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Copper in health
Copper in the home
You still need to find objects
There are many uses of copper in the home. The picture below shows 18 of these uses. Try to find all of them (some of them appear more than once).
Interactive graphic of house with rollovers of copper uses
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Question 1    
a) Copper is an excellent electrical conductor. Which of these household items rely on this property?
Light switch Brass door knocker Water pipes Vacuum cleaner motor Taps
b) Copper alloys are wear resistant and can look like gold. Which of these items rely on these properties of copper?
Light switch Brass door knocker Water pipes Vacuum cleaner motor Taps
c) Copper has a low reactivity. Which of these household items rely on this property?
Light switch Brass door knocker Water pipes Vacuum cleaner motor Taps


Copper is used for the pipes that supply water and gas in your home.

Copper pipes

Copper piping can easily be bent into shape and sections of pipe can be joined together either by soldering or with push-fit and press fittings.


Taps are made of brass, which is an alloy of copper (a combination of copper and zinc).

Brass taps

Brass is harder and stronger than pure copper, so it wears well. Sometimes the taps are plated (with chromium or gold) so you can’t see the brass.

Picture wire

Brass picture wire has been used for centuries. The wire is flexible, strong and attractive.

Brass picture wire

Light switches

Brass contacts are hidden inside all electrical fittings. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Light switches

In fact, over half the copper produced is used in the electrical industry.

3 pin plugs

The pins of a plug are made of brass.


This is because it is hard, strong, conducts electricity well and makes good electrical contact which lasts a long time.

Light bulbs

Brass is used to make the caps for high quality light bulbs.

Brass pieces of light bulb

This is because it can be shaped easily, it doesn’t corrode and it maintains good electrical contact.

Vacuum cleaner

Copper wires are used in the motor windings of equipment like vacuum cleaners.

Coil from electric motor

Also, brass wire forms part of the electrical system operating the cord retraction mechanism.


Copper alloys are used in the wiring and the electronics inside telephones and other electrical equipment.

Telephone circuit

The telephone wires that connect to your home are also made of copper, because it conducts electricity well.

Pots and pans

Copper is ideal for making cooking pans, as it is strong, it conducts heat well, and it does not corrode.

Copper saucepans

Copper is also hygienic for use in the kitchen (e.g. on work surfaces), because it restricts the spread of micro–organisms.

Brass knobs

Brass makes very attractive door fittings, especially as it is gold coloured and resistant to corrosion.

Brass door furniture

Because brass is strong and resists wear, it is an ideal material for making locks and keys.

Decorative lamp

Brass can easily be used to make decorative items such as lamps.

Decorative brass lights

This is because it is ductile – that means it can be shaped easily – and has a good surface finish.

Clock mechanism

Many parts of clocks are often made of brass.

Brass clock parts

Brass is strong, resists wear and can be cut and formed easily to make precision parts.


Coins are made from alloys of copper; copper coins have been around for thousands of years.

Euro coins

Copper is used because it is anti-bacterial, has a long life, resists corrosion, looks like gold and is recyclable. It also has the correct electrical conductivity to be used in vending machines.


Computers have copper wiring and copper connections in their circuit boards. There are also transformers and fan motors with copper wires.


Copper provides a light, durable, maintenance free roofing system which is naturally good looking, long lasting and fully recyclable.

Copper roofing

One possible material for gutters is copper. It is light, durable, maintenance free and fully recyclable.

Copper gutters
Hot water cylinders

Hot water cylinders are made from copper due to its excellent resistance to corrosion and its ductility.

Copper cylinder

Copper's high thermal conductivity makes it ideal for the coiled heat exchanger inside the cylinder. The cylinder itself has to be lagged to reduce heat loss.

Electrical cable

Electrical flex has copper wires to conduct the electric current. The wires are braided so that the cable can bend without cracking.

Copper wiring

The electrical cables in the wall are made from thick pieces of copper wire. They don't have to be as flexible but must carry large currents without overheating.

Copper in the home
Roll your cursor over anything in the house that you think might be made of copper. There are 18 to find.