What Is Utility Grade Copper Tubing?

Varieties L, M, DWV, and K are the four types of copper pipe offered by manufacturers. The relative pipe wall thickness is partially indicated by these letters. The wall thickness of a pipe is proportional to its diameter.

These letter codes are also used to match the color of a pipe to the type of pipe it represents. The hue aids in determining the copper pipe’s type.

Type K is represented by green, type L is represented by blue, type M is represented by red, and type DWV is represented by yellow. Type L copper pipes are thus referred to as blue, while type M copper pipes are referred to as red.

What’s the difference between copper tubing K and L?

The heaviest is Type K. Type L is a medium-weight pipe that is commonly used for water pipes in homes. If local codes allow, Type M is utilized underground or for light household water lines.

Before beginning any project, double-check your state and local codes. Take all necessary safety precautions. Every effort has been made to guarantee that this information is accurate and secure. Westlake and any contributors are not liable for any damages or injuries caused by the use of the material in this document.

What is the most common copper tubing grade?

Interior plumbing, fire protection, and some HVAC applications all employ Type L copper pipe. It comes in both stiff and flexible versions. Type L copper piping is the most prevalent, as it may be utilized in a wider range of applications than Type K. For repairing or replacing aging branch water lines, flexible Type L copper is a popular choice. Type L can also be utilized in areas where it will be directly exposed, such as outside the home. Copper of type L is narrower than copper of type K but thicker than copper of type M.

A blue stamp is commonly used to identify Type L copper. Professional plumbers utilize this kind for the majority of indoor domestic water supply lines.

What are the three types of copper pipe?

The most prevalent type of copper pipe is Type L, which can be found in interior plumbing systems. There are two types of copper Type L: hard copper Type L and soft copper Type L. The latter is more frequent for water line replacement within the house, while the former for outside the house because it’s more durable and will be exposed to the elements.

Is it okay for me to utilize Type M copper in my home?

Where strength and protection are required, Type L copper pipe is recommended. Type M copper pipe, on the other hand, is perfectly adequate for standard “in the wall” domestic plumbing.

Type L and Type M copper pipe can be found on the home center shelf, which may surprise you. The difference is in the copper pipe sizes’ wall thickness, and thus the pressure they can withstand. Because the external dimensions are the same, you may utilize the same copper fittings. To cut and sweat them, you utilize the same equipment, materials, and techniques. Underground, Type L is commonly used in hot water heating systems, commercial plumbing, and gas lines (where permitted). For residential installations, most plumbers employ the less expensive Type M pipe: “Type L pipe will last 300 years, but Type M pipe will only last 250,” one told me. However, check with your local building inspector because Type L is required in some regions.

Copper pipe can be damaged by acidic water with a pH of 7 or less. If you have a well and discover that the water is acidic after testing, you should use Type L pipe with a stronger wall, or better yet, “plastic CPVC pipe and fittings.” Even in sections of the country where the water is acidic, most “city water” is balanced to eliminate this problem.

However, veteran plumber Charlie Avoles believes that PEX is the finest replacement to copper (flexible plastic pipe). “We’re noticing that PEX has a lot of qualities that are tougher than copper, and PEX doesn’t appear to be as frail as CPVC becomes with age and UV exposure.”

Is it possible to bend type L copper?

To begin with, type L copper tubing cannot be bent. If it is, it could fail and cause micro-fractures, resulting in leaks and system vulnerabilities. As a result, plumbing systems in the United States require an excessive number of joints and fittings, which leads to the second reason.

Which copper is more powerful, L or M?

Copper pipes of type L or type M can be used to supply water throughout a residence all over the world. Certain jurisdictions, on the other hand, may require the use of type L pipes.

The primary cause is high water pressure, which is required by some municipal water sources to meet demand. L copper pipes are thicker and can handle more pressure than M copper pipes. As a result, before you buy them, speak with a local plumber in your region or consult your local government’s website for building codes.

What is the diameter of a domestic water line?

The first thing to consider when installing new plumbing fixtures or appliances to your home is whether your water pressure is adequate to sustain your improvements. Check your local building codes to find out how many “fixture units” (cubic feet of water utilized per minute) an appliance or new fixture has. This will inform you of the type and size of pipe that should be used at the hookup.

To determine what size pipe to utilize for water supply during a significant redesign or addition, calculate the fixture unit ratings for all your fixtures and appliances, then estimate the length of the distribution pipes. The main pipeline from the street to your home is usually 3/4 or 1 inch in diameter, with supply branches using 3/4-inch pipe and individual component pipes being 1/2 inch.

Remember that every foot your pipes stretch above your water supply, your water pressure drops by half a pound per square inch. A larger pipe may be required to provide optimal water pressure to fixtures on the second and third floors. In these cases, the local building code might assist you in determining the appropriate pipe size.

What causes copper pipes to turn green?

Oxidation causes patina, or the greenish color that occurs on copper pipes. When copper is exposed to water and air for an extended period of time, it oxidizes. While the oxidized layer isn’t dangerous, it does create corrosion in the copper. Copper oxide is the green color, and it is caused by the metal rusting.

The Statue of Liberty in New York is one of the most well-known examples of copper oxide. The greenish color is the result of the copper oxidizing on the outside of the statue, which has been there for a long period.

It’s vital to keep in mind that the patina isn’t the issue. Your copper pipes may benefit from a layer of oxidation. This is due to the fact that it develops a more water-resistant pipe that is less susceptible to other reactions.

Patina on copper pipes, on the other hand, indicates that the plumbing operation was not completed correctly in the first place.

What is the distinction between hard copper tubing and soft copper tubing?

The stiff copper line utilized throughout the home is hard copper. Where flexibility is required, such as in faucet supply lines, soft copper is employed. Before beginning any project, double-check your state and local codes. Take all necessary safety precautions.