Copper pipes are used throughout your property for your water supply. They can be manufactured as either soft copper or rigid. It is highly corrosion resistant and lead free which delivers safe water for drinking. For plumbing pipes, it is the most used material since it is durable and long-lasting.
Copper piping has the great advantage of being able to be recycled into numerous other materials at the same metal purity, which makes it very sustainable and cost-effective to use.
A soft type of copper pipe can be moved and bent into place quite easily without the use of tools. Whereas harder types of copper or rigid copper need specialised tools to cut and join together.
What are the different types of copper pipes?
There are four commonly used copper pipes used in residential and commercial plumbing is Type K copper pipe, Type L copper pipe and Type M copper pipe. And for water supply in older properties, Copper DWV Piping is used. The letters indicate the size and thickness of the walls and diameter.
They are made from the same material and can be both rigid and soft, but the main differences between these pipes are the pressure rating and the pipe wall thickness. Suitable application is determined by the thickness and pressure rating.
For example, a copper pipe that has a thinner diameter and low water pressure rating is not suitable for construction-grade water delivery. And domestic water supply lines that require minimal water pressure will only need a thinner sized copper pipe.
These pipes also have colour coding to differentiate the various types and applications.
Types of copper tubing and pipes
Type K= Green
Suitable only for underground installation and are used for supplying water into the house. Its wall thickness is the largest and is used for heavy-duty water distribution.
Type L= Blue
Type l copper has a substantial wall thickness and is ideal for water supply lines. Type L has a higher pressure rating for residential properties and is the most common copper pipe used.
Type M= Red
This type of copper is used for supplying water into homes and because of its thinner wall thickness, it has a lower pressure rating ideal for general domestic water supply.
Is most commonly used for plumbing drains and vents in older properties. It is now replaced with PVC or ABS plastic pipes. It should only be used for above ground applications.
The different types of copper pipes
Understanding your plumbing system means you can make more informed decisions on maintenance, cleaning and preventing blocked and damaged drains. Copper pipes are extremely durable, provide a lead-free solution to your drinking water and are found in a lot of homes across Australia. If you are looking at purchasing a property, you can always use a DIY plumbing checklist to help you identify the types of pipes used.
We hope this guide has helped determine the type of copper pipes and water lines you have throughout your home.