Many of the homes built in the United States use copper piping to provide water. Houses that were built in the 1950’s often used copper instead of the traditional iron piping that water supplies used before that time. Iron is not as adaptable since it requires special equipment and a fairly good knowledge of how to manipulate it. One benefit of the change to copper is that it stays in good condition for a long time, unlike iron, which deteriorates quickly.

Types of Copper Piping

Two names are mostly used when talking about copper piping: soft and hard. Soft copper piping is the type that is usually used when repairs are being performed since it bends well and can adjust to fixtures. Hard copper piping is used for construction projects where you are building new fixtures and easy access to the wall.

Guidelines for Thickness

Copper piping comes in a variety of sizes, from ¼” to 2″. Most houses use the following copper piping:

  • Showers and tubs: ½”
  • Kitchen and bathroom sinks : 3/8″
  • Toilet and icemakers: ¼”

Color Codes of Copper Piping

In addition to soft and hard copper, there are three main types of copper piping that are used for different purposes. When you buy the copper, it is marked on the package in such a way as to identify it according to its function. The following types are those you mainly see:

  • Type M: This is what is sold most frequently. Red lettering designates this type. The copper is thin and easily adaptable. Residential construction largely uses Type M.
  • Type K: This type is the thickest copper sold. The orange lettering makes it stand out since it’s usually for underground water supplies. If it seems our of your realm, you may want to talk to a professional.
  • Type L: This type is not as thick as Type K, but it is thicker than Type M. Some states do require buildings to use this type, but not all. If a pipe is exposed, this type may be preferable since it is more prone to damage or being hit.

When it comes to plumbing, you’ll want to know the basics of what you’re working with so as to make every project a smooth success with no hassles. By knowing what copper piping is and the kinds out there, you can make sure you make a smart purchase.

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