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“Over time the CPVC gets brittle and cracking, and so i no longer make use of it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it on a repair when the system already has it inside, nevertheless i don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich is just not alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with many plumbers since they encounter various problems with it while on the job. They say it’s less an issue of if issues will occur but once.
“On some houses it lasts quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I think it has more with regards to temperature and placement in the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But over time, any type of CPVC is going to get brittle and eventually crack. As soon as it cracks, it cracks pretty decent after which you’re going to get a steady flow water out of it. It’s nothing like copper where you have a leak in it and yes it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is. I used to be with a house a few days ago, there were three leaks within the ceiling, all from CPVC. And once I tried to fix them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber doing work for Whole House Repipe Missouri City, Colorado, says in his work he encounters CPVC piping about 20 % of times.
“It’s approved to place in houses, however i think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s emerging from the ground and also you kick it or anything, you do have a good possibility of breaking it.”
He doesn’t apply it repiping and prefers copper, partly due to the craftsmanship involved with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber so I want to use copper. It actually requires a craftsman to set it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe and then make it look nice making it look right.”
But as being a less expensive alternative to copper that doesn’t carry some of the problems related to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich as well as other plumbers say they often times choose PEX mainly because it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, as well as posesses a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s just as much about the ease of installation as it is providing customers something that is certainly more unlikely to result in issues in the long run.
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“A lot of it comes down to budget, yes, but in addition if you’re performing a repipe over 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 for certain.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that setup for a certain amount of time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you just make the grade having a plastic cutter, expand it with a tool and put it more than a fitting. It’s significantly less labor intensive with regards to gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you must glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you could probably run 30 or 40 feet of this through some holes so you don’t have joints.”
Any piping product will probably be vulnerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC has a smaller margin for error than PEX because it is a far more rigid pipe that appears to get especially brittle with time.
“If a plumber uses CPVC which is, say, off by half an inch on his or her holes, they’ll ought to flex the pipe to have it inside a hole,” he says. “It will likely be fine for several years and after that suddenly, due to strain, build a crack or leak. Everything should be really precise about the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s another little nerve-wracking to work on because if you take an angle stop that’s screwed onto CPVC and you’re using two wrenches, you typically flex the pipe somewhat. You’re always concerned with breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a property inside a new subdivision – your home was only 6 years of age – and we had to replumb the whole house because it is at CPVC. We actually ended up being doing three other jobs within the same neighborhood. After that, the initial repipe we did is at CPVC because we didn’t know what else to work with. But we considered it and discovered a much better product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I apply it over copper usually. The only time I use copper is made for stub-outs so it will be look nice. Copper continues to be a really good product. It’s just expensive.
“I do know plumbers who still use CPVC. Some people just stick to their old guns and when something such as Uponor comes out, they wait awhile before they start working with it.”
But according to Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can nonetheless be a reliable material for any plumbing system as long as it’s installed properly.
In the 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 and often affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and if the device is installed that does not let the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this may produce a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance We have observed was as a consequence of an improperly designed/installed system.”
In accordance with CPVC pipe manufacturer Lubrizol, CPVC will expand about an inch for every single 50 feet of length when put through a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are crucial for long runs of pipe in order to accommodate that expansion.
“I believe that the situation resides in that many plumbers installed CPVC exactly like copper, and failed to enable an added expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in the blog. “If the piping is installed … with plenty of variations in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is not a problem.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could possibly get brittle, and further care must be taken when attempting to repair it. Still, he stands behind the product.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is good and will not have to be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my very own house with CPVC over 10 years ago – no problems.”
Usually though, PEX is now the fabric associated with preference.
Within his Southern California service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes the thing is it in mobile homes or modular homes, however i can’t imagine a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, inside the 20 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 inside the 1990s once i was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell generally encounters in his work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice because you can snake it into places and you also don’t ought to open several walls while you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody stumbled on me and desired to do a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it could be 2 1/2 times the buying price of a PEX repipe just due to the material as well as the more time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for your.”
Within his limited experience working together with CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen a similar issues explained by others.
“The glue will take an especially long time to dry and I do mostly service work so the idea of repairing CPVC and waiting hours for that glue to dry isn’t very appealing,” he says. “And I’ve seen it get pretty brittle as time passes. I don’t have plenty of knowledge of it, but even when it were popular here, I think I would still use PEX over CPVC. So long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any problems with it.”