I'm going to be doing some plumbing, never worked with CPVC, and wanted
opinions on it.
Putting in a water softener. All plumbing will be on the cold supply side.
I have existing copper 3/4".
Will need 20' 3/4" line, 3 shut-offs, and various L's & T's & 90's.
Wondering from anyone, about the shut offs of CPVC compared to copper. My
existing copper shut offs tend to get corroded. Does CPVC hold up better
than copper over long term?
I've researched the CPVC vs Copper debate, but failed to find anything
about the shut offs.
I'm leaning towards CPVC, because I believe I can save a few bucks. But, is
it worth it?
Any other input appreciated.
When I plumbed our house back in 2003 I considered copper, PEX, and CPVC
Copper was the most common, but our acidic water could potentially cause
pinhole leaks down the road. Copper also requires a torch to solder the
joints, and while the risks are minimal with proper precautions, there
was always a small chance of starting a fire with the torch. That year
there just happened to be two new construction fires in my area caused by
the plumbers (By professional's, no less). It also takes a bit of skill
to solder copper fittings efficiently.
PEX has many advantages, but at the time the cost of the crimping tools
was more than I paid for our entire plumbing system. PEX was also harder
to find than CPVC or copper. While availability has improved in recent
years, it's still harder to find the parts and tools.
In the end, I chose CPVC. It's inexpensive, easy to install with simple
tools, pipe and fittings are widely available from virtually any hardware
store, repairs/modifications are easy when/if needed, and it's not
affected by acidic or poor quality water.
However, like any other plastic, CPVC doesn't handle physical stresses
very well. So, anywhere I had a shutoff valve (sinks, toilets, etc.), I
transitioned from CPVC to brass drop-ear elbows and used brass nipples to
install metal valves. Much more secure and rugged than plastic.
I did use some PVC ball valves in our pump house, and have mixed feelings
about them. They don't corrode like some metal valves can, but they tend
to "stick" when they sit unused for a while. But I'm usually more
worried about breaking the PVC pipe on either side of the valve trying to
"unstick" the PVC valve. For what it's worth, I have two different brass
ball valves in our house (with nylon seals internally), and they tend to
stick also. Again, the stresses on the connecting CPVC piping worry me
more than the valve itself.
My recommendation is to use metal valves and anchoring them to a solid
surface. You can then transition to whatever piping you prefer to use.
I have several different types of valves in our plumbing system and the
metal "gate" valve I have in our pump house has been the most trouble
free over the past 5-10 years.
Back up a second there, old hoss. You said you plumbed a house for
less than the cost of a crimping tool? Say what? Crimpers are just
calibrated pliers - the "expensive" name brand ones have never been
over ~$150. Here's a link from August 2003 - the price of a crimper
Maybe you were thinking of a Wirsbo expander...?
Would you choose differently six years later? PEX is less expensive,
needs very few fittings, the _complete_ tool set costs about $100, is
easier to repair and modify, can stand up to far more abuse, etc.
You may be entirely alone on that opinion. Ball valves are far less
troublesome and can lay "dormant" for years without seizing up -
rarely the case with a gate valve.
Hmm... I could have sworn the calibrated crimpers were around $300 at the
time, but my memory isn't as good as it used to be. :) In any case, even
$150 will buy a LOT of CPVC pipe and fittings.
Yes, if the pipe and fittings were readily available locally I wouldn't
hesitate to go with PEX. It was a real toss up between PEX and CPVC back
in 2003, and I only opted for CPVC because PEX supplies were hard to find
(and the tools were expensive).
Still, I'm familiar with CPVC and it works well for our situation.
I can run down to the local hardware store in our little town if I need
one extra CPVC fitting on a weekend I forgot to buy for a project (or if
I goofed up the installation and need to redo the work). While I've seen
PEX "pipe" at the home centers (farther away), I haven't really paid
attention whether they have the fittings or not. I'm sure the "real"
plumbing store on the other side of town would probably have them, but
they're not very convenient.
Yeah, I've heard that many times before, but my results have been
completely opposite. Weird. I have a variety of ball valves (plastic,
and two different styles of brass ball valves) in our system, and they
all tend to "stick". Even the fixture shutoff's (all ball valves) tend to
stick a little, though not as bad as the ones in our 3/4" main lines.
I needed to shut off our main water supply a couple of months ago while
on vacation, and felt like I was going to break the surrounding pipes
trying to close the valve. After 5-10 minutes of fiddling with it I
finally got it to close, and then had a similar struggle to open it again
when we got home. I easily closed the gate valve in our pump house also,
just to be safe.
Another ball valve in our recirculation system is always a struggle to
open and close also.
Kind of disappointing since I bought the best valves I could find in
hopes of preventing problems like that. If the valves were well anchored
to something solid I'm sure the force needed to close them would be a
non-issue, but mine are mounted directly inline on plastic pipe. Live and
learn. That's why I suggested anchoring the valves in my original post.
After looking at the savings of using CPVC, I wouldn't be saving a whole
lot for my size project. Went out in the garage, seen I have plenty of 3/4"
copper pipe & enough fittings for my entire job. The only thing is I have
to buy is 3 valves.
Oh well, it was interesting finding out what everyone has to say about
CPVC. I did notice while looking at CPVC, the ID appears smaller than
copper, haven't looked that up. If so, I would probably lose some pressure.
Thanks for your input.
Even if you go with the cpvc, you'll still want to use the brass ball
valves. So that's not a consideration. You might just as well learn to
sweat copper, (i'm guessing you don't know how yet) and do it up right.
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