditioning and refrigeration). Each type represents a series of sizes with different wall thicknesses.
The tubing can be hard-drawn copper, or soft and flexible annealed copper. Drawn copper is produced by pulling the tube through dies to reduce its diameter.
Plumbers must use copper pipes and fittings that are labeled and approved for use in plumbing systems. The labels on copper pipe contain very important information.