Copper pipes are utilized in plumbing because they are durable, corrosion-resistant, and heat-conductive. However, there are several varieties of copper pipes, making it difficult to choose one for a project.
And if you’re wondering should I use type L or type M copper pipe, the answer is Type L, but it depends on your specific needs as well. Type L copper pipe is thicker and more durable than Type M, making it suitable for high-pressure applications. For low-pressure applications, Type M copper pipe is cheaper and simpler to install.
Learn about kind L and Type M copper pipes, their uses, and how to choose the proper kind for your project from this article. Keep reading!
Should I Use Type L or Type M Copper Pipe?
Type L copper pipe is a popular choice for plumbing applications that require a high-pressure rating and long-term durability. Due to its wall thickness, Type L copper pipe can withstand higher pressures than Type M, making it an ideal choice for larger-scale plumbing projects.
Likewise, type L copper pipe is more corrosion-resistant than Type M and that makes it ideal for long-term plumbing systems. Thus, this is also a better choice for outdoor plumbing applications due to its superior resistance to environmental factors such as temperature changes and UV rays.
Watch this video, where it is discussed thoroughly whether you should choose type L or M.
Pros and Cons of Type L and Type M Copper Pipe
Here are some pros and cons of using Type L and Type M copper pipes:
Pros of Type L Copper Pipe:
- Thicker walls make it more durable and able to withstand higher pressure and temperature
- Less prone to pinhole leaks and corrosion
- Longer lifespan than Type M copper pipe
- Meets building codes for most residential and commercial plumbing applications
Cons of Type L Copper Pipe:
- More expensive than Type M copper pipe
- Not as flexible, making it more difficult to install in tight spaces
- Requires specialized tools and techniques for installation
Pros of Type M Copper Pipe:
- Less expensive than Type L copper pipe
- More flexible, making it easier to install in tight spaces
- Easier to cut and work with, requiring less specialized tools
- Suitable for low to medium-pressure applications
Cons of Type M Copper Pipe:
- Thinner walls make it less durable and more prone to pinhole leaks and corrosion
- Has a shorter lifespan compared to Type L copper pipe
- May not meet building codes for certain high-pressure applications
However, when choosing a copper pipe, evaluate your plumbing project’s demands.
Key Differences between Type L and Type M Copper Pipe
Most home and commercial plumbing systems employ Type L and Type M copper pipes. Here are the key distinctions between them:
The fundamental difference between Type L and Type M copper pipes is wall thickness. Type L copper pipe has a thicker wall compared to Type M. The thickness of Type L pipe makes it more durable and less likely to burst under high pressure or freeze. However, type M is thinner and more flexible.
Another important difference between Type L and Type M copper pipes is their pressure rating. Type L copper pipe has a higher pressure rating than Type M. This means that it can handle more pressure before it starts to deform or burst.
Type M, with its lower pressure rating, is typically used in residential plumbing systems. While Type L is commonly used in commercial applications where higher pressures are present.
The cost of Type L and Type M copper pipes is another important factor to consider. Type L copper pipe is more expensive than Type M due to its thicker wall and higher pressure rating.
The additional cost of Type L is often worth it for commercial applications that require a higher level of durability and pressure resistance.
Both types of copper pipes can be soldered, but due to the thicker wall of Type L, it may require more heat and time to solder. This should be taken into consideration when choosing between Type L and Type M, as soldering is an important part of plumbing installation.
In summary, Type L and Type M copper pipes have their unique advantages and disadvantages.
Understanding their distinctions lets you pick the best one for your plumbing requirements. You can install a new plumbing system or replace old pipes. But the choice between Type L and Type M copper pipes should be based on factors such as pressure, cost, and common uses.
Where to Use Type L Copper Pipe?
Type L copper pipe is a type of copper tubing commonly used in plumbing and HVAC applications. Its features make it useful for residential and commercial plumbing systems, HVAC systems, gas lines, and outdoor plumbing applications.
In residential plumbing, Type L copper pipe is often used for water supply lines, as well as for waste and vent pipes. Its high-pressure resistance and corrosion and rust resistance make it suited for high-water-pressure dwellings.
In commercial plumbing systems, Type L copper pipe is often used for large-scale water supply lines in hotels, hospitals, and offices.
Its high-pressure resistance and durability make it a reliable choice for these applications.
Type L copper pipe is commonly used in HVAC systems for heating and cooling applications.
Its excellent conductivity of heat makes it ideal for use in radiant heating systems and as refrigerant lines in air conditioning systems.
Type L copper pipe is a safe and reliable option for natural gas and propane supply lines. Its resistance to corrosion and high pressures make it suitable for these applications.
Type L copper pipe is often used in outdoor plumbing applications such as irrigation systems and outdoor showers.
Its resistance to UV rays and durability make it a good choice for these applications.
Where to Use Type M Copper Pipe?
Type M copper pipe is a more affordable option compared to Type L and Type K copper. Its heat conductivity and durability make it a good option for many applications, but its smaller wall thickness limits its high-pressure resistance. And this type is used in areas like
Type M copper pipe is commonly used in residential plumbing systems only for hot and cold water distribution. Its lower wall thickness makes it a more cost-effective option for plumbing systems requiring less pressure resistance than Type L.
Light Commercial Plumbing
Type M copper pipe is also used in light commercial plumbing systems, such as those found in small office buildings or retail spaces. Its lower wall thickness makes it a more affordable option for these applications, while still providing adequate pressure resistance.
Hydronic Heating Systems
Type M copper pipe is often used in hydronic heating systems, which are used to heat buildings by circulating hot water through radiators or baseboards.
Its thermal conductivity and durability make it a good choice for transporting hot water in these systems.
Type M copper pipe is sometimes used as refrigerant lines in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Its lower cost compared to Type L and Type K copper makes it an attractive option for these applications.
Compressed Air Systems
Type M copper pipe can sometimes be used in compressed air systems. And it is only suitable for low-pressure compressed air systems because it has a lower pressure rating than Type L or Type K copper.
In conclusion, the decision to use Type L or Type M copper pipe largely depends on the specific application and the requirements of the plumbing system. Type L copper pipe is a thicker, more durable option that provides higher pressure resistance.
It is ideal for applications that require high pressure, such as in commercial or industrial plumbing systems. On the other hand, Type M copper pipe is thinner and more cost-effective, making it a better option for residential or light commercial plumbing systems that don’t require as much pressure resistance.