Why Choose Copper Plumbing When Buying, Building, Renovating a Home

August 2, 1996


NEW YORK— At a time when plastics have appeared in some home plumbing, anyone buying, building or remodeling a home should take the kind of plumbing used into serious account, according to the Copper Development Association.

Even if plastics may cost less in terms of initial outlay, Andy Kireta, CDA's national program manager for plumbing tube markets, says to carefully consider which is best, copper or plastics, when it comes to so essential an element as plumbing in the modern home. "As have the overwhelming majority of builders," he says, "you'll find copper's advantages in durability, reliability, safety and health are clear."

"So, why is there an issue?" Kireta asks. "Well, plumbers may find some plastics easier to install. But consider the reasons favoring copper.

"Copper is used in more than 85% of all U.S. homes, and for good reason — with its dependable lead-free solder connections, it virtually outlasts the life of your home," says Kireta.


  • Copper plumbing systems require no maintenance, because joint fittings don't break down or pull apart.
  • Copper meets or exceeds building codes in all 50 states. It's governed by strict, long-established standards and is permanently identified for home inspectors. It's a natural, environmentally friendly material — not a synthetic.
  • Plumbers know how to install and test it, year-round, through a wide range of temperatures.
  • Copper is rigid, it doesn't sag over long runs and requires few supports.
  • Copper will withstand more than 1,000 pounds of pressure, even though normal system pressure is about 50-80 pounds per square inch.
  • Copper tube and fittings won't embrittle with age, so they can't crack or crumble years after installation. And they can endure repeated freeze-thaw cycles, although, of course, no plumbing should be allowed to freeze.
  • An open flame or electrical resistance heating can be used to quickly melt frozen water in copper tubing, because copper has superior thermal conductivity.
  • Fire temperatures can reach 1,500°F, but copper has a melting point of nearly 2,000°F. It even maintains pressure when subjected to flames, which is why copper is preferred for fire sprinkler systems.
  • Copper is impermeable and biostatic: contaminants cannot penetrate it, and it actually inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
" Finally, your local real estate agents will confirm that all-copper systems add value when it comes time to sell your home," says Kireta.

Note to Editors: Andrew Kireta is available for interviews.