“Over time the CPVC is to get brittle and cracking, and so i will no longer use it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it over a repair if the system already has it in there, but I don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich is not really alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with many plumbers because 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 provides more to do with temperature and placement in the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But with time, just about any CPVC is going to get brittle and in the end crack. And 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 not like copper where you get yourself a leak in it and yes it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is. I was at a house yesterday, and then there were three leaks within the ceiling, all from CPVC. And when I used to correct them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Water heater replacement Missouri City, Colorado, says in their work he encounters CPVC piping about twenty percent of times.
“It’s approved to place in houses, nevertheless i think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s emerging from the surface and also you kick it or anything, you do have a pretty good possibility of breaking it.”
He doesn’t utilize it for repiping and prefers copper, partly due to the craftsmanship involved with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber thus i prefer to use copper. It actually has a craftsman to place it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe and then make it look really good making it look right.”
But as a less expensive substitute for copper that doesn’t carry some of the problems linked to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich and also other plumbers say they often use PEX as it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, plus has a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s just as much about the simplicity of installation as it is providing customers an item which is unlikely to result in issues long term.
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“A great deal of it comes down to budget, yes, but additionally if you’re carrying out a repipe on a finished house where you need to cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to do it in PEX because you can fish it through such as an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down beyond doubt.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that set up for a certain amount of time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you just cut it using a plastic cutter, expand it having a tool and put it spanning a fitting. It’s significantly less labor intensive with regards to gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you have to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you can probably run 30 or 40 feet of this through some holes and you also don’t have joints.”
Any piping product will probably be vunerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC includes a smaller margin for error than PEX as it is a much more rigid pipe that appears to get especially brittle over time.
“If a plumber uses CPVC which is, say, off by half an inch on the holes, they’ll have to flex the pipe to get it in a hole,” he says. “It will be fine for several years then suddenly, because of the strain, create a crack or leak. Everything must be really precise on the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s another little nerve-wracking to operate on because if you are taking an angle stop that’s screwed onto CPVC and you’re using two wrenches, you typically flex the pipe slightly. You’re always worried about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a property within a new subdivision – your house was only 6 years old – therefore we had to replumb the complete house since it is in CPVC. We actually ended up doing three other jobs from the same neighborhood. Afterward, the first repipe we did is at CPVC because we didn’t know what else to make use of. However we investigated it and discovered a better product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I utilize it over copper usually. Really the only time I take advantage of copper is made for stub-outs making it look nice. Copper is still a very good product. It’s just expensive.
“I do know plumbers who still use CPVC. A lot of people just stick to their old guns and whenever something such as Uponor is released, they wait awhile before they start making use of it.”
But in accordance with Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can nonetheless be a dependable material for the plumbing system as long as it’s installed properly.
Inside a blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about a number of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in his experience, CPVC pipe failures are based on improper installation and usually affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and if the machine is installed that fails to enable the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this could create a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I have got observed was due to an improperly designed/installed system.”
As outlined by CPVC pipe manufacturer Lubrizol, CPVC will expand about an inch for each 50 feet of length when exposed to a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are important for very long runs of pipe to be able to accommodate that expansion.
“I assume that the situation resides in that many plumbers installed CPVC the same as copper, and did not enable the additional expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in their blog. “If the piping is installed … with plenty of alterations 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 seeking to repair it. Still, he stands behind the merchandise.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is nice and is not going to have to be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my very own house with CPVC over ten years ago – no problems.”
Usually though, PEX is becoming the material of choice.
In his Los Angeles service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes you see it in mobile homes or modular homes, but I can’t think of a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, within the 15 years I’ve been working here,” he says. “I don’t know why it’s not around here. We used a variety of it doing tract homes in Colorado inside the 1990s after i was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell in most cases encounters in his work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice since you can snake it into places so you don’t ought to open as numerous walls when you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody got to me and desired to do a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it might be 2 1/2 times the cost of a PEX repipe just due to material as well as the more time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for that.”
In their limited experience utilizing CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen the same issues explained by others.
“The glue is likely to take an especially while to dry and I do mostly service work so the thought 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 a lot of experience with it, but even if it were popular here, I believe I would still use PEX over CPVC. As long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any issues with it.”