Nickel pipe, Galvanized steel pipe, PVC, nickel alloy pipe… as a piping system designer, you have many materials to choose from. As a result, it’s a choice you can’t afford to get wrong.
One of the first steps is picking between three major categories of piping material: metal, non-metal and nonmetallic-lined metallic pipe.
Here are some guidelines to help you with that choice. From there you can get down to the nitty gritty, choosing between nickel pipe, galvanized steel, non-metallics or any other specific option.
A main advantage of metal pipes is the ability to withstand high pressures. And, unlike some materials, increases in temperature don’t compromise this ability. Furthermore, metal piping lets you space hangers farther apart — saving money on installation and labor.
However metal is susceptible to corrosion. Fluids within a metal pipe can corrode it from within, while salty air and other natural forces can corrode it from the outside. Deposits on the inside of metal piping can also reduce flow. Not to mention that metal is often more expensive.
A major advantage of nonmetallic pipes is cost. Material costs are less expensive, and labor costs are generally lower, too, due to easy joining systems.
In terms of performance, CPVC usually never corrode — a major drawback with metal pipes. The insulating properties of nonmetal pipes are also beneficial: they decrease condensations, boost energy efficiency and make it safe to handle no matter the temperature of the liquid inside. CPVC is also lighter, making it easier to transport and reposition.
But CPVC also has its disadvantages. It can’t withstand high pressures, and its pressure bearing ability is affected by the temperature of the fluid inside it. More hangers are also needed to support CPVC pipe, which can be problematic in areas where there’s not much space to put them.
Nonmetallic-Lined Metal Pipe
An attractive middle ground between metal and CPVC is nonmetallic-lined metallic pipe, which minimizes the downsides of the other two materials. It’s not susceptible to internal corrosion or scale build up. And its pressure bearing ability matches that of metal pipe.
But all good things come at a price, and the disadvantage of nonmetallic-lined metallic pipe is cost. It’s easily more expensive than metal pipe and CPVC pipe. Its joining process is also tricky and time consuming. And breaks in the lining are often significant sources of future failures in the pipe system.
Those are the basics of metal, non-metal and nonmetallic-line metallic pipe. Do you think you’re ready to get into specifics — choosing between nickel alloy pipes, chrome, or a CPVC option? What do you consider when picking materials for your projects? Let us know.