“Over time the CPVC is getting brittle and cracking, thus i no more use it,” he says. “Occasionally I need to use it on the repair as soon as the system already has it in there, nevertheless i don’t use CPVC for repipes anymore.”
Grzetich is just not alone. Though still an accepted material for piping, CPVC is losing favor with some plumbers while they encounter various troubles with it while at the job. They claim it’s less a point of if issues will occur but once.
“On some houses it lasts quite quite a long time before it gets brittle. Other houses, I believe it has more to do with temperature and placement of the pipe than anything,” Grzetich says. “But over time, any sort of CPVC will probably get brittle and eventually crack. And when it cracks, it cracks very good then you’re going to get a steady stream water out of it. It’s nothing like copper where you get yourself a leak within it and yes it just drips. Once CPVC cracks, it is going. I found myself at the house a few days ago, and there were three leaks inside the ceiling, all from CPVC. So when I used to fix them, the pipe just kept cracking.”
Sean Mayfield, a master plumber employed by Whole House Repipe Richmond, Colorado, says in the work he encounters CPVC piping about twenty percent of the time.
“It’s approved to set in houses, but I think it’s too brittle,” he says. “If it’s emerging from the surface so you kick it or anything, you have a pretty good chance of breaking it.”
He doesn’t use it for repiping and prefers copper, partly as a result of craftsmanship associated with installing copper pipe.
“I’m a 25-year plumber and so i want to use copper. It actually has a craftsman to set it in,” he says. “Not everybody can sweat copper pipe and make it look nice making it look right.”
But like a cheaper substitute for copper that doesn’t carry a few of the problems linked to CPVC, Mayfield, Grzetich and other plumbers say they often times choose PEX as it allows more leeway for expansion and contraction, as well as carries a longer warranty than CPVC. For Mayfield and Grzetich it’s just as much about the simplicity of installation since it is providing customers an item that is more unlikely to cause issues in the long run.
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“A large amount of it boils down to budget, yes, and also if you’re doing a repipe on a finished house where you will need to cut the sheetrock and everything, it’s always easier just to get it done in PEX because you can fish it through as an electrical wire,” Mayfield says. “It cuts the labor down for certain.
“And CPVC uses glue joints that create for some time,” he adds. “With the PEX, you simply cut it with a plastic cutter, expand it using a tool and placed it spanning a fitting. It’s much less labor intensive in terms of gluing and drilling holes. Gluing on CPVC, you will need to glue every joint. Whereas PEX, you could potentially probably run 30 or 40 feet of this through some holes and you also don’t have joints.”
Any piping product is going to be vulnerable to problems if it’s not installed properly, but Mayfield notes that CPVC includes a smaller margin for error than PEX since it is a more rigid pipe that has a tendency to get especially brittle as time passes.
“If a plumber uses CPVC and it is, say, off by half an inch on the holes, they’ll must flex the pipe to obtain it within a hole,” he says. “It will be fine for a long time after which suddenly, as a result of strain, establish a crack or leak. Everything should be really precise about the measurements with CPVC. Then it’s another little nerve-wracking to be effective 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 a little bit. You’re always concered about breaking the pipe because it’s brittle.”
“We did a house in a new subdivision – your house was just 6 years of age – and we had to replumb the whole house as it was in CPVC. We actually wound up doing three other jobs within the same neighborhood. Afterward, the first repipe we did was in CPVC because we didn’t understand what else to work with. Then again we considered it and located an improved product.”
“I’ve done about 20 repipes with Uponor. I’ve had zero callbacks, zero issues,” he says. “I use it over copper usually. The only real time I personally use copper is designed for stub-outs to make it look nice. Copper continues to be a really good product. It’s just expensive.
“I know plumbers who still use CPVC. Many people just stay with their old guns and whenever something such as Uponor comes out, they wait awhile before they begin working with it.”
But based on Steve Forbes of Priority Plumbing in Dallas, Oregon, CPVC can nevertheless be a reliable material for the plumbing system as long as it’s installed properly.
Inside a blog on his company’s website, Forbes writes about a few of the concerns surrounding CPVC, noting that in their experience, CPVC pipe failures are related to improper installation and often affect only hot-water lines.
“CPVC will expand when heated, and when the device is installed that does not let the hot-water lines to freely move when expanded, this can create a joint to fail,” he says. “Each instance I have got 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 exposed to a 50-degree temperature increase. Offsets or loops are very important for very long runs of pipe to be able to accommodate that expansion.
“I believe that the trouble resides in this many plumbers installed CPVC the same as copper, and did not allow for an added expansion and contraction of CPVC systems,” Forbes says within his blog. “If the piping is installed … with plenty of variations in direction and offsets, expansion and contraction is not a problem.”
Forbes does acknowledge that CPVC could possibly get brittle, and extra care ought to be taken when wanting to repair it. Still, he stands behind the merchandise.
“CPVC, if properly installed, is useful and does not should be replaced,” he says. “I repiped my own house with CPVC over several years ago – no problems.”
More often than not though, PEX is now the information associated with preference.
In his Los Angeles service area, Paul Rockwell of Rocksteady Plumbing says CPVC plumbing is rare.
“Sometimes the thing is it in mobile homes or modular homes, nevertheless i can’t imagine a foundation home that I’ve seen it in, from 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 within the 1990s after i was working there.”
Copper and PEX are what Rockwell most often encounters within his work. He typically uses Uponor PEX on repiping jobs.
“PEX is nice because you can snake it into places and you also don’t have to open several walls when you would with copper,” he says. “If somebody came to me and wanted to do a copper repipe, I’d dexspky68 it but it could be 2 1/2 times the buying price of a PEX repipe just because of the material along with the additional time. So it’s pretty rare that somebody asks for that.”
In the limited experience utilizing CPVC, Rockwell says he has seen the identical issues described by others.
“The glue has a tendency to take an especially very long time to dry and so i do mostly service work so the idea of repairing CPVC and waiting hours for that glue to dry isn’t very appealing,” he says. “And I’ve seen it get pretty brittle after a while. I don’t have plenty of exposure to it, but even if it were popular here, I do believe I might still use PEX over CPVC. So long as it’s installed properly, I haven’t seen any troubles with it.”