Plumbing has been around since the days of ancient Egypt when plumbing was carried out using mostly lead (Pb) hence where the word plumber comes from, but how have we gone from a mostly lead or mostly copper infrastructure to focus on plastics in the plumbing industry of late? Well, it mostly started when we started to discover that Lead was actually quite poisonous and that it would be contaminating the water supply, causing health risks to many people, especially in the Tudor era of Britain.
When that was discovered, as an industry we switched to a copper format before making the late 21st century jump to plastics, mostly polypropylene – a polymer that the majority of our plumbing products are made from, that is stronger and more flexible that regular PEX.
For starters lets look at it from a consumer benefit point of view… Are plastic plumbing products really that useful to them? The answer is both yes and no. Having plastic plumbing parts means less effort to repair and focus on, they are unlikely to suffer from corrosion, but unfortunately, they also have their fair share of damage from rodents and also freezing pipes. See, when water freezes inside plastic, it can cause the pipe to become cracked.
However, once you look at the installer or plumber benefits of polypropylene you can really appreciate it. Plastic systems are easier to put together (often using hand-assembly methods) without the need for a hundred and one tools to be on-hand. It’s easy to replace and also plastic is cheaper, which will positively impact the spending of yourself and your customer.
Of course, plastic or copper may have to be used in certain situations where it is not recommended to use one of those materials (i.e: using copper to connect to hot water heaters, because plastic can melt with elongated contact with a hot water heater). Should this not be the case however, we would recommend a polypropylene manufactured fitting, unless it needs to go somewhere where it needs to look fancy, in which case we’d recommend chrome plated brass fittings.