All modern homes have a series of pipes that run throughout them. This is the household plumbing system. These pipes are split up into two categories: supply lines and drain lines. Supply lines are those where water comes into the house from the main shut-off valve and is supplied to all the different faucets, showers, and appliances throughout your home.

On the other hand, drain lines are the lines that run from the faucets, showers, and appliances out through your sewer system. You may hear these drain lines referred to as water waste lines. Whenever you experience a problem with either one of your supply or drain lines, you need to call a plumber to get them fixed as quickly, efficiently, and effectively as possible.

Different Piping Materials

How quickly your plumber is going to be able to fix the broken line is going to be dependent on multiple different factors. One of the most significant is the type of material used in the piping. The piping material used for a home has changed over recent decades. What was installed back in the 1970s is different from what’s installed today.

Additionally, the type of line that the pipe is going to be a part of is going to affect the material that is used. For example, different materials are used for drain lines and water supply lines. Typically, there are four types of piping materials that you might find in a home’s plumbing system, and each can affect the repair or replacement process in different ways.


One of the most common types of piping material that you’re going to find in a home is PVC. Known formally as polyvinyl chloride, this bright white material is commonly used for drain and vent lines. PVC is a rigid and inexpensive household piping material available in all sorts of diameters, ranging from a quarter of an inch up to six inches. It joins together with both a primer and solvent cement. However, some modern options have allowed for push-to-connect fittings that don’t require primer or solvent.


Copper is another common type of piping material that you’ll find in homes. Used in water supply lines, copper piping can range from as small as a quarter of an inch up to a foot wide, depending on its application. Copper is a more expensive material to buy and joins together by soldering. The soldering process requires both a heat source and metal solder to form a mechanical bond.


While galvanized piping isn’t commonly used today, it’s still present in many homes built around the 1960s and 1970s. This type of piping was regularly used for water supply lines inside the home. However, after decades of use, galvanized pipes collect mineral deposits on their inside and can reduce or completely block the water flow. When there is an issue with galvanized piping, a licensed plumber will typically replace it with a more modern material.


PEX is considered one of the most commonly used piping materials of the modern day. It’s used mainly for water supply lines in residential settings. This is a very lightweight and flexible material that’s available in sizes ranging from a quarter of an inch up to an inch. Pex is joined together by either push-to-connect fittings or by metal clamps installed by a specialized PEX crimping tool. You may hear these clamps also referred to as crimps.

In general, both PEX and PVC are considered the easiest to replace pipelines in a home. Both are fairly easy to cut through and come with simple push-to-connect fittings that can be used without a bunch of specialized tools. They simply require your plumbing professional to cut out a small section of the piping and then use a push-to-connect fitting to go over both sections that were cut.

Even the more in-depth installation methods of using clamps for PEX or primer and solvent for PVC are fairly simple and don’t take much time at all. Additionally, both PEX and PVC are readily available at the store in a wide variety of sizes and fittings.

Pipe Location

Another factor that’s going to play a big role in how quickly a pipe can be replaced in your home is its location. Pipes that are readily available from either the basement area, underneath vanities, or behind access panels are going to be the easiest to replace. However, piping that runs behind your walls or under your slab isn’t readily accessible and is going to be the hardest for your licensed plumber to replace. In many cases, hidden piping will require sections of drywall or concrete to be removed to gain access to the actual broken piping.

Water Supply vs. Drain Lines

The type of line that needs to be repaired is also going to have an impact on how long the repair process takes. Unless there is a backup in the line, drain lines tend to remain open except for a small amount of water in any of the p-traps. These p-traps are found under sinks, showers, and other appliances.

P-traps and drain lines are fairly easy to repair or replace because they don’t have any active water in them. A plumber can simply cut into the lines as needed and replace any broken, burst, or otherwise damaged sections without worrying about spills and messes.

Water supply lines, on the other hand, can take a little more effort to repair. All water supply lines have water sitting in them. This is a feature that makes it possible to have water as soon as you open the tap by turning the faucet on. If you’ve got a problem with your water supply line, the plumber will need to drain the water before beginning to work on the line. Failure to do so can result in catastrophic leaks.

Your plumbing expert will have to start with turning the main water supply off. Then, they’ll need to trace the water supply lines to see if there is an outlet of water somewhere along the line before it gets to the problem where the repair needs to take place. For example, Let’s say that you’re having a problem with the faucet on the second story of your home.

Once your plumbing experts turn off the main water supply, they should be able to turn on a faucet on the first level of your home to drain the excess water from the pipes on the second floor. This process is a little bit more in-depth than repairing drain lines and will take longer.

Call the Professionals Today

At On Time Experts in Garland, we’re here for all your household plumbing needs. We can also assist with all your heating, cooling, and indoor air quality needs. Simply contact our office today, and we’ll get one of our plumbing professionals on the way, turn to us for our emergency plumbing repair options!

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