Do You Know What Your Home’s Plumbing Pipes Are Made Of?

Do you know what materials were used to make the plumbing pipes inside your home? If you don’t you are at a bit of a disadvantage. The material your pipes are made from affects your entire plumbing system. Some materials last for several decades while others need to be replaced more frequently. Let’s take a closer look at some of the materials used to make plumbing pipes.

Plumbing Pipe Materials

Lead

If you live in a home that was constructed prior to 1930, you could have lead pipes. Because we now know the dangers of lead, it is no longer used to make residential plumbing pipes. However, this type of pipe is still found in some older homes. If you have lead pipes, we recommend having your water tested. If it contains high levels of lead, consider having a lead filtration system installed or replacing your pipes.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel pipes became popular once lead fell out of favor. They are strong and can last for several years, but eventually, they rust. This reduces your water quality and can cause blockages in your plumbing system.

Copper

copper pipes hagerstown md

Copper pipes have been one of the most popular options since the 1960s. Because they are smaller in diameter and lighter than steel, they are much easier to work with. They can last for several decades before they need to be repaired or replaced. Copper pipes are expensive though, and since some have lead solder, they can pose a health hazard.

PVC

PVC pipes are cheap and easy to install. They also won’t corrode or rust. Some types of PVC are unsuitable to transporting hot water, though. As a result, this material is most commonly used for drain pipes.

PEX

In the last 20 years, PEX has become the go-to plastic pipe. It is more expensive than PVC, but it is extremely durable and easy to work with. The material is flexible, making it ideal for most residential applications. The flexibility makes it prone to bursting, though, if the pipe freezes.

At Larry & Sons, we are equipped to work on all types of plumbing pipes. When you need a Hagerstown plumber you can depend on, give us a call!

3 Benefits of Summer Drain Cleaning

When’s the last time you gave your drains some TLC? If it has been a while since your last drain cleaning, you may want to think about scheduling a summer drain cleaning. Summer drain cleaning is just as important and beneficial as spring cleaning, but most people forget about it.

If you want to prevent clogs and ensure that waste and wastewater can flow freely away from your home, you need to have your drains cleaned from time to time. Check out these benefits of summer drain cleaning.

Clog Prevention

summer drain cleaning
Down the drain flickr photo by Gayle Nicholson shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Clogs are some of the most common plumbing woes. They can occur in any drain line, and they can really put a damper on your day. In severe cases, they can also cause a huge mess inside your home or on your property.

Over time, grease, hair, toilet paper and other debris builds up in residential plumbing pipes. When the pipes are not cleaned regularly, all this buildup often causes a blockage. In addition to being inconvenient, major blockages can damage your pipes and lead to major repair costs.

Prevent Health Hazards

Clogs are more than just annoying. They harbor bacteria, mold and mildew, and during the summer months, heat and humidity facilitates the rapid growth and spread of these health hazards. Keeping your drains clean means keeping these serious risks at bay.

Early Problem Detection

When you have your drains cleaned routinely, your plumber has an opportunity to find and correct minor problems before they become serious. We often find roots growing into main sewer lines during routine drain cleaning visits. The earlier problems like this are detected, the earlier and more affordable they are to correct.

Summer Drain Cleaning in Hagerstown and the Surrounding Areas

For summer drain cleaning in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas, depend on the expert plumbing technicians here at Larry & Sons. We have advanced equipment that allows us to clean and take a look inside your home’s drainage system without causing any damage. If we find a problem, we are equipped to resolve it, and you can trust that your pipes are in good hands with us. If you have not had your drains cleaned in a while, please contact us now before disaster strikes. Call 301-733-5428.

Choosing the Right Plumbing Pipe for the Project | Pipe Types

Under the house, in the walls, and arriving at many different fixtures, plumbing pipes are everywhere.  Pipes run between appliances and out of the house and they come in different shapes, sizes, and materials.  Some of them carry gas and others carry water. Knowing the different plumbing pipes in your home will help you to identify problems before they become problems and choose the right type of pipe for your home.

Plumbing Pipe Types

Knowing which materials are used for which lines is important for DIY plumbing fixes, but it can also help you identify where your problem is to help speed up a repair when you call for service.

Piping Purpose

Every pipe in a home has a certain function and everything from material to location is determined by what function the pipe serves.  Gas lines have different requirements from water lines.  You’ll also find differences in incoming pipes (feed lines) compared to outgoing water and gas lines (return lines).

For example:  Water return lines take advantage of gravity, with the lowest point of any home draining system leading towards the septic or sewer system.  Many of these return systems use large black pipes to clearly identify their purpose and are known as black-water lines.  Theses fat pipes residing in the walls of your home carry wastewater to your private septic tank or into your city’s sewer lines.  Large diameter black-plastic pipes leading towards the basement are usually black-water return lines.

indoor plumbing pipe system
Diagram of your drain-waste-vent system, often called a “plumbing tree” (dummies.com)

Plumbing Pipe Materials

The material used for pipes is often limited to their purpose for code and health reasons.  Pipes for water and gas are either some kind of plastic or metal.  Hot water feed lines can use chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipes, crosslinked polyethylene (PEX), or copper piping while PVC can only be used on cold water applications and is not typically used in water supply lines for homes.

Alternatively, PVC and cast iron piping are used extensively for drain-waste-vent (DWV) piping.  Most of the return line piping you see will be PVC, cast iron, or even ABS plastic. Cast iron, however, can rust.  Call your plumber to replace the rusted sections of your cast iron piping with PVC or ABS piping.

Gas lines are similar, though you won’t find PEX or ABS used for gas.  Most gas feed lines use a black malleable metal (some type of iron) between the outside source and the home.  Once the lines are moved inside they are typically made of copper or polyethylene.

PVC is sometimes used for underground transportation because it is inexpensive and simple to install in large quantities.  Copper is not recommended in all cases since sulfur content can cause flaking in the line which leads to contaminated feed lines and blocked outlets.

Plumbing Pipe Structure

When working with plumbing pipes of any kind it’s important to keep the structural design of your home and your system in mind.  Heavier demand with larger volume requires stronger piping.

When you increase the size and strength of your pipes, their weight typically increases, which means support for the system should increase.  If you don’t support your system with the proper structure and pipe fittings, leaks will develop and some lines may burst.  In the end, it’s always a much better choice to hire a professional to do any repair or retrofit work when installing or replacing gas and water lines within your home.


When replacing or repairing the pipes in your home, new trenchless technology makes it possible to easily replace your pipes for the same or less money and minimal environmental impact and disruption to your home, lawn, and routine.

If you have any questions about trenchless or no-dig technologies, give Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call today!

If you spot any signs of trouble in any of the pipes in your home, contact the professionals at Larry & Sons at 301-733-5428. Our Frederick, MD plumbing experts are available 24/7 to assist you, and we won’t rest until the issue is properly dealt with.

 

A Hanover Plumber Guide: Plumbing Noises

Under ideal conditions, you would hear nothing from your Hanover plumbing system except the sound of running water when you turn on the tap. Unfortunately, that is not always what actually happens. In fact, your plumbing can make all types of funny and sometimes alarming noises for no reason that you can easily discern.

For instance, one common plumbing noise sounds like a hard knock or hammer blow. This usually occurs when you turn off a tap and can be rather alarming. Sometimes you can even feel the reverberation of the impact that caused the sound. But why is this happening? Usually, this “water hammer” noise is the result of the dramatic shift in pressure in the system when you suddenly stop the flow of water from a faucet.

This sudden stop creates a kind of shock wave, which then travels back through the pipes and causes the loud knocking sound that you hear. This is easily fixed with a device that is known as a water hammer arrester. These devices help to dissipate the force of the pressure shift and can keep the noise from occurring at all.

There are also all kinds of whistling, squealing and squeaking noises that your plumbing can make under certain circumstances. These types of sounds are often caused by a worn out washer somewhere along the line that is having trouble regulating the flow of water. It can be a little difficult to pin down the source of these noises sometimes, especially if they occur no matter which faucet is turned on. But with a little hunting and trial and error you can usually track down the source.

Rattling sounds are also common and generally occur when your water pipes are not well secured to a rigid surface. If this is the case, the force of the water running through the pipes can cause the pipe to vibrate, creating the sound you hear as it bangs against whatever solid surface is nearby. For problems like this, simply securing the pipes in place better can put an end to all of your rattling issues.

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