Replacing plastic or copper piping is sometimes a complicated and costly venture. Despite the fact that both types of piping have similar applications, they present a number of different benefits and considerations to consumers.
Plastic, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride), piping has a resistance to condensation, abrasion and corrosion. PVC piping is quite flexible and offers high impact strength. Copper piping will not encourage growth of bacteria and is one of the most durable types of piping on the market. Copper piping has a high melting point, is bendable and will not shatter under stress.
When employed to move potable water supplies, copper as well as PVC piping can leave distinct tastes in the water. "Metallic" tastes may be encountered with water that has been transported through copper and "plastic" tastes may be experienced while drinking water that has been moved through a PVC piping system. Copper piping cannot handle acidic solutions; pinhole leaks will form in a copper piping system if acidic solutions are drawn through it.
Under undue stress, PVC piping will crack whereas copper piping will warp and bend. Copper piping requires more expertise to install. This is attributed to the fact that copper pipes are soldered together instead of screwed together like PVC piping. Proper soldering can be difficult to accomplish but is essential to make a copper piping system effective. PVC piping and fittings are bulkier than copper piping and fittings because they need room for threading at joining points. Copper piping in general is also much more expensive than PVC piping.