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Honey Do List: Plumbing pipes

As the temperatures are still lingering near the lower end of the thermometer, let’s continue to look at plumbing pipe.

PVC/CPVC has been around for a while now. Both are easy to handle and install with “glue-in” fittings. I say “glue-in” because the pipe doesn’t actually stick together; rather, it chemically melts together when the proper glue is administered. Basically, you apply PVC glue to the end of the pipe, slide on the fitting, give it a slight quarter-turn, and in minutes you have a connection that is ready for water pressure to be applied.

Some common mistakes made with PVC/CPVC are:

  • Applying glue to both sides that are being put together. This can result in too much product, and the fitting may not hold.
  • Using PVC (white pipe) on hot water applications. CPVC should always be used for hot water. It can typically handle water temperatures up to 200 degrees.
  • Using threaded CPVC fittings to add on to a metal threaded pipe. Plastic and metal expand and contract at different rates, and this connection may leak. There are special factory-made fittings that are made for this.
  • Using the wrong glue. CPVC pipe is chemically different from PVC pipe, so make sure the glue you purchase is rated for the pipe you are using. Cleaner and primer are recommended for a sure connection. There is also glue that is used in wet applications. If you can’t get the water flow completely stopped, look for the “blue glue.”
  • Failure to insulate properly. This pipe needs insulation if it is used in any exterior situation. Wind is our greatest enemy, so if the pipe is exposed in any way, insulate it. Many times pipes are forgotten that run close to a foundation vent.

PVC/CPVC pipe is very common, but its days may be numbered. Next week, we’ll look at the new PEX pipe and Sharkbite fittings.

Stay warm and remember, help is just around the corner at your local hardware store.

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