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 Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: scanhobson (VA)

Q: We will be remodeling our home and have been told by the plumber that he will use stainless steel pipes instead of copper. I have only dealt with copper before, so I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. If anyone has experience with both, I would like to know the pros and cons of switching to stainless steel.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

I cannot imagine anyone actually piping a house in stainless steel. It would take more time than doing it in galvanized because stainless is much harder to thread, and often has to be cut off and rethreaded whan the die galls the thread. The cost of the material would also be out of sight. Either you have misunderstood, or he is very ambitious, and/or you have a huge budget for the plumbing.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: scanhobson (VA)

I don't know what the budget for the plumbing part is because we are going through a general contrator for the overall project. Aside from cost and difficulty of installation, are there benefits or problems with the stainless steel itself? Is it more durable? Or is it more prone to leaks? Will the water taste funny? Are there any other considerations that I should know about?

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: jimmy-o (CA)

Are you sure that he didn'e mean galvanized steel.? I don't know if a house has EVER been done in stainless steel. The cost would be quite extraordinary.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

No taste problems but it can be difficult to install without leaks. I just cannot imagine anyone trying to use it. Are you sure it is not "stainless" piping, which could include PEX? That would be a more reasonable installation. Builders SELDOM upgrade to a more expensive product unless they pass the cost on to you.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

Even galvanized steel would be expensive given labor costs these days.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: jimmy-o (CA)

The only material which could possibly be BETTER than stainless steel would be glass! If they could find a way to do it.

Stainless would last essentially forever. If would add no taste or other issues to the water. Stainless steel is used for the pure water in nuclear reactors, it is used for the process piping in breweries and wineries, and countless other industrial applications.

Copper is hugely expensive right now. I don't even know what stainless costs. I would guess about double copper, but that is just a guess. The installation costs would be a lot more because of the added labor.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: dlh (TX)

i to seriously doubt your plumber is going to install stainless piping. it is more than twice the cost of copper and is very difficult to install and is usually prefabricated.

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PLUMBERS "Protecting The Health Of The Nation"

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: scanhobson (VA)

Thank you for all of your input! I really appreciate the help. I will clarify with him exactly what he intends to use, which may lead to more questions. This PEX that was mentioned, is that an upgrade to copper, or a downgrade?

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: dlh (TX)

it depends on who you ask. it is the new plastic piping for water and some plumbers like it where others dont. i am still on the fence about it. it is much quicker and easier to install but is hard to get to look good. your water and soil conditions can sometimes determine what you need to use.

i believe many plumbers dont know that copper has a 50 year warranty

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PLUMBERS "Protecting The Health Of The Nation"

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: jimmy-o (CA)

There are tons of houses built late 40's/early 50's with copper, and it is performing like new at this time. PEX would not be considered an upgrade. It has been around quite a while, and the reliability seems to be OK. There have been some sytem failures and class action lawsuits. They were brand-specific. Although I am not an alarmist, there have been reports published questioning whether PEX leaches chemicals into the water. I will let you do the research on that.

One tendency is to undersize PEX. It is not equivalent to copper size for size, due to wall thickness. 1/2" PEX has a smaller ID than 1/2" copper.

PEX is very popular due to the cost savings and ease of installation. If you want to do that, I would not argue against it.


Any material is only as good as the installer, so I would concentrate on that aspect.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: redwood (CT)

"i believe many plumbers dont know that copper has a 50 year warranty"

Has anyone ever collected on this warrantee?

"Residential Copper Plumbing Products
Limited Warranty
What
The Warranty
Terms Mean In this warranty "Manufacturer" refers to the company listed below which manufactured the Product and any person or company that assumes its obligations under this warranty. "Homeowner" means you as the owner of the residential building in the United States in which the Product has been installed and also means any succeeding owner during the original warranty term. "Product" means the copper water tube and/or copper or brass fittings manufactured by the Manufacturer for the residential building market in the United States. Each Manufacturer listed below separately and individually warrants only Products it has manufactured and does not warrant Products of any other company, whether or not listed below.
Date The
Warranty Begins The warranty begins on the date of the new home purchase, or in the case of home additions or renovations, on the date the installation is completed. The warranty is transferable to succeeding Homeowners for the remainder of the original warranty term, in which case the date the warranty begins shall continue without change.
What Is
Covered The Manufacturer warrants to the Homeowner for a period of 50 years from the date the warranty begins that its properly installed Product will be free of failure as a result of defects in material or workmanship in manufacturing the Product.
What The
Manufacturer
Will Do For You As long as (1) such a failure occurs within 50 years from the date the warranty begins and (2) the Homeowner promptly notifies the Manufacturer of the Product of that failure by contacting it through its toll-free phone number listed below, the Manufacturer will correct that failure by repairing or replacing the Product within a reasonable time, without charge. This warranty is limited to the cost of repairing or replacing the Product, including installation.
What Is
Not Covered;
Disclaimer Of
Liability For
Consequential And
Other Damages The Manufacturer does NOT warrant against failure:
of any product, parts, or systems that it has not manufactured;
if the Product is used for purposes other than residential plumbing applications;
caused by, contributed in whole or in part by, or resulting from, any of the following:
improper installation;
abuse, such as, without limitation, vandalism;
natural disasters, such as, without limitation, flooding, windstorm and lightning;
attachments or modifications to the Product that the Manufacturer did not authorize;
external causes, where external, physical or chemical qualities produce damage to the Product, such as, without limitation, aggressive water or an unsuitable or hostile environment; or
any other cause beyond the Manufacturer's control.
The Manufacturer shall NOT be liable under any circumstances for any other direct or any indirect, incidental or consequential damages of any kind.
This Is The
Only Warranty THIS WARRANTY IS THE ONLY WARRANTY FOR THE PRODUCT PROVIDED BY THE MANUFACTURER, AND IS AND SHALL BE IN LIEU OF ANY AND ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO AN IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, AND OF ALL OTHER OBLIGATIONS OR LIABILITIES ON THE PART OF THE MANUFACTURER. NONE OF THE MANUFACTURER'S EMPLOYEES, AND NO OTHER PERSON OR BUSINESS, IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE ANY OTHER WARRANTY ON THE MANUFACTURER'S BEHALF COVERING THE PRODUCT.
THIS WARRANTY GIVES YOU SPECIFIC LEGAL RIGHTS, AND YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER RIGHTS WHICH VARY FROM STATE TO STATE. SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

Manufacturers Cambridge-Lee Industries Inc. Reading, PA 800-926-5588
Cerro Flow Products, Inc. St. Louis, MO 888-237-7611
Elkhart Products Corporation Elkhart, IN 800-284-4851
Howell Metals Company New Market, VA 800-247-2048
KobeWieland Copper Products, LLC Pine Hall, NC 800-834-1295
Mueller Manufacturing Entities
(incl. Halstead Industries, Inc.)
c/o Mueller Industries, Inc. Memphis, TN 800-348-8464
Wolverine Tube, Inc. Huntsville, AL 800-633-4078"


[www.copper.org]

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: e-plumber (NY)

This is the part of the 50 year warranty that really matters...

What Is
Not Covered;

Disclaimer Of
Liability For
Consequential And
Other Damages The Manufacturer does NOT warrant against failure:
of any product, parts, or systems that it has not manufactured;
if the Product is used for purposes other than residential plumbing applications;
caused by, contributed in whole or in part by, or resulting from, any of the following:
improper installation;
abuse, such as, without limitation, vandalism;
natural disasters, such as, without limitation, flooding, windstorm and lightning;
attachments or modifications to the Product that the Manufacturer did not authorize;
external causes, where external, physical or chemical qualities produce damage to the Product, such as, without limitation, aggressive water or an unsuitable or hostile environment; or
any other cause beyond the Manufacturer's control.
The Manufacturer shall NOT be liable under any circumstances for any other direct or any indirect, incidental or consequential damages of any kind.

e-plumber
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The society which scorns excellence in Plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good Plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -
John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

Repair your leaking Plumbing fixtures ASAP [www.theplumber.com]
This slow drip will waste 7+ gallons of water per day.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: redwood (CT)

Exactly! They seem to have excluded every possible reason for copper pipe failure!

So why call it a warrantee? Call it what it is... An illusion of protection!:think2:

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

Somewhere between sideways and down. Those of us who like copper consider it a downgrade, those using it think it is equal or better than copper. Where the truth lies, maybe only time will tell.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

They probably want the receipt to verify the date of installation.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

In other words they will give you a new piece of tubing, (probably amortized for the period of use obtained).

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

I am sure the PEX 25 year warrantee uses the same boiler plate text.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: redwood (CT)

I think we already see where that goes with the Kitec and Zurn cases...

The installer is a bad guy for installing it, and the consumer is hosed, while corporate products are looking good, aside from the amount they had to put aside for the settlement.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: packy (MA)

around 1970, we were using stainless steel tubing as a cheaper alternative to type M DWV systems. i think there was type G and type H. we used cast brass drainage fittings with the flux that had 50/50 solder in it. it soldered just like copper but would overheat very quickly.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: birddoggiest (ID)

It is probably pex with stainless steel crimp rings.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: redwood (CT)

The contractor was probably saying he uses braided stainless supplies.:laugh:



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

and the lawyer's fees.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: hj (AZ)

I believe that was BundyWeld tubing and it was tinned steel tubing.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: PlumberManDan (IA)

I have encountered a few SS tubing installations in the Denver CO area, It can not be repaired as normal copper tubing, It DOES require the Special flux and is really a PIA to work with., I am glad that someone else has seen this, I was beginning to feel all alone in a big plumbing world.

PlumbCat TM 2003


Plumbermandan

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: birddoggiest (ID)

If it is stainless DWV why wouldn't you use a no hub coupling for repairs?

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: steve_g (CA)

I briefly did some work for HUD in the early '80s. They had a bunch of properties that were piped with SS tube (silver-soldered & leaky). The same properties were wired w/ aluminum romex which would break inside exterior walls. At that time, the price of silver was sky-high, and they wouldn't authorize the purchase of silver solder. Heck, they wouldn't authorize compression fittings to repair it. As far as I know, it's still leaking. I had nothing to do with the installation. I just remember it, and didn't think it was particularly good.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: PBwrencher (WI)

The only houses we do up here in Stainless Steel Pipes are Milk Houses and Dairies.:)

7-19-08, 7:05am

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A bath a day will keep you healthy in every way.

Safe plumbing brings life and health giving water into our homes, businesses, hospitals and takes away death and disease causing waste.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: Paul48 (CT)

I'd get a clarification from the plumber on that one.If he insists he is using stainless,I'd have a sit-down with the GC.The cost of using stainless in a whole house is enormous,and,not necessary.Unless,it is important to you that the plumbing outlast the structure by a couple hundred years:-)

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 hj
Author: packy (MA)

no, it was not bundyweld tubing, it was stainless steel tubing made to the dimensions of copper tubing. 1 1/2, 2, 3 and 4". we used regular cast brass dwv fittings and soldered just like copper "M".
there were so many complaints about the difficulty of soldering the stainless, they made copper coated stainless.

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 Re: Copper versus Stainless Steel Pipes
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

You mean the note said he would use s.s. supply tubing.Right???I could not think of any reason to do domestic water piping in stainless steel .Good Luck.

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