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Old 06-09-2017, 12:57 PM   #1
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Default PEX or PVC for Water Supplies?



Crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) is all the rage in plumbing supplies right now, poised to replace the other popular plastic piping option, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC). Will PEX overtake the market share of PVC entirely, rendering the latter obsolete? Only time will tell, but each material has its distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it clear that, for now, PEX and PVC both have their uses and applications.

Advantages of PEX

Introduced in the 1980’s, PEX currently holds 45 percent of the market share of plumbing supplies. This material allows for the installation of both hot and cold, potable and non-potable water lines.

PEX tubing is exceptionally flexible and requires fewer joints than other plastic plumbing lines. The water-tight connections are weather and humidity-proof and installation doesn’t require glue, torches, gauges or complicated fittings that could fail through use. Instead, the tubing is connected via a crimp fitting or cold-expansion rings.

Disadvantages of PEX

The biggest downside to PEX is the possible economic dent it’ll make in your billings if you charge clients by the hour. While the cost of the material is low, the time it takes to make a connection means you’ll complete the job quicker than with PVC piping.

Be aware that not all types of PEX tubing are impermeable. If you’re installing PEX fixtures to carry potable water (to a sink, for example), make sure you’re using a certified impermeable tubing or there’s a risk of contamination.

PEX is far more UV susceptible than even PVC. Although short exposure to sunlight during installation is fine, it’s not able to be used in outdoor or above ground applications. Instead, PEX fixtures are limited strictly to indoor or underground outdoor usage.

Advantages of PVC

PVC and CPVC are mainstays in the plumbing world – they hold the majority market share of plastic plumbing fixtures. With more than 60 years of usage in the United States, these materials are the go-to choice for those looking for plastic piping. They’re safe, tested and proven over the course of time.
Simple PVC can be used in nearly all applications, while CPVC is typically used on only a few. Unlike PEX, PVC and CPVC can be used in outdoor, above-ground applications if a coat of water-based, latex or acrylic paint is used to cover the exterior of the pipes.

If you bill clients by the hour, PVC and CPVC are more cost-advantageous than PEX, as they require multiple fittings secured by cement. The strength and durability of PVC and CPVC are also greater than PEX – they’re more rigid, meaning more suited to outdoor applications where the piping can be exposed to trauma.

Disadvantages of PVC

That rigidity means PVC is less flexible than PEX. Instead of just bending it around a right angle, you must install an elbow. Not only does it mean requiring more materials when installing PVC and CPVC, there are also more connections, which means there’s a greater potential for leaks and failure.

PVC is not insusceptible to temperature – water pressure changes during temperature fluctuations. PVC and CPVC piping can freeze and crack readily and PVC is also only suitable for cold water applications. For pipes carrying hot water, you MUST install CPVC.

Although PEX has some very clear advantages over the PVC family of piping, don’t discount PVC and CPVC for many uses. Only PVC and CPVC, when properly coated, can be used outdoors and above ground, whereas PEX cannot. It looks like PEX is here to say, so it’s worthwhile to be familiar with both PEX and PVC plumbing options.

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Old 06-11-2017, 10:49 PM   #2
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This is a pointless post, similar to supply house.com posts on Facebook. I know this site has owners. Those owners must turn a profit to keep the site up. Just put more pop up ads in. Don't post pointless topic starters, all of which have been hashed over many times.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:51 PM   #3
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BTW, cpvc and PVC is as hack as it comes in residential.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:35 PM   #4
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Or they could have brought up how crappy it all is compared to copper.
The plastic " pipe of the future " has been tried before. Ask any older service plumber about quest, and how much of that crap has he changed out?


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Old 06-12-2017, 10:29 AM   #5
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In washington PVC isn't even allowed for indoor use. You may use CPVC but it's so becomes so brittle over time that I don't know any one who would install it.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:34 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=indyjim;1089098]Or they could have brought up how crappy it all is compared to copper.
The plastic " pipe of the future " has been tried before. Ask any older service plumber about quest, and how much of that crap has he changed out?

I have no idea where they get these "Great Plumbing Photos" My concern in this photo is not the pex, it is the hangers on the PVC ... DWV. The spacing of the hangers and the fact that as shown how many fasters can possibly be in the joists? What hapenes when there is a total blockage? I've seen a few systems installed like this wind up on the floor in broken pieces -- not to mention the mess!

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Old 06-12-2017, 12:50 PM   #7
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I will not use j hooks. Either hanger iron or pear hangers.


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Old 06-13-2017, 04:10 PM   #8
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Oh my goodness. Try to use M copper in part of my area and see how long it lasts before pitting & leaking. PCV, CPVC, PEX type L or K is the only thing that will hold up.

I assume your speaking about water service not DWV. I am seeing more CPVC and some PEX in my area, time will tell. Some 20 years ago the developer I was working with did multiple 4 family adaptable units, all cpvc. The only real issues we had or they still have to date is conversion at tub valves and frost proof sill cocks. As long as it was a cpvc male no problem, cpvc female adapters tended to split. Still holding up.

I can remember when everyone was complaining about ABS or PVC for DWV uses. No unless it is a large commercial project, or a cool down line is needed, a couple of religious uses we all see PVC. I think one of the last holds out was California, heavy union. They wanted to keep the time up for installation and make sure no one else would have an easy time, since yes it takes skill to install cast iron.

Cast iron as well as M copper has it's own issue. The sewer gas will rot the top clean out of a horizontal run, I am sure we have all seen vertical splits as well. Some issues are purely caused by the installers. We are not going backwards anytime soon, so be it as it may don't use newer material and eventually get left behind.
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Old 06-16-2017, 12:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAN View Post
Oh my goodness. Try to use M copper in part of my area and see how long it lasts before pitting & leaking. PCV, CPVC, PEX type L or K is the only thing that will hold up.

I assume your speaking about water service not DWV. I am seeing more CPVC and some PEX in my area, time will tell. Some 20 years ago the developer I was working with did multiple 4 family adaptable units, all cpvc. The only real issues we had or they still have to date is conversion at tub valves and frost proof sill cocks. As long as it was a cpvc male no problem, cpvc female adapters tended to split. Still holding up.

I can remember when everyone was complaining about ABS or PVC for DWV uses. No unless it is a large commercial project, or a cool down line is needed, a couple of religious uses we all see PVC. I think one of the last holds out was California, heavy union. They wanted to keep the time up for installation and make sure no one else would have an easy time, since yes it takes skill to install cast iron.

Cast iron as well as M copper has it's own issue. The sewer gas will rot the top clean out of a horizontal run, I am sure we have all seen vertical splits as well. Some issues are purely caused by the installers. We are not going backwards anytime soon, so be it as it may don't use newer material and eventually get left behind.
You mean Chicago?
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:43 PM   #10
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Funny Bill mentioned the photo they used and pointed out what wasn't good. I've had an issue with the pic they use on the front page talking about plumbing for people with disabilities or something like that. Here is the pic they use so you don't have to go look at the front page. Notice anything dangerous?
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