Overall, copper still remains a popular choice for pipework, however there may be some factors which you have not considered in the long term. We investigate these factors below, so housing developers and building owners can make the correct decision.
1. Drinking Water Quality
The incident above is backed up by research conducted by the Drinking Water Inspectorate, who found that copper pipes are more susceptible to “blue water” proliferation which can have negative consequences such as nausea and stomach problems for those who consume it.
2. What If Your Installer Makes Mistakes?
When considering how many joints there are on a commercial project, it can be very costly to check an install with x-ray technology. What’s more copper tubes and fittings are very thin, so a specialised low voltage x-ray will be required- added cost! This will take time to arrange and no work can take place while the checks are being undertaken.
Although some may say it’s unnecessary to conduct this check, the question should be whether the risk of a potentially hazardous leak due to an incorrectly installed fitting is worth taking?
3. Copper linked to Alzheimer’s disease
Other research on mice has shown similar side effects. For example, a study conducted at the University of Rochester in New York found that when mice where fed water with copper traces, it became harder for the brain to get rid of a protein called beta amyloid. Beta amyloid has been shown to have a strong association with Alzheimers Disease.
Its worth noting that research into this area is inconclusive, although recent findings would suggest a link may exist.
4. Hot work hazards and precautions
Indeed, this hesitation is fully justified as according to a study conducted byZurich Insurance, hot works are responsible for 15% of all fires in commercial and domestic properties. That is alarmingly high and is a key factor to take into account considering soldering is still used as a common method by installers for putting together copper pipes.
5. Coppers’ environmental impact
What’s more, the process of extracting copper is far more energy intensive and it has a significantly shorter lifecycle in comparison to PEX/MLCP pipes.
Its worth not that Uponor’s PEX/MLCP pipes still offer a high degree of durability despite its low weight. This can be seen in the following videos below.
Conclusion: have you considered the alternatives to copper pipes?
At Uponor we offer Multi-Layer Composite Pipes (MLCP) as an alternative to copper pipes. Our pipes overcome the issues identified in this article:
• No need for x-rays, with the Uponor Joint Inspection Window- a connection can be fully reviewed via a joint inspection window on the Uponor fitting immediately after an install has taken place.
Please refer to the Uponor brochure below to see an example of this
• Drinking water quality- there is no risk of limescale formation within Uponor pipes, as they are capped at the manufacturing stage
• Hot works- no hot works are required on any Uponor MLCP or PEX installation
• No link to cognitive disorders- Uponor operates in over 50 countries around the world and there is no reported links between its pipework and cognitive disorders
If you would like to discuss a project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org