How Dependable Is Your Home's Plumbing? Owners And Buyers Should Take The Copper Test

February 8, 2002


Atlanta— When it comes to plumbing systems, the indisputable fact is that copper is the least likely material to cause household problems. Yet even though more than 80 percent of homes in the United States rely on copper pipe and fittings, there is a growing use of plastics in plumbing systems, mainly because of lower material costs. According to the Copper Development Association, this trend presents hidden dangers to the average homeowner and consumer.

"Homeowners typically do not worry about their piping, but maybe they should," says CDA president Andrew G. Kireta, Sr. "It's basically an 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' issue. However, consumers need to recognize the tremendous benefits of copper systems. Unlike many other materials, copper plumbing requires no maintenance, meets or exceeds building codes in all 50 states, won't burn or break down, and can last for the life of your home."

To help homeowners, real estate professionals and prospective homebuyers make educated decisions when it comes to plumbing, the CDA has developed a 12-point Plumbing Test. Not surprisingly, copper is the only plumbing material that can answer "yes" to each of the following questions:

The CDA 12-point Plumbing Test

  1. Does your plumbing material have a long-term, proven performance record?
  2. Is it impermeable; can it block contaminants from penetrating its walls?
  3. Can the joints withstand rapid pressure and temperature changes?
  4. Will it perform well in all weather, and is easily thawed, if necessary?
  5. Does it resist punctures and abrasions and not become brittle with age?
  6. Does it inhibit the breeding of harmful germs?
  7. Will it not burn, or give off smoke or toxic fumes, when exposed to fire?
  8. Will it withstand the weather and the sun's ultraviolet rays in outdoor applications?
  9. Is it maintenance-free and have a low lifetime cost of ownership?
  10. Will it add to your home's resale value?
  11. Does it have nationwide approval of building inspectors and engineers?
  12. Does it have inherent quality and value, or offer 'false economy' like some competing materials?

When compared to other plumbing materials, the health, safety and financial benefits of copper are significant. Copper is impermeable and biostatic-contaminants cannot penetrate it, and copper surfaces inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Copper tubing and fittings won't burn or melt or give off toxic fumes in a house fire. And, in the long run, copper plumbing systems cost about the same as other materials, when repairs over the life of the materials and higher home resale values are factored in.