Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant, good-looking and low maintenance material that has almost limitless applications in commercial, industrial, and residential environments. Its high resistance to corrosion, heat, and chemical damage, coupled with its significant strength to weight ratio, make it the ideal choice for plumbing fixtures and fittings.
A huge plus in using stainless steel for water pipes is that it can be used in all types of water as it has an extremely low corrosion rate. Leaching of constituent alloys is minimal, falling well within the permitted limits for products in contact with drinking water in public supply. It is also highly resistant to the chlorine disinfection levels often found in drinking water.
Different types of stainless steel are better suited to different plumbing applications. In cold water systems, for example, 304 Grade is suitable for water containing up to 200 ppm chlorides, while 316 Grade is better for up to 1000 ppm chlorides. For hot water systems however, it’s better to use more conservative limits - 50 ppm chlorides for 304, and 250 ppm chlorides for 316.
Stainless steel can also withstand very high flow rates, in excess of 40m/second, and copes easily with changes in cross-section, turbulence and direction. In addition, smaller pipe sizes can successfully be used for the same mass flow rate than would be possible with other materials. This reduction in diameter, wall thickness and weight means it’s quick and easy to install, and is relatively easy to bend and cut, making it perfect for areas where space is limited, or where the use of heat would be problematic.
Although the initial costs of using stainless steel are usually higher than with other materials, this increased cost is usually more than off-set by the fact that it has an expected life-span of over 50 years, and needs little, if any, maintenance after installation. This reduces the need for system downtime for maintenance and replacement.
If you’re in the plumbing industry, why not chat to a member of our qualified team who will help you find the best stainless steel product for your needs. Visit www.steelmor.co.za to see how we can help.