Stainless or Plastic? What Material is Best For Drinking Water Pipes

When installing drinking water pipes, even the companies responsible for this often do not agree on whether pipes made of stainless steel or plastic should be installed. 

What Materials Are Commonly Used For Drinking Water Pipes?

In some old apartments, the water still comes from a lead water pipe. However, since this can pose a risk to human health, the installation of pipelines containing lead is no longer permitted today. Nevertheless, a whole range of materials can still be considered for the drinking water pipes in a house:

  • copper
  • multilayer metal composites
  • various plastics
  • galvanized steel
  • stainless steel

In the meantime, systems made of various plastics and pipes made of stainless steel are mainly used for new buildings. There are also stainless steel water purification systems. All materials have their specific advantages and disadvantages under different aspects. 

From a pure price point of view, installations of drinking water pipes made of modern plastics are usually much cheaper to get than pipes made of high-quality stainless steel. The durability of both materials is ideally a service life of up to 50 years and thus generally somewhat longer than that of galvanized steel pipes.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Stainless Steel Drinking Water Pipes:

Stainless steel pipes are usually connected with weld seams. They are characterized by the following advantages:

  • very solid
  • durable
  • same flow cross-section at all points of the line
  • the metal has a “germicidal” effect the first time after installation
  • the lines can later be easily located with a locator
  • Stainless steel pipes are less likely to be damaged by “drilling”

But there are also disadvantages to be accepted:

  • a chromium-nickel allergy can sometimes be exacerbated
  • Bacteria can settle in the micro-cracks that appear on the weld seams over time
  • The water in hot water pipes made of stainless steel cools down faster than in plastic

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