“Over time the CPVC is getting brittle and cracking, thus i not any longer use it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it over a repair as soon as the system already has it within, having said that 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 some plumbers because they encounter various difficulties with it while on-the-job. They claim it’s less a matter of if issues will occur but when.
“On some houses it lasts quite quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I think it provides more with regards to temperature and placement of the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But as time passes, any type of CPVC is going to get brittle and finally crack. And when it cracks, it cracks excellent and then you’re going to get a steady stream of water out of it. It’s not like copper where you have a leak in it and it also just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it goes. I found myself at a house yesterday, and there were three leaks inside the ceiling, all from CPVC. And once I used to repair 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 % of the time.
“It’s approved to set 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 possibility of breaking it.”
He doesn’t use it for repiping and prefers copper, partly due to craftsmanship involved with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber so I want to use copper. It genuinely requires a craftsman to get it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe making it look great to make it look right.”
But as being a more affordable option to copper that doesn’t carry a number of the problems related to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich as well as other plumbers say they often turn to PEX as it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, and also carries a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s as much about the ease of installation since it is providing customers an item that is not as likely to result in issues in the long run.
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“A large amount of it boils down to budget, yes, but also if you’re doing a repipe on a finished house where you have to cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to make it happen in PEX since you can fish it through just like an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down for certain.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that put in place for some time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you only cut it with a plastic cutter, expand it using a tool and set it more than 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 could potentially probably run 30 or 40 feet of it through some holes and you don’t possess any joints.”
Any piping product will probably be prone to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC carries a smaller margin for error than PEX since it is a far more rigid pipe that appears to get especially brittle after a while.
“If a plumber uses CPVC and is, say, off by half an inch on their own holes, they’ll have to flex the pipe to have it inside a hole,” he says. “It will probably be fine for a long time and after that suddenly, because of the strain, build a crack or leak. Everything should be really precise on the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s also a little nerve-wracking to work 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 concerned about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a home in the new subdivision – the house was only 6 years old – and we needed to replumb the entire house because it is in CPVC. We actually finished up doing three other jobs within the same neighborhood. Next, the 1st repipe we did is in CPVC because we didn’t determine what else to make use of. However we considered it and found a greater product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I make use of it over copper usually. The only time I prefer copper is for stub-outs to make it look nice. Copper remains to be a good product. It’s just expensive.
“I know plumbers who still use CPVC. Many people just stay with their old guns and when something similar to Uponor is released, they wait awhile before they begin making use of it.”
But in accordance with Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can still be a reliable material to get a plumbing system given that it’s installed properly.
In the blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about some of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in the experience, CPVC pipe failures are based on improper installation in most cases affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and when the system is installed that does not allow 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.”
In accordance with 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 very important for long runs of pipe to be able to accommodate that expansion.
“I believe that the situation resides because many plumbers installed CPVC the same as copper, and did not enable the added expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in their 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 attempting to repair it. Still, he stands behind the merchandise.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is great and fails to should be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own, personal house with CPVC over several years ago – no problems.”
Generally though, PEX is starting to become the information associated with preference.
In his Southern California service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes the truth is it in mobile homes or modular homes, having said that i can’t consider a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, in the 10 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 their work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice since you can snake it into places and you also don’t need to open several walls as you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody stumbled on me and desired to conduct a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it would be 2 1/2 times the cost of a PEX repipe just because of the material and also the extra time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for your.”
Within his limited experience utilizing CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen exactly the same issues described by others.
“The glue has a tendency to take an especially while to dry and so i do mostly service work so the idea of repairing CPVC and waiting hours for the 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 huge amount of knowledge of it, but even though it were popular here, I do believe I would still use PEX over CPVC. Provided that it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any problems with it.”