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Copper or polypropylene pipes – What to choose?

The water installation and the heating system require increased attention because the comfort of a home is greatly assured by their proper functioning. The quality of both installation systems depends on the quality of the workmanship, the choice of the appropriate materials and the quality of these materials.

The pipes for the water installation and the heating installation can be copper or polypropylene pipes . Material choices are made taking into account several aspects: price, time resistance, yield, but also aesthetic factor.

Below, we show you the properties, use, advantages and disadvantages of each type of pipe, so you can make the best choice for your home.

Properties

Copper or polypropylene pipes

Polypropylene , or PPR, is part of the thermoplastic material category. Durable, rigid, polypropylene has high resistance to high temperatures, excellent chemical resistance and corrosion, and medium impact resistance. Polypropylene is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. It has a small weight, so it can be easily transported and handled.

Polypropylene pipes (PPR) are increasingly used in sanitary and heating installations due to their quality, easy manoeuvrability and low price. PPR pipes can be simple (no insertion) with composite fibre inserts or aluminium inserts.

Copper is a natural material, one of the first metals extracted and used by humans, there is evidence that copper has been used for water supply pipes since 2750 BC. High performance, copper is resistant to extreme temperatures, pressures and conditions, never ages and does not change its properties.

Copper pipes are the classic choice for sanitary and thermal systems. Highly resistant to wear, temperature and pressure differences in a plant, and external mechanical action. They have antibacterial character, being a healthy and safe choice.

Use

Both the water installation and the heating system can be built using both types of pipes: copper pipes or polypropylene.

There are, however, situations where a type of pipe is preferred to the other type.

Polypropylene pipes are recommended for underfloor heating in the floor or in the wall because the polypropylene is thicker and has a higher resistance to the seam or wall pressure and should not be insulated as it is in the copper. Instead, in the case of the apparent installation, the copper pipes show a lot better aesthetically, the polypropylene pipes having a massive appearance, especially in the joining areas.

Our advice : If the heating system is connected to the district heating system, PPR pipes are recommended because of the much higher resistance to chemical corrosion.

Advantages and disadvantages

Whether you opt for copper or polypropylene pipes , you should know that the workmanship for both materials is as easy and fast as working time is equal.

There are, however, differences, and both types of pipes may have advantages and disadvantages .

In terms of costs, copper pipes can cost even 20% more than polypropylene pipes . Instead, copper has an unlimited lifetime and a warranty of 30 years. Polypropylene has an average lifespan of 50 years and warranty varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

In terms of efficiency, polypropylene pipes are more efficient, do not lose heat, the heat transfer coefficient is very low. Copper pipes have a high heat transfer with the outside but can achieve the same efficiency as the PPR pipes, but only through a good insulation that involves additional costs .

In comparison of copper or polypropylene pipes , yet another advantage for polypropylene is its resistance to chemical corrosion much higher than copper. That’s exactly why I advised you to opt for this type of pipes if the heating system is connected to the centralised system, a system in which pipes are cleaned with chemicals that copper pipes would not withstand.

Instead, in the aesthetics, it points to copper pipes . The polypropylene pipes are massive and unsightly, the fittings being even larger and more bulky than the pipe itself, while the copper pipes are thin and pleasant to look. Copper pipes can also be painted in different colors to match the décor of each room. And PPR pipes can be painted, but in their case the paint does not last.

As for PPR , copper pipes show increased resistance to mechanical shocks and are more durable due to the fact that joints are made by welding. Instead, a copper pipe installation is more noisy than one of the polypropylene pipes , which isolates better sound.

We hope that our article has helped you choose between copper pipes or polypropylene for the installation systems in your home. If you have any further questions regarding copper or polypropylene pipes , do not hesitate to leave a comment on this article, our specialists will gladly answer!

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