3 Potential Issues With Plastic Plumbing

Friday, July 29th, 2016
hire a local plumbing company to help with your winter plumbing problems

Many homeowners and plumbers choose to use plastic plumbing for a variety of reasons. Plastic plumbing is less expensive and lighter than metal. Also, plastic is not prone to corrosion and it is not as difficult to install. Although many homes contain plastic plumbing, there are some potential issues to consider. Understanding these potential issues will help you make the best decision for your home.

PVC and CPVC failures

Generally, PVC pipe is approved for cold water applications while CPVC is approved for both cold and hot applications. Each type of plastic plumbing is designed to fulfill a specific purpose. Most styles of plastic plumbing will have a color-coded stripe on the side of the pipe that shows the approved purpose.

Problems can occur if a plastic pipe is used for the wrong purpose. If a pipe designed to deliver cold water is used for hot water, the pipe can soften, sag, melt and eventually fail because of splits. If you are ever unsure of a pipes purpose, it is better to purchase a new piece than risk a pipe failure.

Another common plastic plumbing failure occurs at the connection because of a poor clue job. Both PVC and CPVC are primed with acetone and glued, rather than soldered.

Problems with polybutylene plumbing

The 1970’s brought a wave of polybutylene (PB) plumbing that was praised as a flexible, cost-effective pipe. The pipe was used throughout the United States and Canada by homeowners and contractors that wanted something cheaper than copper. Unfortunately, PB began showing signs of failure rather quickly. Several lawsuits came about because of these failures. The problems primarily occurred at the plumbing connections or joints. Issues arose as plumbers used metal connectors and fittings that were not compatible with the pipe.

Newer PB products are of a higher quality than they once were. However, some insurance companies will cancel a homeowner’s policy if the home has PB plumbing. If you are unsure if your home has PB plumbing, check to see if the pipe is gray, flexible and soft.

Environmental hazards to plastic plumbing

Both PVC and CPVC pipes should be insulated if they are exposed to weather conditions. These pipes are not indestructible. In cold weather, the supply lines under your home could freeze, expand and break. Plastic plumbing is also in danger due to heat. Install the pipes away from heat sources such as a furnace or boiler supply lines. Also, exposure to ultraviolet light can break down PVC pipe over time.

If you have questions about plastic plumbing and what may be the right choice for your home, contact the professional plumbers at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical, Inc. We provide commercial, heavy industrial, and residential services throughout the Texas Panhandle and Tri-State area. Give us a call at (806) 376-8345 or Contact Us via email. You can also visit us in person at 404 S. Hayden St. in Amarillo, Texas.