Yeah, all the well pipes here are underground. It's the altitude for us
that does it. At 5800 ft above sea level, the sun is pretty intense.
That's why a number of folks refer to Albuquerque as the "skin cancer
capital of the world". I've lived in a number of places, travelled to many
others, and have never felt the sun more intense than it is here. With
that comes extreme dryness as well so that may be playing a part in the
plastic's demise as well.
feet the amount of UV reaching the pipe is much more than it is at sea
level - anyone who mountain climbs knows this. I've got 2nd degree burns
from not respecting how much more UV exposure you get at the top of even a
moderately tall mountain.
It's my limited understanding that the PVC is worn out by the UV radiation
reacting with the chlorine in the pipe - something that CPVC as much of due
to how it's processed. But I think all plastic is harmed by UV radiation, I
know that PEX is, PVC certainly is, nylon not so much, and I'm sure a few
The grey PVC pipe they make for electrical conduit has UV inhibitors. It is
designed for outside use and holds up nicely.
I guess the reason they don't bother putting the UV inhibitor in normal
plumbing pipe, is because it usually doesn't sit out in the sun. Most of
the time it's buried underground or under a floor in insulation.
Simple solution. Put all plastic pipe inside of copper pipe, use the
next size up in the copper. Like 1/2" cpvc inside 3/4" copper.
Oh, wait a minute, soldering the copper would melt the cpvc. You have
to use steel pipe instead. :)
I'm in Arizona, and the PVC pipe I've seen turns brittle a lot earlier
than ten years, unless it's covered with white latex paint, and even
PVC conduit made to be UV resistant starts showing brown-purple spots
after a year. About the only PVC that seems impervious to sunlight
here is the kind used for siding and rain gutters.
Why isn't CPVC used more for plumbing? It seems like the perfect pipe
to me, except when for resistance against gophers gnawing on it.
PVC gets brittle in time especially in sun light ( you should always paint
it) definitely never use it for air lines regardless of what any body says.
Now CPVC I have never used for water but have used it for chemical lines,
I'm not sure if it gets brittle over time. Myself I'll stick with copper but
there are situations plastic is better ( pools, chemical lines, waste from
soda machines ) This is pretty interesting
I've been planning to re-plumb most of an old house we bought in my
home town for vacations, using pex products. My investigation so far
hasn't revealed much in the way of negatives about pex pipe. The Lowes
around here are stocking a good selection of Zurn brand pex pipe,
fittings and tools. BTW, Zurn now has a new tool, and new crimp rings,
so one needs only the one (expensive) tool to do 4 sizes of tubing.
The new tool is the kind that pinches an ear on the crimp ring, as
opposed to the tools that surround and squeeze the entire ring. That
means that it can be a bit smaller, and thus fit into some tighter
spaces. Ease of installation, resistance to freezing, and manifold
type of installation seem to be pluses to me. If anyone has had bad
luck with pex, I'm probably not the only one who would like to hear of
it. I'm getting ready to puchase the tools and supplies pretty soon.
Home Depot seems completely unaware of pex plumbing, and Menards home
centers do carry pex (Durapex), but perhaps not as complete a set as
that of Lowes. Thanks for any input.
I replaced most of my old rusty galvanized pipes under the crawl space
with oversized copper pipe when prices for copper hit rock bottom just
a few years back. But, I also used pex tubing for my radiant floor
system around the same date, due to concerns about concrete/copper
chemical reactions. Pex won't collect so much calcium/magnesium on the
interior of the pipe I understand either, so for long term plumbing
like the radiant floor, I had no choice.
I found the pex to be relatively easy to work with because fewer joints
are required. The tubing can bend around wide corners, and squeaking
is a thing of the past with this material. Be careful not to pinch the
hose when bending, or a weak spot will develop. If necessary, a little
heat will make the Pex rebound to new though. I used stainless steel
hose clamps and brass fitings for connections with the pex and haven't
found any problems. Heat the Pex slightly, and it will fit over the
barbed fitings, and then when cool fits pretty tight anyway. The new
fittings probably are better, but it's not a big deal. The only
problem with Pex that I've heard of is under very high temperature
situations. If your solar water flows through at temperatures above
180F, I'd be worried about a meltdown, but I run 140F through my system
all the time without concern. Copper won't face this high temp
problem, so I'd probably use copper for solar panel and hot water
As for using PVC or anything related to that inside the house, I
wouldn't do it. Outside, for irrigation lines, and maybe even for the
main water line leading to the house, yes, but a burst water pipe in
the wrong place is a real expensive nightmare to be avoided at almost
any cost. PVC degrades much faster in sunlight, but it does dry out
even in the dark, and becomes brittle over time regardless, and so
shouldn't be used inside the house. I still used soft copper tubing
for a recent water main to house connection. Even though it's buried
two feet down, I still worry that seismic or shovel action could crack
If you can afford copper it, get oversized type L pipes though. I ran
type L 1-1/2" copper cold water and 3/4" hot water copper pipes under
my crawl space. The mainfold for the radiant floor system was 2" pipe.
I don't like water softeners, and I don't want calcium build-up to be
a problem in my lifetime in the main lines of the house system. It
also helps reduce water hammer and other strange sounds...But, given
copper prices today, PEX is the way to go most everywhere, except the
Over sizing pipes can cause more wait time for hot water. Larger pipe= more
volume to move, especially these days with all the low flow fixtures. PEX is
fine until a Rodent decides to bite in and that dose happen. You need to
have someone size the system for you it is all based on fixture unites(
Lavi = 1 fixture unite) there is some science to it.
I chose CPVC piping when I plumbed our house a couple of years ago.
I decided against copper because we have acidic water that can cause
pinhole leaks in the pipe over time. It also takes a bit of skill and
practice to solder copper fittings, and there's always a small risk of
starting a house fire with the torch. Copper pipe is also rather expensive
PEX was my second choice, but very few stores in my area stocked it. If I
needed to make an emergency repair or small addition, I may not be able to
find the pipe or fittings nearby. PEX also required a special crimping tool
that was rather expensive at the time.
In the end, I chose CPVC pipe. It won't corrode like copper, and doesn't
require any special tools to install. It's inexpensive, and widely
available at any home center or local hardware store. It's quick to
install, and very easy to work with.
The builders use that plastic stuff because it's cheaper, and even a
Mexican can install it. Other than that, it has no real advantage over
copper. The slight flexability of copper may make it advantageous in
some circumstances. Both are fairly reliable, but I have my doubts
about threads on anything plastic. Obviously copper will cost more. I
would probably not mix the two types in a house.
The garden hose piping or also called PEX. is exactly as you said I'll
leave out the Mex. stuff , it's nothing but low end crap a money maker for
the contractor no real; skill to install it just drill a go.
The garden hose isn't the same material as PEX. Use Google to find the
PEX vendors and learn about the stuff, it's not a third-world product,
but is extensively used in radiant floor heating and in Europe. It is
what is used in many new houses now, not that this recommends its use
elsewhere. I'm curious about the CVPVC. I wouldn't use PVC inside my
house though, that's for sure. I realize that people put plastic
everywhere these days, but the long term outlook for lots of it doesn't
look good to me. As for the pinhole problems in copper, I can see from
comments posted that certain water conditions apparently are a problem,
but fortunately this isn't the case in my area. But, a lot of type M
copper is simply too thin, and I would not be surprised if the grade of
copper is the real problem in some of the cases mentioned. I dug up
recently a length of 1" copper in my garden, a part of a 40 year old
irrigation system for pumping water from the San Joaquin River, was
found to be in such excellent condition, that I may put it back into
service. If it had been plastic, my shovel would have cracked it
during removal. As for the pipe sizing issue, I'll agree that delivery
pressure and volume issues have to be considered and tested for the job
to be done right.
Sacramento Dave wrote:
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