How to Wire Your Home with Copper Piping

As a homeowner, one of the most important systems in your house is the plumbing. Ensuring you have high quality pipes that will last for decades is crucial. For many homeowners, copper piping is the ideal choice.

Copper has been used in plumbing systems for centuries. This malleable metal is an excellent conductor of heat and resistant to corrosion. With proper installation, copper pipes can last 50 years or more.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through everything you need to know about wiring your home with copper piping. By the end, you'll be able to handle this DIY project yourself or knowledgeably hire a professional.

Choosing the Right Type of Copper Pipe

The first step is selecting the appropriate type of copper pipe for your home's plumbing system. There are four main types to choose from:

K Type

K type copper is the thickest and most durable option. It offers the greatest resistance to corrosion. K type is composed of 99.9% copper along with trace elements like silver and phosphorus.

This extremely strong pipe is best for high pressure applications like municipal water mains. It may be overkill for residential plumbing systems.

L Type

The most common choice for house plumbing is L type copper. It's thinner than K type but still offers excellent corrosion resistance and strength.

L copper contains 99.9% copper like K type. It also has added deoxidizing agents like tin, nickel, and zinc. These alloys enhance the metal's durability.

M Type

If you need an even thinner and more malleable option, consider M type copper. It contains 99.9% copper like K and L type.

It has added alloying elements that improve deoxidation and corrosion resistance but allow it to be bent more easily into position. This makes M type a good choice for tight, complex plumbing runs.

DWV Type

The fourth option is DWV copper, which stands for Drain, Waste, and Vent. As the name suggests, this pipe is designed specifically for drain lines, waste vents, and sewer connections.

DWV copper is thinner with more malleability than other types to facilitate installation. It contains 99.9% copper plus small amounts of added alloys like tin, zinc, and lead.

Overall, L type copper is the best choice for most home plumbing applications unless you need extremely durable K type or flexible M type for tricky installations.

Purchasing the Right Size and Amount of Copper Pipe

Once you've decided on the ideal copper pipe type, the next step is determining the correct size and footage you need.

Start by taking measurements of all the planned pipe runs in your home renovation or new construction. Consider the following factors when deciding on size:

Most residential copper plumbing uses half-inch, three-quarter-inch or one-inch pipe. Calculate total footage needed for hot and cold water lines. Purchase 10-20% extra to allow for errors and changes.

It's also smart to buy a few copper fittings like elbows, T joints, adapters, and end caps. This will make assembling the system much easier.

Tools Needed for Cutting and Shaping Copper Pipes

Installing copper plumbing is a manageable DIY project with the right tools on hand. Here are the essential items you'll need:

Investing in high-quality versions of these essential copper piping tools will make your installation much smoother.

Step-By-Step Installation Process

With the right materials assembled, you're ready to install new copper plumbing in your home. Follow these key steps:

1. Map Out the Pipe Layout

2. Cut Pipes to Length

3. Deburr Ends and Clean Inside

4. Polish Pipe Ends

5. Assemble Pipes and Fittings

6. Allow Joints to Cool and Test System

7. Add Insulation and Secure Pipes

Follow these steps carefully and you can enjoy a reliable copper plumbing system for decades to come. Proper installation is key, so don't hesitate to call a professional if needed. Investing in quality materials and workmanship now will pay dividends for years through leak-free performance.