dcsimg
Find Local Contractor Call: 844-251-6308
No Obligation, Free Quotes
Home > Plumbing > What Kind of Pipe is This? Can I Fix It?

What Kind of Pipe is This? Can I Fix It?

By Brett Freeman
What Kind of Pipe is This? Can I Fix It?

Newer homes typically use the latest construction materials, meaning that if your home is 20 years old or less, most of your plumbing pipes are plastic, or, perhaps, copper.

But if your house is older, it's important to be able to identify the different types of pipes and their functions. The last thing you want is to attempt a "simple repair" that leads to more work or damage.

Galvanized Pipe

Iron pipe treated with zinc, known as galvanized pipe, was the most common type of pipe for residential water systems until about 30 years ago. If you live in an older house, chances are that at least part of your water system is of galvanized pipe, which is generally 1" or less wide and silver-gray in appearance. If you have a galvanized pipe that is leaking or clogged, consult a professional. Problems with galvanized pipe are generally due to corrosion. Making repairs is rarely as simple as cutting out a single section of pipe because the remaining pipe is usually as compromised as the section being replaced.

Copper Pipe

Copper pipe is easy to identify: it's the pipe made of copper. It overtook galvanized pipe as the choice for water systems decades ago, and continues to be used, although it has given way to plastic pipes in recent years. Repairing copper pipe usually isn't difficult, but be aware that you may need to solder the pipe to the pipe fittings.

Black Iron Pipe

Repairing black iron pipe should be left to the experts, as it is generally used for natural gas or propane. Its color makes it easy to identify, but if you're unsure, look at the fittings. Black iron pipe uses threaded fittings, not welded or soldered fittings.

Find a Local Plumber
Enter Your Zip Code:


THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.