Posted on: 11 May 2016
If you have an older home with metal plumbing that is breaking down, then one of the things you may have been considering is replacing your old pipes with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plumbing. PVC pipes have been used for drains and outlets in home for decades with generally good results. They have a many advantages, but also they also have some disadvantages. If you're thinking of changing some or all of your plumbing to PVC, here are some pros and cons about this type of plumbing.
Durability and fire resistance:
PVC plumbing is known for being strong and long-lasting. Unlike metal pipes, which oxidize and break down, PVC pipes will not corrode or rust. The pipes are also lightweight and are fairly flexible making them good at handling shock and abrasion. This makes them particularly good in areas that are earthquake prone. These pipes are also fire resistant because of their chlorine properties. They can slow down and keep fire from spreading to nearby materials which is one reason why PVC is often used in non-plumbing construction such as siding and flooring.
Though PVC pipes are very sturdy, they are prone to breakage under certain conditions. Breakage can happen when the pipes are exposed to sun and heat, causing them to become brittle. They can also have problems if they're frequently exposed to very cold temperatures and are hit hard by another object during that time. Though they are promoted as being long-lasting, they can still become weaker as they age. Combine this with cold weather and sun exposure and they could split or break apart earlier than expected.
Low heat resistance and chemical exposure:
PVC pipes don't do well with heat which is why they are not approved for hot water distribution in the home. An excessive amount of very hot liquids down the drain pipe can contribute to weakening the plumbing and reducing its life. While PVC is generally good at holding up to chemical exposure, some chemicals, such as drain cleaner, may cause their properties to change and break down if used in large quantities.
Replacing the metal piping in your home is a huge undertaking and one you will probably not want to redo anytime in the near future. Though PVC piping has some advantages, such as long life and fire resistance, they are not right for everyone or every plumbing application in the home. If you are thinking of replacing any part of your plumbing, talk to a professional plumber, like Garabedian Plumbing & Heating Inc, for advice.Share