For decades, POLYMELT has provided PP-R (polypropylene random copolymer) pipes to engineers, building owners, and contractors around the world as a durable and safe alternative to steel or copper pipes for HVAC systems and many other applications. PP-R is an increasingly popular choice because its material characteristics make it a viable and cost-effective option.

PP-R is a thermoplastic. The plastic becomes soft when heated but solidifies as it cools, making it easy to mold or join with other PP-R products. PP-R is manufactured with random-length copolymers that give the plastic its flexibility. But how does it compare to traditional copper and steel piping? Key factors give PP-R an edge when it comes to installation and maintenance costs.

1. The Market
The market for PP-R pipes is more stable than that for metal pipes. PP-R is not an international commodity subject to tariffs or unpredictable price fluctuations. This makes budgeting for projects much easier, since cost estimates are not likely to rise or fall much if at all. Stable markets also deter jobsite theft, since there is no scrap value for plastic pipes.

2. Thermal Fusion
Because PP-R is a thermoplastic, thermal fusion is used to connect pipes and fittings. Thermal fusion does not involve flame, which is superior from a safety standpoint as well as a labor-costs standpoint. Joints and fittings can be placed anywhere along the pipe where they are needed. Thermal fusion is also faster than traditional welding and soldering. In fact, thermal fusion used in installing PP-R piping can cut labor by 25 percent or more compared to the time it takes to install metal pipes.

3. Thermal Conductivity
The low thermal conductivity of PP-R reduces potential heat loss due to thicker-walled piping. The naturally low thermal conductivity is significantly lower than that of metal pipes. PP-R pipes often require less insulation than metal pipes—sometimes none at all.. Despite this, thinner-walled PP-R pipes still perform well for radiant heating and cooling. Energy costs money, and PP-R intelligently minimizes the heat transfer rate of your hydronic system.

4. Natural Resistance
Unlike metal pipes, PP-R pipes are naturally resistant to rust, scale, and corrosion. They perform better in moist environments than metal pipes, as well. Even without water conditioners or de-scalers, PP-R pipes maintain flow rates over decades, reducing maintenance dramatically. PP-R pipes will not need to be cleaned in order to keep HVAC efficiency as close to installed conditions as possible.

If you’re ready to join the millions around the world making the switch from flawed metal pipes to cutting-edge PP-R, contact POLYMELT America today. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer support team is ready to answer any questions you may have.