“Over time the CPVC is becoming brittle and cracking, so I no longer make use of it,” he says. “Occasionally I have to use it over a repair when the system already has it in there, however 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 few plumbers while they encounter various issues with it while on-the-job. They claim it’s less a point of if issues will occur but once.
“On some houses it lasts quite a very long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I do believe it offers more with regards to temperature and placement of your pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But over time, any type of CPVC is going to get brittle and finally crack. And when it cracks, it cracks very good and after that you’re going to get a steady flow water out of it. It’s nothing like copper where you receive a leak within it plus it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is. I found myself at the house yesterday, there were three leaks from the ceiling, all from CPVC. So when I tried to fix them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Whole House Repipe Missouri City, Colorado, says in their work he encounters CPVC piping about 20 percent of the time.
“It’s approved to put in houses, but I think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s coming out of the ground and also you kick it or anything, you have a good chance of breaking it.”
He doesn’t apply it for repiping and prefers copper, partly as a result of craftsmanship involved with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber so I choose to use copper. It actually requires a craftsman to get it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe making it look good and make it look right.”
But like a less costly alternative to copper that doesn’t carry several of the problems related to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich and also other plumbers say they frequently consider PEX because 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 an item that is certainly unlikely to result in issues long term.
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“A lot of it boils down to budget, yes, but additionally if you’re performing a repipe with a finished house where you must cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to accomplish 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 some time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you only cut it by using a plastic cutter, expand it by using a tool and place it more than a fitting. It’s a lot less labor intensive with regards to gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you will need to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you can probably run 30 or 40 feet of it through some holes and you don’t possess any joints.”
Any piping product will probably be vunerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC features a smaller margin for error than PEX because it is a far 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 the holes, they’ll have to flex the pipe to obtain it inside a hole,” he says. “It will likely be fine for many years after which suddenly, as a result of strain, create a crack or leak. Everything should be really precise around the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s another little nerve-wracking to function on because if you take an angle stop that’s screwed onto CPVC and you’re using two wrenches, you almost always flex the pipe a bit. You’re always concerned about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a residence inside a new subdivision – your house was only 6 years of age – so we was required to replumb the whole house mainly because it is at CPVC. We actually wound up doing three other jobs in the same neighborhood. After that, the initial repipe we did is in CPVC because we didn’t understand what else to utilize. But then we looked at it and located a 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. Really the only time I take advantage of copper is designed for stub-outs making it look nice. Copper continues to be a very good product. It’s just expensive.
“I know plumbers who still use CPVC. A lot of people just adhere to their old guns so when something like Uponor arrives, they wait awhile before they begin making use of it.”
But as outlined by Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can nonetheless be a trusted material to get a plumbing system given 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 based on improper installation and in most cases affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and when the device is installed that is not going to enable the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this can create a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I have got observed was because 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 important for long runs of pipe in order to accommodate that expansion.
“I believe that the situation resides in this many plumbers installed CPVC just like copper, and failed to allow for a further expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in the blog. “If the piping is installed … with sufficient alterations in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is not an issue.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could get brittle, and further care should be taken when trying to repair it. Still, he stands behind the merchandise.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is useful and is not going to need to be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own, personal house with CPVC over 10 years ago – no problems.”
More often than not though, PEX is starting to become the material of choice.
Within his Los Angeles service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes the truth is it in mobile homes or modular homes, however i can’t visualize a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, from the 20 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 within the 1990s as i was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell usually encounters within his 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 much walls while you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody came to me and wanted to conduct a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it will be 2 1/2 times the buying price of a PEX repipe just as a result of material as well as the more time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for the.”
In the limited experience working together with CPVC, Rockwell says they have seen the identical issues explained by others.
“The glue tends to take an especially very long time to dry and that i do mostly service work so the thought of repairing CPVC and waiting hours for your glue to dry isn’t very appealing,” he says. “And I’ve seen it get pretty brittle with time. I don’t have a huge amount of exposure to it, but regardless of whether it were popular here, I feel I would still use PEX over CPVC. As long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any difficulties with it.”