You’ve probably been contemplating using plastic pipes for your home heating needs. While some people use copper pipes for central heating systems, others prefer plastic pipes.
Plastic pipes offer an ideal solution to home heating. They’re flexible, durable, and effective. Plus, you can easily install them under your house or apartment floor. Plastic pipes come in different sizes and variations, so you can choose the right one for your home.
This article highlights the use of plastic pipes for heating, their pros and cons, and the best one to use. Keep reading to discover more!
Can You Use Plastic Pipes for Central Heating?
You can use plastic pipes for central heating as they’re versatile, convenient, frost-resistant, and cost much less. If you have just built your new house or have a modern home that requires heating, it’s best to consider plastic pipes for your heating needs.
Plastic pipe heating is not a new thing! The fittings have existed for quite a long time. Here are the reasons why some people choose plastic pipes for central heating:
- Plastic pipes don’t require a flame, joints, or soldiering.
- Plastic pipes resist frost. Therefore, you don’t have to worry if you’re living in cold climates.
- They have a low labor cost.
- Plastic pipes are more affordable compared to other materials.
Plastic pipes are a good option when you need some repair work. Since they’re flexible, you can use them to fix the existing systems.
If you choose to fix plastic pipes under your floor, consider cutting them to a suitable size. Seek an expert opinion if you need clarification on how they’re installed.
You shouldn’t worry about their durability. Plastic pipes are very durable and effective. They can last for more than 20 years if you properly manage them. However, you’ll have to change your rubber seals because they tend to degrade after some time.
Even though you can effectively use plastic pipes to heat your home or apartment, you should consider some safety measures. For example, you should avoid using them on gas installations as that can be very dangerous for you and your home.
Plastic Pipe for Central Heating Pros and Cons
Depending on how you plan to use them, plastic pipes can be both beneficial and detrimental. Let’s examine the pros and cons of using plastic pipes for your home’s heating system.
Pros of Plastic Pipe for Central Heating
Plastic pipes have several benefits.
- Plastic pipes do not corrode over time. Compared to metal pipes susceptible to corrosion, plastic pipes can heat your home for many years without experiencing any corrosion. Even if your water is salty or acidic, these pipes can still function better than other pipe types.
- Resistant to frost. Plastic does not freeze, which makes it suitable for use at any temperature. If you live in extremely cold climates, you can still use plastic pipes effectively.
- Flexibility. Plastic pipes are more flexible than metal pipes. You can use them with both medium and extreme water pressure. Furthermore, you can’t receive knocking sounds in the pipes, thus, no noise. They’re made with some thickness which makes their operations quieter.
- Easy installation. You can install plastic pipes within the shortest time possible. However, you have to follow the pipe’s installation instructions. With plastic pipes, the installation process reduces by 40%. The installation process is more straightforward because they don’t require soldering at the joints like metal pipes.
- Cheaper to buy. Compared to copper pipes, plastic pipes are less expensive. Thus, plastic pipes can be a good option if you have a limited budget.
- Longer life span. Plastic pipes can serve you longer than other pipes. Depending on your chosen material, their life span can extend beyond 40 years.
Cons of Plastic Pipe for Central Heating
Now that you know the advantages of using plastic pipes for central heating, let’s look at the disadvantages.
- It may crack or break. If you live in freezing temperatures, you’ll have to change your plastic pipes because they can fail over time. When plastics become too cold, they can break, though this depends on the plastic’s material. This tendency to break can pose a danger to your heating system. Avoid issues by choosing pipes made of more elastic materials.
- Limited usage in small spaces. Metal pipes tend to be sleeker and easier to maneuver when compared to plastic pipes. You must appropriately measure your space to decide the best pipe because you can’t always use plastic everywhere.
- Some plastic materials are affected by heat. Plastic is not always heat-resistant, leading to the melting or folding of the pipes, which can be inconvenient. Furthermore, when the pipes begin warping, you’ll be forced to change them. You’ll have to again cater for new pipes and factor in the installation budget.
- Health risk. Plastic can be risky to your health. Copper has antimicrobial effects, but plastic doesn’t, which can expose you to infections.
Which Plastic Pipe Is Best for Central Heating?
Polyethylene Raised Temperature (PERT) plastic is the best pipe for central heating. It can effectively perform in both cold and hot temperatures. PERT is a flexible material that comes with unique features.
PERT is made of internal, middle, and outside layers, which allows it to preserve heat. So you don’t have to worry about the heat level for your central heating system.
Most people prefer PERT because it doesn’t require a flame to fix the joints. Thus you only need a few minutes to a few hours to install it completely.
However, the installation duration will depend on the size of the space. If you have expertise in installation, you can do it, but if you’re unsure, allow a professional to do it. You won’t need to worry about the installation cost because it won’t cost you much.
Consider PERT if you want a reliable, durable, eco-friendly plastic pipe. Other than hot and cold water piping applications, you can use it for:
- Chilled water piping
- District cooling/heating
- Hydronic piping (fan coils or radiators)
- Radiant cooling and heating systems (ceilings, walls, floors)
- Outdoor ice and snow melting
- Pitch heating/turf conditioning
PERT comes with unique features, such as
- More thermal memory and elasticity
- It doesn’t require additional expenses for hangars.
- Resistant to scale and rust
- Allows prefabrication of its design
Besides PERT, there are other plastic pipes used for piping that you can choose from depending on your heating needs. These include
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Commonly used plastic for piping and fittings. It’s used for both pressure and non-pressure water applications.
- Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC): It’s a modified version of PVC. You can use it for higher temperature applications and hot water supply for home and industrial applications.
- Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX): Can enhance crack, chemical, and heat resistance.
- Polyethylene (PE): This plastic pipe is used in most homes. It’s flexible and can be used in other areas, such as landscaping, mining, road ditches, and irrigation.
- Polypropylene Random (PPR): Although it’s similar to PE, it gives better temperature and chemical resistance. You can use it for both cold and hot water plumbing.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): This is relatively more rigid than PP or PE. On the other hand, it is softer than PVC. This type of pipe can be the best option if you live in cold temperatures.
- Polybutylene (PB): This is used for hot and cold water piping systems. It provides both cooling and heating systems. Also, it resists temperature fluctuations, is flexible, and offers high hydrostatic pressure.
Is It Better to Use Copper or Plastic Pipes for Central Heating?
Plastic pipes are better for central heating than copper, though both copper and plastic have their benefits. Even though the choice would depend on your needs and preferences, for central heating, plastics are more durable than copper.
Plastic pipes are becoming more popular than copper. They are the best for central heating systems because they’re flexible and thus require fewer joints. With fewer joints comes less risk of leakage. Plus, plastic pipes are the way to go if you’re looking for a reliable and efficient central heating system.
Depending on the plastic material you choose, it can be as durable as copper. Additionally, plastic pipes are more corrosion-resistant than copper. Also, since plastic materials do not conduct heat, it is less likely that the cold or heat will be lost as the water travels.
If the plastic pipes get exposed, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your children. However, copper pipes are not the same, as they can pose a danger to your little ones if exposed.
Even though it’s better to use plastic pipes than copper pipes, it is always best to seek an expert opinion on the best plastic material you can buy so your pipes suit your needs.
Central heating is complex. It needs dedication, hard work, and proper decisions regarding the materials. For this reason, you need to choose suitable pipes for your heating needs.
Hopefully, this article has answered some of your questions concerning plastic central heating pipework for your home, and you can decide whether to go for plastic or copper pipes.