“Over time the CPVC is becoming brittle and cracking, so I will no longer apply it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it over a repair if the system already has it in there, having said that i don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich will not be alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with a bit of plumbers as they encounter various troubles with it while at work. They are saying it’s less a point of if issues will occur however when.
“On some houses it lasts quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I think it provides more with regards to temperature and placement in the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But over time, any type of CPVC will almost certainly get brittle and in the end crack. And once it cracks, it cracks excellent and then you’re getting a steady stream of water from it. It’s unlike copper where you get yourself a leak within it and it also just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is. I found myself at a house the other day, and then there were three leaks within the ceiling, all from CPVC. And whenever I tried to mend them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber working for Whole House Repipe Missouri City, Colorado, says within his work he encounters CPVC piping about twenty percent of the time.
“It’s approved to put in houses, having said that i think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s coming from the floor and you kick it or anything, you do have a pretty good chance of breaking it.”
He doesn’t use it for repiping and prefers copper, partly because of the craftsmanship linked to installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber thus i choose to use copper. It actually needs a craftsman to place it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe making it look good and make it look right.”
But like a less expensive substitute for copper that doesn’t carry some of the problems linked to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich along with other plumbers say they generally use PEX since it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, and also comes with a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s just as much about the ease of installation because it is providing customers something which is more unlikely to cause issues long term.
Related: HeatLink Appeals Uponor Patent Ruling
“A great deal of it comes down to budget, yes, but also if you’re performing a repipe on a finished house where you must cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to accomplish it in PEX since you can fish it through like an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down beyond doubt.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that put in place for a certain amount of time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you only cut it having a plastic cutter, expand it by using a tool and placed it across a fitting. It’s way less labor intensive with regards to gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you need to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you could potentially probably run 30 or 40 feet of it through some holes and also you don’t have any joints.”
Any piping product will likely be vunerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC features a smaller margin for error than PEX since it is an even more rigid pipe that seems to get especially brittle as time passes.
“If a plumber uses CPVC and is, say, off by half an inch on their own holes, they’ll have to flex the pipe to get it in the hole,” he says. “It will likely be fine for a long time after which suddenly, as a result of strain, build a crack or leak. Everything should be really precise in the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s yet another little nerve-wracking to operate on because by taking an angle stop that’s screwed onto CPVC and you’re using two wrenches, you usually flex the pipe a little bit. You’re always worried about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a property within a new subdivision – your home was just 6 years of age – and we needed to replumb the whole house since it is in CPVC. We actually finished up doing three other jobs inside the same neighborhood. Following that, the 1st repipe we did is in CPVC because we didn’t understand what else to use. But we looked into it and found a greater product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I make use of it over copper usually. The only time I take advantage of copper is perfect for stub-outs to make it look nice. Copper is still a good product. It’s just expensive.
“I do know plumbers who still use CPVC. Some individuals just stick with their old guns and once such as Uponor originates out, they wait awhile before they begin using it.”
But as outlined by Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can still be a dependable material for any plumbing system provided that it’s installed properly.
In a blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about several of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in his experience, CPVC pipe failures are related to improper installation in most cases affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and in case the device is installed that is not going to permit the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this may produce a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I actually have observed was as a consequence of an improperly designed/installed system.”
Based on CPVC pipe manufacturer Lubrizol, CPVC will expand about an inch for every single 50 feet of length when exposed to a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are essential for too long runs of pipe as a way to accommodate that expansion.
“I feel that the situation resides because many plumbers installed CPVC the same as copper, and did not allow for a further expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says within his blog. “If the piping is installed … with enough changes in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is no problem.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could possibly get brittle, and extra care needs to be taken when attempting to repair it. Still, he stands behind the item.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is nice and fails to must be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my very own house with CPVC over ten years ago – no problems.”
Generally though, PEX is now the information of choice.
Within his Los Angeles service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes you can see it in mobile homes or modular homes, having said that i can’t consider a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, from the fifteen years I’ve been working here,” he says. “I don’t know why it’s not around here. We used a lot of it doing tract homes in Colorado within the 1990s when I was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell generally encounters in the work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice since you can snake it into places and you don’t must open as many walls when you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody got to me and wished to perform a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it will be 2 1/2 times the buying price of a PEX repipe just due to material and the additional time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for that.”
In the limited experience utilizing CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen exactly the same issues explained by others.
“The glue has a tendency to take an especially very long time to dry and that i do mostly service work so the notion of repairing CPVC and waiting hours to the glue to dry isn’t very appealing,” he says. “And I’ve seen it get pretty brittle with time. I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but even though it were popular here, I believe I might still use PEX over CPVC. As long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any issues with it.”