Plastic (cpvc) versus copper

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I'm interested in opinions of the merits of using copper versus cpvc (other than cost). I recently had a cpvc pipe break inside the wall, and I'm in the process of replacing all of the in-wall pipes for the bathrooms with copper. The main feed lines are cpvc and are in the basement and readily accessible. Repairs to these are quick and easy if necessary. I mostly want the in-wall stuff that is not easily accessible to be copper, and I can be easily convinced to leave the cpvc in the basement alone.
Question - am I just unlucky, or does plastic (cpvc) pipe have much higher breakage incidents? Is there any reason to just replace all of it with copper, or should it work OK and I should just leave it alone?
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Zootal wrote the following:

Was the pipe in an outside wall and did it break due to freezing temps? If so, copper can also break when water freezes in them.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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It was in an inside wall. It broke because a book fell off of the back of the toilet and hit the pipe where it came through the wall.
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I certainly would not go thorugh the process of replacing a bunch of cpvc because a piece was damaged from impact. Sounds like you have too much time on your hands. How about coming over to my house and I'll give you some better chores. haha, nothin personal :-)
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wrote:

I have to take the wall apart anyhow. If I'm going to all that trouble, I might as well repalce the plastic while I'm in there.
What I'm mostly curious about is how often plastic actually breaks? I personally think using plastic in places where it comes through the wall for a shower head or valve is not a good idea - those are subject to stress and in my uneducated opinion, they should be copper. Nice and strong metal.
And it's the plastic running through the basement that I'm most concerned about. I'd hate to hit one with a 2x4 by accident and have it break. My wood working area has pipes running along the ceiling directly above.
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Got it in my house. Never had any of it break. Shower hook up is metal, cpvc runs up to it. Did it really break that far back into the wall? I'd make sure I couldn't just enlarge the opening a little and glue an new section on.
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I already have it apart. The pipe comes up through the floor, through an elbow, and out the wall. It broke at the elbow. At the least I would have had to cut off the elbow, extend the verticle that comes through the floor, and replace the elbow and pipe that extends through the wall. I actually replaced everything from the runner in the basement and up with copper. That part of the job is done.
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I have been following the CPVC/PEX/COPPER/GALV discussions sing the days of DEJA news. Don't ever recall any mentions of CPVC haveing a problem with failures. My redo in this old house was finished 20 years ago, all is CPVC and I haven't had a failure yet (knock on wood).
Harry K
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Yea I used to do copper but the cpvc is way easier to do. I hated doing copper in the crawl of our 2 story house. It was such a pain to get the water out so I could solder. Seemed like everytime I starte dto heat it up here would come just a little more water.
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Just stuff a piece of bread in there. It disappears when the water is turned back on.
Harry K
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Thats a one in a million happening. I would consider bringing CU through the wall but not rework my whole bathroom. I have Cu or brass coming through my walls but all of the rest of the plumbing is plastic. None of my plumbing is where it could be attacked by falling books but if it were I would do something to protect it no matter of what it was made.
You should no have such heavy reading in the bathroom.
Jimmie
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wrote:

PUlease...you would not believe how many books my kids keep in the bathroom...of course, some of them are mine *ahem*....
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CPVC plumbing is inexpensive, easy to install and repair, somewhat flexible, and impervious to acidic or harsh water conditions. Those are some of the reasons I chose it for my own house.
However, plastic pipe of any kind is not very good at resisting physical stresses, like yanking on a tight valve, or dropping a book on an exposed pipe.
In my house, I used solid brass drop-ear "transition elbows". Basically, it's a brass elbow with little flanges on either side that you screw to blocking for a solid mounting. Then there's a mechanical coupling on the bottom with a gasket that joins the CPVC to the brass fitting. There are a few different variations on the drop-ear transition elbow, but most home centers should carry at least one of the styles.
Then I used solid brass pipe nipples to extend from the elbow out through the wall, where I threaded on a metal shut-off valve.
I get all the benefits of the CPVC plumbing, with the rugged benefits of metal piping where it's exposed to damage.
Anthony
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I'll gladly hit PEX with a hammer and it won't affect it unless I try to crush it entirely. Lesser blows would destroy any other piping, metal or plastic, before the PEX showed lasting damage.
PEX has a plastic memory - it returns to shape. No other plumbing material that I'm aware of has that. It's what makes it so much more freeze-proof than other piping.
R
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Ive had a temporary PEX line freeze several times this winter. Its about a 30ft line running out to the kennel that I set up just before the first freeze. I didnt get a chance to bury it and it looks like it may be a couple of more months before I do.
Jimmie
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wrote:

I think the only thing I don't like about PEX is the connector process. PEX may last 100 years, but the connectors won't. And even if they did, they are horribly expensive.
Does anyone here make their own connectors? How much does it cost to do so? Buying them individually is ridiculous, and is why I stuck with copper yesterday.
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On Tue, 09 Feb 2010 15:58:59 -0600, Zootal

A crimp ring may cost me $.20 each. (Vanex) PEX connectors for my system are not "horribly expensive". The sharkbite mentioned are costly, but not necessary in a PEX systems or repair.
True, connectors are found out to be bad. To much Zinc, when making the brass caused many law suits, from failure. That is water under the bridge.

How many copper pieces did you buy? I can make a PEX repair with less parts, connections and have less chance of leaks....
Use the new expanding connectors without crimp rings, saves money.
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Make your own connectors? Huh? Why? I'm not sure what connectors you were pricing, and where you got the prices from, but, what?, a buck and a half a connection (if you buy only a few at a time) is 'horribly expensive'?
There are also a number of different PEX joining methods, and there are different crimping tools. I bought a crimping tool on eBay, with 50 each of 1/2" and 3/4" crimp rings, for $60 including shipping, and the brass barbed fittings work out to about a buck a pop. There are also a lot fewer fittings in a PEX installation as the pipe is so flexible and you can snake it to pretty much anywhere.
It took me a long time to move from copper to PEX. There are some differences in installation, and thermal expansion has to be taken into account to a greater degree, but once I used the stuff, I didn't really look back. I'll still use copper on some jobs, but it's kind of lost it's, ahem, luster.
R
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wrote:

The only 3/4 barrel connectors I found were about 7 bucks. The equivalent copper was, what, thirty cents? The others for the 1/2 stuff were $3 to $6. Maybe there are less expensive sources for connectors? The job I'm doing now requires roughly 15 or so bends and tees, and maybe 12 straight connectors. There are a couple of places where I can bend the copper (or PEX) and avoid the usage of an elbow or two.
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Oh, it seems you were pricing Sharkbite fittings, and, yes, they are substantially more expensive. For small jobs and repairs, they're definitely worth it, but for bigger jobs it adds up, and that's where the much cheaper crimp ring/barbed fitting comes in.
Water distribution with PEX, at least in new construction, or a complete repiping, is closer to electrical distribution from a panel board, than the typical water distribution setup. In a PEX manifold system there's usually only the connection at the manifold and another at the stubout to the fixture - the lines are all homeruns.
There's a really good PEX manual online - 50 or 100 pages or something like that - and it covers everything. Download it and check it out. It's worth the read if you're doing your own plumbing, or planning some work.
R
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