Choosing between steel and copper fittings for industrial use

9 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Piping for plumbing purposes comes in many different varieties. In an industrial environment, there are higher demands on the piping than in a domestic environment. This is why, for example, soft plastic piping isn't as common in industrial environments as in residential areas. There is also another thing that must be considered when maintaining piping for your industry's plumbing needs than just the pipes, and this is regarding the fittings. Two very common materials used for industrial fittings are steel and copper. If you are in a position where you need to choose between the two or where you're thinking of replacing one with the other, there are a few things you should consider.

Steel fittings

Steel is a very durable material for industrial fittings. It's a very hard material and if it's galvanized, it won't corrode from being exposed to water. It should even withstand being exposed to salt water constantly without showing any substantial signs of wear, which is a prominent advantage if you're working in a marine setting. One of its major advantages is that if the water in the pipe were to freeze, the fittings won't break. It's also a quite cheap material to use for fittings, but as it's a very hard material, it takes longer to install than copper, which can add to the cost of the instalment. As it also needs to be galvanized to perform to its maximum capacity, this also adds to the cost of getting steel fittings. The galvanization of the steel could also come with a harmful effect to your health, as it may introduce the presence lead to the water over time.

Copper fittings

Copper is also a durable material to use for industrial fittings. It's more flexible than steel, and the installation of it is therefore easier. The major advantage of copper fittings is that they are not affected by fire in the sense that they will not break when being exposed to fire. They also do not produce any harmful gases while burning, which spares the environment of an amount of toxic gases if the piping would catch on fire. Another advantage is that they are unlikely to let bacteria grow in the pipes because of the chemical properties of the copper, which is good if you require clean water. Even though copper is highly resistant to fire, it has a downside compared to steel when it comes to extreme cold. Copper fittings are likely to break if the water in the pipes were to freeze. Also, if the water running through or over the pipes have a high amount of acid in it, copper is likely to corrode.