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?
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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