A question for the trades pro

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by chefwong, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    District of Columbia
    Given the 2 options, if you need to run external conduit, would you choose steel anyday over PVC ?
    Steel has always been Code and King out here in NYC. Current code afaik allows PVC for structures 3 stories and less.

    Love to hear the pros/cons.
    Pro's I suppose is that it's a solvent weld, and you can heat it up and *bend* the radius very easily.
    I wouldn't say it looks cheap, but after seeing steel pipe for so long, when I do see it + the lettermarking on the plastic, it does sorta look cheap.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    North Carolina
    There would be many factors in choosing the raceway method
    That must be some sort of Yankee thing as PVC can be installed on any high rise building.

    Don’t know any pros or cons
    Never found anything easy when bending PVC unless you are one of those who don’t care how it looks
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    JW...is it even acceptable to melt and bend PVC conduit??
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; is it even acceptable to melt and bend PVC conduit??

    If it were not, then a lot of companies are making "bending ovens" for nothing. Even though PVC conduit is marked "sunlight resistant" it will still become brittle if not painted to resist UV deterioration. Obviously, exposed PVC is much more easily damaged than metal conduit, and don't chain your Doberman to it. The "three story rule" also applies to plumbing PVC. It has to do with the flamablitly and toxic odors of PVC in a fire. They assume that the fumes will be manageable up to that point but beyond that they could be life threatening because of escape times and routes.
  5. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    North Carolina
    No we don’t melt it we just heat it until it is pliable and then bend it keeping the bending radios outlined in Chapter 9 of the NEC.

    What makes it so hard is should there be a need to make two bends keeping the pipe straight can be a chore.
  6. big2bird

    big2bird IBEW Electrician

    Anaheim, Ca.
    Steel would provide better physical protection. It also is heavier, costlier, and can rust. Not so good in salt water areas also.
    PVC is cheaper, needs extra strapping, decays when exposed to UV, and is easily damaged. It also emits toxic smoke when burned.
    A clear question of your application would make the choice easier to suggest.
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