6 Different Types of Home Plumbing Pipes & Their Uses

Mahon Plumbing Types of Plumbing Pipes and Uses

While we’re all used to seeing the standard PVC pipes under our sinks, there are many different types of plumbing pipes with various uses.

The plumbing in your home is one of the most important and potentially most complex systems that you have to worry about and maintain. From the outside, it likely seems like it should be a super easy thing to understand: pipes connect the water source to the fixtures, and water or waste runs through them. Upon deeper examination, it is much more complex than that, with many different types of pipes, each with its own pros, cons, and intended uses.


PVC is a piping that is only used for cold applications, specifically cold water or gas. Hot water can cause PVC to warp, so it is not an appropriate use. PVC comes in a variety of lengths and diameters, and it can be connected in very long segments. While PVC can be used, and often is used, in irrigation systems, it is vulnerable to sunlight – prolonged exposure can make it brittle.  PVC is a suitable replacement for copper in most homes and can be used for hot water. The range of lengths and diameters in more limited than with regular PVC, but it is the only PVC choice that can carry hot water.


Copper is the standard pipe used in residential applications, can handle both hot and cold water, and is lightweight and durable. However, copper can be very expensive, making large plumbing projects a cost nightmare. Copper is also used for gas lines in many areas, though the sulfur content in some regions can be a problem and cause flaking.


PEX is a very common replacement for copper in retrofit projects. It can handle both hot and cold water, and it is very easy to work with. PEX is a flexible pipe making it easier to work with than almost any other type of pipe. PEX is not intended for exterior applications, and like PVC, it can become brittle when exposed to sunlight (and since it bends, this is even more of a potential problem).


Black pipe is a very durable metal pipe that is often used for gas lines from the street to the home and for sprinkler systems. Black pipe is very heat resistant and very strong. It is available in multiple lengths and diameters, but it is not for the DIY plumber – have a professional handle the installation.


Galvanized pipe is a metal pipe that is dipped in a zinc solution to prevent corrosion. It is commonly found in homes today, but not as widely used in new projects since the ‘60s. It was a popular choice for supply lines for a long time.


CSST stands for corrugated stainless steel tubing and it is another flexible pipe. It is a great choice for installing gas appliances since it is flexible. It is easier to work with than steel, weighs considerably less, and bends to improve fit in small areas. CSST should be installed by a professional.

Maintain Your Plumbing With Help from Mahon Plumbing

If you still have more questions regarding your plumbing, we here at Mahon Plumbing are here to help. We have been serving the wider Baltimore area since 1994, so we have 25 years of experience to back up our fantastic service! Call us at our Baltimore location at 410-766-8566 or our Pasadena location at 410-636-7944. Be sure to keep up with us on social media by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 20th, 2023 at 12:41 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.