“Over time the CPVC is becoming brittle and cracking, and so i no longer make use of it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it with a repair when the system already has it in there, but 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 because they encounter various issues with it while at the job. They claim it’s less dependent on if issues will occur but when.
“On some houses it lasts quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I believe it offers more concerning temperature and placement from the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But with time, any type of CPVC is going to get brittle and eventually crack. As soon as it cracks, it cracks excellent and after that you’re going to get a steady flow water from it. It’s unlike copper where you have a leak inside it and yes it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is. I used to be at the house yesterday, and there were three leaks in the ceiling, all from CPVC. And when I attempted to mend them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Whole House Repipe Richmond, Colorado, says in their work he encounters CPVC piping about 20 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 ground and you kick it or anything, you will have a pretty good possibility of breaking it.”
He doesn’t apply it for repiping and prefers copper, partly due to the craftsmanship linked to installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber so I prefer to use copper. It really takes a craftsman to put it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe and make it look great and then make it look right.”
But as being a less expensive replacement for copper that doesn’t carry a number of the problems associated with CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich and other plumbers say they generally choose PEX mainly because it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, plus comes with a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s all the about the ease of installation because it is providing customers a product or service that may be less likely to result in issues long term.
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“A large amount of it boils down to budget, yes, but also if you’re performing a repipe with a finished house where you need to cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to make it happen 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 setup for some time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you merely work having a plastic cutter, expand it having a tool and set it spanning a fitting. It’s a lot less labor intensive so far as gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you need to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you could potentially probably run 30 or 40 feet than it through some holes and you also don’t have any joints.”
Any piping product is going to be susceptible to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC carries a smaller margin for error than PEX because it is an even more rigid pipe that generally seems to get especially brittle over time.
“If a plumber uses CPVC and it is, say, off by half an inch on his or her holes, they’ll must flex the pipe to have it inside a hole,” he says. “It is going to be fine for quite some time after which suddenly, due to the strain, develop a crack or leak. Everything needs to be really precise on the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s another little nerve-wracking to be effective on because by taking 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 home in the new subdivision – the home was only 6 years old – so we needed to replumb the whole house because it is in CPVC. We actually finished up doing three other jobs from the same neighborhood. After that, the very first repipe we did is in CPVC because we didn’t really know what else to work with. But then we looked into 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. The only real time I personally use copper is perfect 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. Many people just stick to their old guns so when something similar to 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 still be a trusted material for a plumbing system given that it’s installed properly.
Within 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 in case the machine is installed that is not going to permit the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this could create a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I have observed was as a result of an improperly designed/installed system.”
Based on CPVC pipe manufacturer Lubrizol, CPVC will expand about an inch for each 50 feet of length when put through a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are very important for long runs of pipe so that you can accommodate that expansion.
“I think that the problem resides in that many plumbers installed CPVC exactly like copper, and failed to permit the additional expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in the blog. “If the piping is installed … with sufficient changes in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is not an issue.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could get brittle, and further care needs to be taken when wanting to repair it. Still, he stands behind this product.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is great and does not must be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own house with CPVC over several years ago – no problems.”
Usually though, PEX is now the information of preference.
In his Southern California service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes you see it in mobile homes or modular homes, nevertheless i can’t imagine a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, inside 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 when I was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell usually encounters in his work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice because you can snake it into places so you don’t must open as numerous walls when you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody came to me and wished to do a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it could be 2 1/2 times the price of a PEX repipe just due to the material along with the more time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for the.”
In their limited experience utilizing CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen the identical issues described by others.
“The glue is likely to take an especially long time to dry and i also do mostly service work so the concept 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 after a while. I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but even though it were popular here, I do believe I would personally still use PEX over CPVC. Given that it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any problems with it.”