“Over time the CPVC is to get brittle and cracking, so I will no longer apply it,” he says. “Occasionally I have to use it on the repair as soon as the system already has it within, but I don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich is not alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with a few plumbers since they encounter various issues with it while at work. They are saying it’s less an issue 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 concerning temperature and placement of your pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But over time, any kind of CPVC will almost certainly get brittle and in the end crack. And as soon as it cracks, it cracks pretty decent then you’re getting a steady flow of water from it. It’s not like copper where you get yourself a leak in it and it also just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is going. I was at the house yesterday, there were three leaks within the ceiling, all from CPVC. And when I used to mend them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Whole House Repipe Missouri City, Colorado, says in his work he encounters CPVC piping about 20 percent of the time.
“It’s approved to get in houses, nevertheless i think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s coming out of the surface and you kick it or anything, you do have a good possibility of breaking it.”
He doesn’t apply it repiping and prefers copper, partly due to the craftsmanship involved in installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber therefore i choose to use copper. It actually takes a craftsman to set it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe and then make it look good making it look right.”
But as being a less expensive alternative to copper that doesn’t carry a few of the problems connected with CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich along with other plumbers say they frequently choose PEX as it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, as well as has a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s all the about the ease of installation as it is providing customers something which is less likely to result in issues long term.
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“A large amount of it comes down to budget, yes, but additionally if you’re carrying out a repipe over a finished house where you must cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to make it happen in PEX since you can fish it through as an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down beyond doubt.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that put in place for some time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you simply cut it by using a plastic cutter, expand it using a tool and set it more than a fitting. It’s a lot less labor intensive so far as gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you have to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you can probably run 30 or 40 feet than it through some holes so you don’t possess any joints.”
Any piping product will be vunerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC has a smaller margin for error than PEX because it is a much more rigid pipe that seems to get especially brittle over time.
“If a plumber uses CPVC which is, say, off by half an inch on their own holes, they’ll ought to flex the pipe to obtain it in a hole,” he says. “It will likely be fine for several years and after that suddenly, as a result of strain, create a crack or leak. Everything has to be really precise about the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s additionally 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 almost always flex the pipe slightly. You’re always concered about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a home in the new subdivision – the house was only 6 years – therefore we had to replumb the entire house because it is at CPVC. We actually ended up doing three other jobs in the same neighborhood. Next, the first repipe we did is at CPVC because we didn’t understand what else to utilize. But we looked into it and found a much better 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 real time I personally use copper is made for stub-outs making it look nice. Copper remains an excellent product. It’s just expensive.
“I know plumbers who still use CPVC. Some people just stick to their old guns and when something like Uponor arrives, they wait awhile before they start working with it.”
But based on Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can nonetheless be a reliable material for any plumbing system as long as it’s installed properly.
Inside a blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about a number of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in the experience, CPVC pipe failures are related to improper installation and often affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and if the system is installed that does not enable the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this can produce a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I have observed was as a result of an improperly designed/installed system.”
According to 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 very important for long runs of pipe in order to accommodate that expansion.
“I assume that the issue resides in that many plumbers installed CPVC exactly like copper, and failed to enable an added expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says in his blog. “If the piping is installed … with plenty of alterations in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is not an issue.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could possibly get brittle, and extra care should be taken when wanting to repair it. Still, he stands behind the item.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is nice and fails to have to be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own, personal house with CPVC over 10 years ago – no problems.”
Most of the time though, PEX is becoming the material of choice.
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, nevertheless i can’t imagine 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 from the 1990s once 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 also don’t have to open as numerous walls as you may would with copper,” he says. “If somebody came to me and desired to do a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it will be 2 1/2 times the price tag on a PEX repipe just as a result of material as well as the additional time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for the.”
Within his limited experience working with CPVC, Rockwell says they have seen the identical issues described by others.
“The glue will take an especially while to dry and I do mostly service work so the thought of repairing CPVC and waiting hours to 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 believe I might still use PEX over CPVC. As long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any issues with it.”