Galvanized Pipes vs Copper: Which Is Better for My Florida Home?

February 06, 2019

We’ll get straight to the point...when it comes to galvanized pipes vs copper pipes, copper is the better option.

However, the best option for your Florida home is actually neither galvanized or copper, but PEX piping.

Below, we’ll cover the details of:

  • Galvanized piping

  • Copper piping

  • PEX piping

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Galvanized

If your home was built (or piped) before 1960, there’s a chance you have galvanized pipes. Galvanized pipes are made of steel that has been dipped in zinc to protect the pipe from corrosion. This type of piping used to be popular due to its durability, but is no longer regularly used in homes.

The main problem with older galvanized pipes is that they were dipped in naturally occuring zinc (which contains impurities), which introduced lead into homes’ water supplies.

Positives

Durable: Galvanized pipes are highly durable, and typically have a lifespan of about 40 years.

Concerns

Thick & heavy material: While this is what makes galvanized pipes durable, it also make them hard to work with in small spaces or in areas where it’s hard to install piping support.

Rust: The is zinc coating on the inside of these pipes rusts over time.

Corrosion: When the properties of the pipe mix with the minerals in the water, it can cause build up (called scale) which can cause corrosion and clog your pipes.

Copper

Copper is one of the best piping options and is very versatile. It can be used for:

  • Drain lines
  • Water supply lines

  • A main sewer line

Positives

Small: Copper lines are fairly small in diameter (smaller than steel or galvanized pipes). Because of this quality, they can be used in tight spaces or in long stretches without needing (any or much) support.

Durable: Copper piping is fairly durable and has a high heat tolerance. The lifespan of copper piping is about 20–50 years.

Environmentally friendly: Copper is a naturally occurring metal, making it environmentally friendly.

Concerns

Expensive: Copper is an expensive choice. It costs about $1.50–$2.00 per linear foot, as opposed to $0.40–$0.50 per linear foot for PEX pipes.

Oxidate: Like other things made from copper, copper piping can oxidate, which can cause the water running through it to have a metallic taste.

Pinhole leaks: Pinhole leaks are a result of corrosion on the inside of the pipes that break through to the outside of the pipe. These leaks usually occur because of turbulence and hard water. Since Florida has especially hard water, pinhole leaks are a fairly common issue with copper piping.

PEX: Best piping option

While copper is a better piping option than galvanized, it’s not the best piping option for a Florida home. The best piping option for a home in Florida is PEX piping. PEX pipes are:

  • Inexpensive ($0.40–$0.50 per linear foot)

  • Durable

  • Easy to install

  • Not susceptible to pinhole leaks (PEX pipes are made of plastic)

While we suggest PEX piping, you can mitigate the concerns that come with copper piping by:

  1. Reducing turbulence in your pipes

  2. Installing a whole-home water softener

These tips will help keep the inner linings of the pipe from wearing out, avoiding issues like pinhole leaks.

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