Copper pipes are most commonly found in domestic water distribution systems.
A supply pipe is a plumbing line used to supply water to installations in homes and commercial buildings. These supply lines can be connected to plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets and external hose connectors. Together, the supply pipes and a second set of return or sewer piping form a complete plumbing system.
A supply pipe can supply water to facilities in commercial buildings, such as public restrooms.
Water flowing through a supply pipe enters the house via a main water line, which is equipped with some form of shut-off valve or meter. As water enters the house, the supply pipe splits into two separate piping systems. One passes through the hot water heater to create hot water, while the other continues through the house carrying cold water to the plumbing.
Supply lines can connect to plumbing installations such as showers.
There are several different types of plumbing systems that include multiple water supply lines. The most basic is a loop system, where a single supply pipe carries water to all facilities on all floors of the house. Branched systems are more complex and consist of a main supply line that has branched into separate floors or areas using multiple pipes.
The feed tube can be made from many different materials depending on the application. Copper piping is one of the most common and is mainly used for domestic water distribution. Copper is securely joined using soldered fittings and requires very little maintenance over time. A major disadvantage of copper piping is its high cost. This material can also be difficult for novice installers to use properly due to the soldering required.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is another popular option, although it can only be used for cold water. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) supply piping can be used for water up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). Both PVC and CPVC are very affordable and easy to install, but generally require more maintenance than copper.
Piping used in water supply lines must have certain features to ensure it can safely transport water. The piping must be clean and non-reactive so as not to contaminate or change the taste of the water. It must also be installed correctly so that it does not leak and must be of the proper size to maintain constant pressure. Pipes of very large size will not be able to carry water over long distances. Those that are too small in size can burst or leak due to the high pressure levels inside the tube.