Reasons You May Want to Reconsider How You Use Copper

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Reasons You May Want to Reconsider How You Use Copper

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Copper is a very popular material, in part, because it is very easy to work with.  It can be bent by hand and adapted to serve a wide-range of purposes.  Copper is also lightweight when compared to steel, and it doesn’t produce toxic fumes at high temperatures like its PVC counterpart.  However, the user-friendliness of copper doesn’t necessarily mean its the best option out there.  Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why you may want to consider using a different type of material on your next project.

Theft

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Copper is still in high-demand, and recycling the material can be a profitable enterprise.  This is why so many people wake up to find copper tubing missing from air conditioning units or pipes.  Unfortunately, along with theft comes violence in many cases, and people have been attacked because they were trying to ward off intruders on their property.  While there are things that we can do to minimize risk, such as hiding copper tubes or pipes, avoiding attracting unwanted attention is the best defense against potential problems.   

Illness

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There is strong research that suggests that copper releases harmful compounds when heated.  This is one of the reasons that you don’t see as many copper-lined pots and pans in stores these days.  It is also one of the reasons that people suggest that other material should be used for pipes that transport hot water. 

While we all need copper in minute amounts, too much can lead to a wide-range of illnesses that include anything from digestive discomfort to kidney disease.  New research also suggests that exposure to too much copper can also contribute to heart problems as well as Alzheimer’s disease.  However, exactly how much is too much is still up for interpretation.

Poor Thermal Capabilities

One of the most common uses for copper with respect to preparedness and self-sufficiency has to do with generating hot water or heat in general.  Just look at all of the projects out there that involve using copper tubing or coils as part of improvised solar heaters, to transport water from fires or other similar applications.  It is a standard, universal, go-to solution to many problems that we will encounter during a prolonged crisis.  However, copper is also far from efficient, and a lot of people don’t realize that this material can actually waste more heat than it produces.

In fact, replacing copper with black hose or tubing can help the unit absorb more heat.  The material can also significantly reduce the amount of heat is lost from radiating into the ambient air.  Tubing or hose may also be much easier to work with, and chances are that you’re not going to have to worry about someone trying to steal components.

We’re not saying not to use copper, because it is one of those materials that can be useful during times when other options may not be available.  There are also roles for copper that can be hard to replace.  For example, you can’t wrap a rubber hose around the chimney of a wood burning stove in order to make hot water.  On the other hand, you can find ways to improvise so that you minimize the amount of copper you are planning to use. 

Take a closer look at the benefits as well as the drawbacks of using copper.  Chances are that you will look at copper a little bit differently from here on out.  However, this will also help you to come up with better, more efficient projects that can make life off the grid easier to manage.