How long does copper pipe last? It’s an important question if you’re investing in new plumbing for your home.
The lifespan of copper piping is not as straightforward as many people think. For example, there are different types, each with a different lifespan.
If you want to make the best investment in your home, make sure your plumber is installing the right type to meet your needs.
Types of Copper Pipe
You may have heard that copper pipe lasts 50 to 70 years. That’s true, but only for the mid-range pipes. So, here’s how long each type of pipe really lasts.
Type M copper pipe is the thinnest pipe that can be used for residential plumbing. While some people argue these pipes should last 50 years, in practice, it may not last more than 20. Copper pipe will corrode if exposed to water with high acid levels and the thin walls of M-type pipe don’t offer much protection against this wear-and-tear.
Some blame the early failure of copper pipes on acidic water, but choosing the thinner M-type pipe is a big factor in the shortened lifespan of these pipes. After all, you can’t always choose the acidity of your water as it comes in from the city. In addition, well water may not be balanced for pH level and can wear down pipes much faster than you expect.
L-type piping lasts at least 50 years, on average, but may last more than 100. Most plumbers would recommend using L-type piping because its thickness and durability give homeowners peace of mind. Quality copper piping can last for as long as you own your home, even if you have acidic water.
K-type piping lasts for at least 100 years. It is the thickest copper piping and is used for water mains in cities and for other non-residential plumbing applications. This pipe can withstand even higher pressure than L-type, but it is not necessary to have this level of durability for your home’s plumbing. Besides, these pipes are too expensive for most homeowners.
Why Choose L-Type Copper Pipe for Repiping?
M-type copper piping is acceptable by building code standards and cheaper than L-type, so why not choose M-type?
The simple answer is that L-type copper pipe lasts longer, and withstands higher pressure and more acidity, so you won’t have to re-pipe your home again.
While M-type meets building code expectations in most areas, it doesn’t meet building code everywhere. A short period of water pressure problems in your home could cause damage to your M-type piping. High acidity could also wear it down after 20 years.
The last thing you want to do is make a large investment in piping and have to replace it sooner than you expect.
Investing in L-type copper pipe is a wise decision if you plan on being in your home for the next 10 to 20 years. It’s also a good decision if you plan on passing the house down to your children.
If not, it can also be a great selling point when it comes time to sell your home.