Is Copper the most suitable material

Is Copper the most suitable material for use in the plumbing systems of homes, factories and office buildings?


Historically, the first recorded use of copper dates back nearly 5,000 years. A water conduit, still in a good state of preservation, was found in Abusir, the Egyptian archaeological locality dating back to 2750BC. Copper water pipes and cisterns were widely used by the Romans, as was discovered at an archaeological site of Herculaneum, which was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD.

At the turn of the 20th century, copper again gained popularity as a plumbing material especially in Europe and North America. During the First and Second World Wars, the use of copper in plumbing dropped significantly as most mined copper was used for armaments. However, after the Second World War, there was a surplus of copper and it again became popular for use in the plumbing industry.

But even with the rise in the price of copper and the development of other products such as plastic, copper still remains the material of choice in the plumbing industry. Simply and concisely put, the reasons are clear.

Copper is tried and tested and has no rivals when it comes to proven performance. Copper gives consistently good results in plumbing and heating installations, as it’s strong, adaptable and tough. Copper components are scientifically tested and carry quality certification approvals worldwide. Consumers know that they can trust copper thus providing peace of mind with every installation of copper plumbing products.

Copper is versatile and can be used in every part of a plumbing and heating system. It is the best material to work with as it is strong, bends easily and is easy to work with both on and off-site.

Copper is long lasting. It is durable, strong and resists damage. The copper installed today will still be in use for many decades to come.

Copper is healthy and safe. Much has been said about copper’s antimicrobial properties and this becomes of paramount importance when dealing with plumbing. Copper tube fittings will keep the water supply safe.

Copper is good value for money even though it may be more expensive comparatively speaking, to other products on the market; the initial investment is soon absorbed due to the longevity and strength of the material, which will alleviate the need for costly replacements.

Copper is recyclable and, unlike other plumbing materials, keeps its value. Installing copper in your home is beneficial as it increases the value of your home. More and more people are concerned about the world’s natural resources – copper is the way to go as it minimises the impact on the environment.

Copper resists heat, corrosion, pressure and fire. One of copper’s unique properties is that it can handle extremes of heat with no side effects or long-term degradation. Copper is also resistant to corrosion and high water pressure. It doesn’t burn and keeps its shape and strength in high temperatures, which, all in all, make copper the natural choice for all plumbing requirements.

Copper is non-permeable which means that the copper plumbing in your home protects the water supply from contaminants. Nothing can permeate copper; no fluids, no germs, no oxygen and no ultra-violet rays. Copper doesn’t absorb organic substances and cannot be softened by them over a period of time. Installing copper plumbing provides peace of mind – no other plumbing material can protect you and your family quite like it.

Copper is the natural choice for professional plumbing and heating work. When seeking quality, it is advisable to rely on copper plumbing systems installed by professionals. Copper has a proven track record in the plumbing industry both locally and internationally.

So, are there any disadvantages to installing a copper plumbing system?

Copper tubing may pit if the water quality is poor and the flow not consistent with SABS standards.

Borehole water, as a rule, is not ideal for copper pipes.

There is generally no problem with municipal water.

It is absolutely essential to use only SABS approved pipes and fittings as there is periodic dumping of sub-standard piping on our shores.

Says Levine Warries, Centre Director of the Copper Development Association Africa (CDAA): “Sustainability and recycling are the buzz words of the 21st Century. Surely then it is advisable to make the initial investment of installing copper piping for your plumbing needs and in this way provide a solution that will last a lifetime”.

About the Copper Development Association Africa

The Copper Development Association Africa has represented the local copper industry since 1962. On behalf of its members, the organization is committed to promoting and expanding the use of copper and copper alloys throughout Africa.

For more information contact the Copper Development Association Africa on +27 (0) 11 824 3916; email Evert Swanepoel at or visit

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This edition

Issue 2020