What do Tutankhamun and copper pipes have in common? The answer is: more than you’d think…
Copper pipes have been used in plumbing for over 4,500 years. Archaeological evidence suggests the Ancient Egyptians were among the first civilisations to make use of copper pipes for carrying water. In fact, thanks to its incredible durability, the remains of early copper drainage systems have been discovered within the pyramids! There are many practical reasons why copper is an obvious choice for plumbing. But copper also offers several unique benefits that are not found in any other material.
So, what are the superpowers that continue to make copper pipes the perfect plumbing solution thousands of years after their invention?
On average, copper pipes used for carrying water have a lifespan of around 50-70 years. If conditions are right, they can last a lot longer. The lifespan of copper plumbing varies depending on the quality of the water passing through the pipes, the frequency of use, and the physical climate around the copper piping itself.
As well as providing years of faithful service, copper piping is simple to install, replace, and repair, should it need it. During the Second World War, Coventry cathedral was decimated by the infamous Blitz air raids. Much of the original lead plumbing was destroyed in the bombing. During the cathedral’s repair, it was decided copper piping would be the best replacement. Lawton Tubes supplied the pipework to the cathedral, along with a 300-year warranty as a testament to the reliability of our copper tubes.
#2 Corrosion resistant
Pipes used in plumbing are often exposed to all kinds of abrasive and postnatally hazardous waste, as well as continued contact with water and the environment outside the pipe. Copper is low on the reactivity scale, which means it’s less likely to corrode over time when exposed to other elements, making it the ideal material for manufacturing plumbing pipes.
Copper is incredibly malleable. This means it can be shaped and manipulated to suit your needs without it becoming weak or breaking in the process. As anyone who’s ever looked beneath a bath will tell you, pipes used in plumbing rarely run in straight lines; in fact, they’re specifically designed to squeeze around bends and fit into tight corners. Copper’s malleability makes it perfectly suited for this tricky task.
#4 Great conductor
Copper is an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. Its thermal conductivity in particular makes it an excellent choice of material for the manufacture of plumbing pipes. Firstly, copper pipes make for more efficient hot-water systems. As copper heats evenly and retains its heat, less energy is required to maintain a constant supply of hot water through the pipes, saving both money and the planet. Copper pipes can also be heated and cooled regularly throughout the day without becoming weakened by the process.
Secondly, these thermal properties mean your copper pipes won’t freeze or crack in winter. So, with copper plumbing, you’ll never have to worry about your heating or water supply when the mercury drops.
Copper piping is hardcore. Not only will it withstand extreme changes in temperature, but it won’t crack under pressure either. In fact, 1cm of copper piping can withstand pressures of up to 700psi – that’s more force than a lion’s bite! (Source.)
Copper is one of the most sustainable metals on the planet. It can be recycled an endless number of times without losing any of its unique properties. Because of this, each piece of copper cut-off that’s not used during the pipe manufacturing process is melted down and recycled, so there’s absolutely no waste material at the end.
An estimated 80% of all copper produced in the last 10,000 years is still in use today. On top of this, recycling copper requires up to 40% less energy than producing it, so reusing it is both eco and economically friendly.
Transportation is one of the hidden costs when supplying any material to site. Bulky, heavy materials cost more to transport and require more people-power to move them around. From a plumbing standpoint, awkward, heavy pipes are a headache. They need all hands deck to load, carry, and install them, which slows down the whole installation process and ultimately drives up the price.
Using copper pipes in plumbing is the ideal solution. Copper pipes are lightweight, making transport and installation efficient and cost-effective. This leads nicely onto it being…
Copper plumbing is one of the most versatile solutions for getting water where it needs to be. This is because, when it comes to copper, there are many more options available for connecting tubes together and creating a bespoke system that suits your needs.
From traditional solder end feed and mechanical (compression) tubes, to press fit and push fit tubes that match the installation speed of plastic ones, and plastic fittings that help keep costs low, there are endless configurations to help you customise your plumbing. And regardless of what option you go for, Lawton’s 25-year copper pipe warranty still stands.
#9 Clean and safe
One of the most crucial jobs of any plumbing system is to carry clean, safe drinking water. And when dealing with water that’s likely to be consumed straight from the tap, there’s absolutely no room for error.
Certain metals, like lead, iron, and galvanised steel, can release harmful chemicals, which pass into the water, contaminating it and making consumers ill. Copper pipes, on the other hand, actively preserve the integrity of the clean water running through them. Not only that, the piping itself is also clean and safe, so no harmful chemicals will cross over into the environment where it’s installed.
More than just being safe, copper is a natural antimicrobial. This means it can actually kill germs and bacteria when they come into contact with the metal, sometimes within minutes. When copper touches germs and bacteria cells, it infiltrates the cell’s DNA and proteins, interfering with the way the organism functions and ultimately destroying it. This means that, in the event of any bacteria entering your water supply, the copper piping will neutralise it before it reaches you. Now that’s a superpower worthy of a Pharaoh!
Lawton Tubes have been supplying the plumbing industry with copper pipes for the past 100 years and are on hand to help you with any of your copper piping needs. Get in touch with one of the team today.