Building Projects Switching to Stainless Steel Pipes from Copper for Drinking Water Supply!

Building Projects Switching to Stainless Steel Pipes from Copper for Drinking Water Supply

Most construction companies used copper plumbing pipes to supply drinking water to buildings. With the entry of stainless-steel pipes, the scene has become competitive and thought-provoking, making everyone question their choices. Construction companies want to know whether they should stick with the old or move to the new material. Ongoing technological and scientific evolution based on research that considers the health and environmental impact of the products helps unravel crucial insights. Companies must keep up with them to choose the best from available options and adapt for everyone’s well-being. So, let’s analyse the use of copper vs stainless steel pipes for water transfers on different grounds to understand which is better.

Durability and strength

Quality is everything, whether someone uses copper or steel pipes. Buy materials from a trusted source only. For example, Metro Steel specialises in stainless steel products. So, you can expect their quality to be superior. Regarding the nature of different materials, copper is known to be malleable and soft. While it has merits, large gas and water projects must be careful. If something knocks it during installation or storage, copper can become damaged. Stainless steel material enjoys 40% more strength and is rigid. Steel pipes need less support because of high tensile tolerance and better ability to manage thermal expansion. Also, copper sees a dramatic fall in pressure rating when the pipe size increases, making it unfit, particularly for skyscrapers.


Another critical consideration can be the carbon footprint of the materials used in construction projects. Since stainless steel can be produced without toxic chemicals, it is safer. It creates minimal or no load on landfills as it is thoroughly recyclable and is made with a proportionally higher amount of recycled matter. Copper poses recycling challenges.

Use cases

With copper pipes, one must account for velocity-related problems. High temperatures and flow rates can easily corrode the material. The risk of leaching is also there. However, stainless steel has been proven to perform better even in this area with negligible percolation. Studies show that humans can tolerate small amounts of copper. Still, the risk increases when these pipes age and disseminate too much copper ions in the drinking water as they erode. Consumption or contact with copper ions has been linked with flu-like conditions, like copper fever. It can also cause copper poisoning when absorbed in higher amounts.

It is also observed that steel’s hard oxide surface checks the growth of microorganisms and bacteria. Conversely, copper’s composition favours bacteria.

After this, you must have realised why it’s time to ditch the standard choice to embrace an improved version. Still, the cost factor can be the most significant barrier in decision-making. While both materials have pros and cons, copper pipes tend to be expensive because of the volatile rates of the raw materials. Large installations are often pricier. Then, one also faces challenges with welding. While press-fit tools can crimp pipe joints, copper cannot be sized beyond 100mm.

Steel pipes can be extended to 168mm without much cost difference. It’s also worth noting the theft risks with copper faced by both commercial and residential properties. Because it is expensive, this risk looms large.