The Different Types of Copper Tubing

Copper piping can be found in numerous appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators. Whether it’s soft copper or rigid copper, or used for residential purposes or commercial construction, copper pipes are a major part of any project. However, there’s more than just one kind of copper pipe, and to do the job right, you need to know what kind of copper pipe is needed most. The three most predominant kinds of these pipes are called:

  • Type L pipe
  • Type K pipe
  • Type M pipe

What’s the difference between each of these pipes? What are these different types of copper tubes used for? The following are the different kinds of copper pipes, and their applications in different fields.

Type L Copper Tubing

Copper pipe Type L is the most common variety out of the three and can be found in interior plumbing systems. Furthermore, there are two kinds available: hard copper Type L and soft copper Type L. For water line replacement, the latter is most common, and the former for outside the house since it’s more durable and will need to withstand direct exposure to the elements.

Type K Copper Pipe

Among the three different kinds of copper tubing, Type K possesses the thickest walls. Type K copper pipes are often found in water distribution systems, but they’re also quite commonly used in the oil industry, in heating and air systems, and even in fire protection. You won’t ever find these being used for natural gas, though. Type K is unapproved, due to the harm the gas can cause to the pipe’s joints. K Copper pipes, however, are useful when installing main water lines.

Type M Copper Pipe

This is the thinnest of the three types of pipes, but also one of the most affordable. Like Type L, it comes in both soft and hard varieties. Type M copper pipes tend to be found most in vacuum systems and for distributing water throughout your home, making it a relatively popular choice for copper tubing. AD: Local Counselor>

DMV Pipes

While Types L, K, and M are the major kinds of copper pipes, there is a fourth, less common variety called DMV piping. If you live in an older home, you’ve probably seen this type. It’s still in use, however, albeit strictly for above ground usage for drains and as a way to vent plumbing. Similarly to Type M piping, DMV pipes are thin-walled pipes, and cannot handle high pressure. If you are using DMV piping for anything, make sure the pressure doesn’t exceed 15 psi. The way to tell DMV pipes apart from Type M pipes is to look for yellow marks, which are used for identifying DMV pipes.

Whenever copper pipes are used for many of these applications, they need to be reshaped, bent, or coiled. If you are a part of one of these industries, or are doing some home maintenance and need coiled tubing, contact Metal Forming Solutions.