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Before deciding which type of pipe to use for your DIY project, you must take a look at the different varieties available. 

For plumbing purposes, manufacturers make both soft and hard copper pipes. And both these types of copper pipes are suitable for supplying water. But it would be best if you kept in mind that both come with their distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. 

A soft copper pipe is easy to bend and does not need any added tool for bending. Inflexible, hard copper pipes, on the other hand, usually need bending equipment. So, to make tasks easy, people generally prefer to cut and use them instead of trying to join the pipes using a bending tool. 

In most residential properties, people use hard type L and M copper pipes to construct water supply lines. To know all about them, keep reading!

The Most Common Types Of Copper Pipes

Pipe manufacturers make copper pipes in four regular types: L, M, K, and DWV. If you are wondering what these letters mean, let us break them down for you. The letters that you see on the pipes indicate their relative thickness but bear in mind that the pipe's size determines its actual thickness. 

To simplify, the letter codes that we just mentioned also relate to the colour code of the printing that is present on the side of the pipes. For example, Type M is red and simply referred to as red pipes. On the other hand, Type L is blue and is referred to as blue pipes. 

Man Holding Copper Pipes And Fittings

Type L And Type M Pipes: The Differences

The key elements that set Type L and Type M pipes apart are their wall thickness and pressure rating. Two of the most common sizes that you find on the market are three-quarter-inch and half-inch in thickness. 

Type L three-quarter-inch pipes have a wall thickness of 0.045 inches, while Type M pipes have a thickness of 0.032 inches. On the other hand, half-inch Type L pipe is 0.040 inches, and Type M is 0.028 inches. 

Apart from that, what differentiates Type M and Type L pipes are their costs. Our market survey gathered that Type M pipes are cheaper than Type L. 

If you are wondering why that is the case, it is because of the difference in the wall thickness of the pipes. Type L pipes have thicker walls, weigh more, and are priced higher. 

Because the walls have to be made thicker for Type L pipes, the amount of copper that goes into manufacturing them is relatively much higher. It is understandable why the production costs are higher for Type L pipes. Also, as the Type L pipe is heavier, the cost of transportation shoots up considerably. 

With all that said, copper pipes are generally relatively easy to work with as all pipes of similar sizes are of the same exterior diameter. So, it is convenient to use them for plumbing connections. However, you need to keep in mind that the inside diameter of the pipes will vary depending on the type of pipe you choose to work with. 

For example, the inside diameter of a Type L pipe is 0.545 inches, while that of a Type M is 0.569 inches. 

What Should You Use: Type L Or Type M Pipes?

Different Types Of Copper Pipes

As we have already mentioned before, the major difference between these two types of pipes is their thickness. But the question still remains when one should use Type L pipes and when one should use Type M pipes. 

A general rule of thumb - go for Type L pipes if you are planning to use one for the water supply in your building. Type M pipes are suitable for all other purposes but not that great for water supply that involves heavy water pressure

It is also important to note that Type L pipes tend to last longer as they are thicker. If you are using Type M pipes, the longevity they will offer is pretty less and might need to be replaced soon. So, if you are on the lookout for durability, it is best that you choose these pipes over Type M pipes. 

Moving on, most plumbers recommend using Type M pipes for heating systems, which are relatively cheaper. You can, however, use Type L pipes for this purpose too, but the costs will shoot up. 

Type L pipes are pretty durable and can easily last for around 80-100 years. On the other hand, plumbers believe that Type M pipes would need to be replaced in 20-30 years. 

Suitability: Type M Vs. Type L

When using copper wire for residential water supply, you can opt for Type M or Type L, depending on the requirements set by the local codes. In most places, both these pipes are rated quite well and handle the water pressure levels present in the water supply system sufficiently. 

It is pretty understandable that homeowners prefer Type M over Type L for large projects as the cost difference is quite a lot. To make sure that the water supply systems perform spectacularly, it is best that you check if all the building materials match the local code requirements. 

Understanding Copper Pipes

With that, we have now reached the end of this informative guide! We hope that after reading this, you now have a better understanding of the differences between Type L and Type M copper pipes. 

It is clear that they both have their unique set of advantages and disadvantages, and you need to select one that suits your requirements the best. In case you have any suggestions that you would like to share with us, feel free to write to us in the comments section below. 

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Ashley Woolf

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