Selecting Materials for Your HVAC Piping

Selecting Materials for Your HVAC Piping

HVAC piping has to withstand a variety of temperatures, pressures, and fluids. Your HVAC system will only run smoothly if your piping and its fittings are made of the right materials. Let’s take a closer look at the best HVAC piping materials.


Copper is resistant to corrosion, scaling, high temperatures, and UV (ultraviolet) degradation. It has high mechanical strength and doesn’t decompose to poisonous gases. For those reasons, copper is suitable for use in several HVAC systems, such as:

  • In ground source heat pumps to transfer heat to and from your home
  • To transport refrigerant in air conditioning systems
  • As piping material in radiant heating and solar energy systems

Lead-free solder, brazing, or pressure-seal fittings are typically used to join copper pipes.


Copper piping has size limitations. In applications that require large piping sizes, steel is usually the preferred material. Steel piping allows for a range of sizing requirements as well as temperatures and pressures. The type of steel pipes suitable for HVAC applications include schedule 40 and schedule 80 piping. Schedule is the piping wall thickness. A bigger schedule number indicates a thicker piping wall.

The materials that steel pipes are suitable for transporting to and from HVAC equipment include:

  • fuel oil
  • steam
  • condenser water
  • condensate return and pumped condensate
  • chilled water
  • hot water

Malleable-iron or wrought-steel fittings typically join steel pipes.


Plastic pipes have been widely used within vent piping systems, especially in underground applications where the pipe is in contact with the soil. Some soils are naturally corrosive. PVC and CPVC plastic piping are advantageous to use in such cases due to their corrosive resistance. Metallic pipes used in underground applications are usually insulated from the surrounding soil with a PVC jacketing.

Socket-type fittings and solvent cements usually join plastic pipes.

Using the wrong materials in your HVAC pipes can lead to a catastrophic failure. Make sure you only use the recommended materials. To learn more about any HVAC equipment, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors. We can install, repair, or service HVAC piping and any other heating and cooling components in your Monmouth County home.

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