Homeowners: How to Select HVAC Piping Materials
Your HVAC system uses pipes for a number of different purposes. In an A/C, a loop of piping transports both hot and chilled liquid around the system, used for cooling the air that’s distributed to your home. In your furnace, pipes bring natural gas to power your system. But what materials are used for these different types of HVAC piping? Here’s a brief guide.
Copper is a great metal for transporting liquids. It can withstand both very high and very low temperatures, as well as high pressure levels. However, due to its significant expense, copper is usually only used for small lengths of pipe, three inches or less. Copper pipes can also have a danger of leaking, if they’re not carefully, properly sealed at installation.
For larger lengths of metal piping, steel is a more practical option. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, and even higher pressure than copper. Plus, sealing two pieces of steel piping is much easier. Simply bolt them together with a gasket between them.
For metal pipes that go underground, it’s important to use some sort of cathodic protection, to keep them from being corroded by dirt. By coating the pipes in a thin layer of some other metal, such as zinc, the outer layer absorbs the corrosion, leaving the inner pipes intact.
Plastic doesn’t rust or corrode the way metal does, making it a good alternative for underground HVAC piping. The drawback, however, is that PVC pipe can’t withstand the temperature or pressure extremes that metal can.
There are two ways to overcome this. One is to treat the metal pipes with plastic. It works similarly to galvanization, allowing a thin outer layer of plastic to protect the metal pipe beneath it. The second way is to treat the plastic with chlorine, making CPVC pipes. These pipes are stronger and able to withstand more extreme temperatures and higher pressures, making them better suited to underground use.
To learn more about HVAC piping materials, contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions today. We provide quality heating and cooling solutions to the Orlando area.
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