PEX and CPVC

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jimbo, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    There is always a lot of discussion of these materials on the forums.

    The 2006 California Plumbing Code ( based on 2006 UPC ) basically allows PEX, but not adopted by certain state agencies.
    As far as I know, this is still the status of PEX in San Diego:
    http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/industry/pdf/pexltr.pdf

    As for CPVC, the code grants to local authority the power to approve the use of CPVC, subject to some severe requirements. The plumbing contractor must provide written certification that he will comply with the flushing and worker safety measures of section 301.0 of Appendix I. There is also a provision that a contractor or subcontractor who fails to comply with the flushing, gloves, and ventilation of section 1.2.2 of appendix I, and IAPMO IS 20-2005, shall be subject to penalties.....etc.

    Not surprising that I don't see much CPVC being used here either!
  2. brother

    brother New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    so is it mostly copper being used there??
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego

    Exactly. I am talking San Diego county. I have seen both PEX and CPVC in Riverside county. That is an area which has a lot of mobile homes and manufactured homes. A lot of plastic pipe comes in via those routes, and you have to be able to repair it, I guess.
  4. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Tujunga, CA
  5. an Eniviromental Impact Report ...LOL

    someone has landed the job of provideing the
    state of california with an Eniviromental Impact Report

    I would love to know who got to do this report and how much
    that is going to cost the state of Cali-forni-cation to have it done.....


    a few million dollars probably to tell explain to the lawyers in the
    legislature how great the stuff is and how it wont hurt the environment....

    The REAL environmental impact wont be from the actual PEX
    pipe but from all the failures and flooding disasters that will surely
    arise over the next 10 years.....

    I would think it would be best if this Eniviromental Impact Report
    was actually performed by the insurance companies in the State
    who will eventually get stuck holding the bag with the enormous
    lawsuits, litigations, and property damages that will eventually arise
    throughout the state...over the next 10 years........

    All they really got to do is look at Las-Vegas and Minnesota. to see what
    the eivironmental impact will be like for them..


    my bet is Governer Arnie or some of his freinds are
    being bribed handsomely by the people that make all the
    different forms of pex to get pex ram-rodded through... ..

    I'll be back.......
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  6. brother

    brother New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    so is PEX a bad product??I was told that it was ok and even better than cpvc. is this not true?? Is it best to stay with copper??
  7. copper is best.....

    Of course Copper is the absolute best...

    but it is the most expensive way to do a home...

    probably adds about $ 700 ---$1500
    to the cost of any plumbing system..
    (ballpark estimate )


    money is the only thing that matters $$price price price....

    followed probably by CPVC.... which is pretty good all in all

    then along comes a whole bunch
    of untested- un-proven new Pexes you can choose from....


    but only the WIRSBO pex seems to be the best


    all the others have a long string of disaster stories
    across the USA...

    and probably a few to come to your town soon.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  8. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    I repair failed copper systems almost every week. I have yet to be called to repair a pex system. I repair PB (always in mobile homes) all the time too but not pex. When the first pin hole leak shows up in copper I tell people to begin preparing to re-pipe the house. No one can predict how long it might be until the next one comes but it will come and at some point it does not make sense to keep repairing them. When we re-pipe a house we do it in pex. As for CPVC, I have run miles of it in the past when I worked for another plumbing company. We used it as an alternative to copper in an area where copper systems were not lasting 5 years. Within just a very short time cpvc will become very brittle to the point that it is very difficult to cut with hand cutters because it tends to want to shatter at the end. Cpvc has NO FREEZE TOLERANCE nor does copper really, pex on the other hand will swell up to twice it's normal size when water freezes inside of it but will not burst or split. When it thaws it resumes it's original shape.
  9. True true true

    This debate has gone on for quite a while here

    I really hate to stir it up again....

    Yes the copper can develope pin holes, but on
    average its in a system well over 30 years old

    (in our region it has served us well)


    You have not run across a failed pex system becasue most
    of them are not over 10 years old yet.......

    my own personal home was built in 1964 with copper L
    and is stil fine.......

    I dread the day it finally
    does fail in the slab.... I will probably start crying..

    but what more can you ask than having a system
    last from 1964 to 2007??? thats 43 years and counting

    again we dont realy know how long Wirsbo, vanguard,
    Kitech, Zurn, or whatver will last
    with the chlorine in the water systems and whatever
    other inhibitors that they might add to the water some day....

    your guess is as good as mine.....
    and if we are very lucky...
    it will be some other dumb-ass that will
    have to change all it out 15 years from now

    would you like to be one of the fellows being sued
    in the Kitech fiasco in Las Vegas??? 50,000 homes...


    In all Honesty....one of the main reasons everyone has gone to PEX

    is that pex wont grow legs and walk off a job site after it has been installed....

    and the copper has to be guarded
    till someone moves into the home...
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  10. Plastic is lawsuit prone

    Copper works well but everyone ignores the water condition problem. Sounds like alabama has no method or willingness to fix the core problem, just employ the symptom fixers.



    Another debate of piping choices?



    deadhorse.gif
  11. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    The copper thieves have gotten so bad in my area that local pd set up stings to try and slow it down.

    For the record I am certainly not anti copper. Copper installs mean more revenue for the company. As piping systems go however, I personally hold pex to be at least equal and probably superior to copper. Ultimately it is up to the client. I am happy to install either but when they see the cost difference they usually go with the pex. I have a 60 year old ranch house w/crawl space. I have all copper water distribution piping. I have yet to experience my first copper pipe failure. This home was even originally on well water although it hasn't been for at least 25 years and probably longer.
    Should it become necessary to re-pipe I will do it in pex.
  12. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    CPVC is good enough for industrial piping and is qualified for use in fire sprinkler systems. It is certainly adequate for residential water systems.

    http://www.harvel.com/tech-specs-cpvc-pipe.asp

    In addition to tube sizes 1/2" to 2", CPVC is available in Schedule 40 and Schedule 80 Iron Pipe Sizes from 1/8" to 24". I have not seen the pipe sizes, or tube sizes greater than 3/4", sold in the Big Box stores.

    FROM THE LINK ABOVE:
    CPVC PIPE
    Click here to download specification sheet
    APPLICATION:
    Corrosion resistant pressure pipe, IPS sizes 1/8" through 24", for use at temperatures up to and including 200°F. Pressure rating (130 psi to 1130 psi) varies with schedule, pipe size, and temperature as shown on page 2 of this specification, and as stated in Harvel Plastics, Inc. engineering bulletin (Product Bulletin 112/401). Generally resistant to most acids, bases, salts, aliphatic solutions, oxidants, and halogens. Chemical resistance data is available and should be referenced for proper material selection. Pipe exhibits excellent flammability characteristics (ULC Listed for Surface Burning Characteristics) and other physical properties. Typical applications include: chemical processing, plating, high purity applications, hot and cold potable water systems, water and wastewater treatment, and other industrial applications involving hot corrosive fluid transfer.

    Here is another link:
    http://www.ppfahome.org/cpvc/index.html


    [SIZE=-1]CODE STATUS[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]CPVC piping for potable hot and cold water distribution systems is recognized in all model plumbing codes. [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Also, CPVC plumbing pipe is safe for installation in return air plenums; however, the installation must be approved by the local jurisdiction. Even though CPVC is considered a combustible material it will not burn without a significant external flame source. Once the flame source is removed CPVC will not sustain combustion. Testing indicates that water filled CPVC in diameters 3" or less will pass the 25/50 flame smoke developed requirements for non-metallic material in return air plenums. [/SIZE][SIZE=-1]CPVC fire sprinkler pipe tested and listed in accordance with UL 1887, "Fire Test of Plastic Sprinkler Pipe for Flame and Smoke Characteristics," meets the requirements of NFPA 90A for installation in return air plenums. [/SIZE]
  13. lwerdmann

    lwerdmann New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I have to say I like pex so far. Granted my house is only 2 years old, but this morning I had my pex pipe freeze because some insulation fell out of a fresh air inlet for the house. My plumber told me to put a heater under the pipe and thaw it out. The pipe had expanded a little where it was frozen. After about ten minutes the pex thawed and water started flowing again. I've checked it just a while ago and the pipe looks like nothing had happened. I'm almost certain if it were copper it would have burst. After reading this thread I may come back in 8 years saying pex stinks, but for now it's great.
  14. smellslike$tome

    smellslike$tome Plumbing Company Owner

    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    PB is still code approved as far as I know but that doesn't mean I am going to use it. I'm not sure if I could even find a place to buy it if I wanted to although I'm sure it could still be obtained somewhere. Everyone has their favorite I guess but cpvc is not even an option that I offer. I will leave the research for others. All I can go on is my own experience with the product and based on that I will not offer it and will not warranty it if someone insists on having it. On the other hand we offer written 20 year warranties for both copper and pex when we are doing whole house repipes.
  15. When CPVC freezes and bursts, it usually runs longways down the pipe and is very hard to detect this until you reconnect and find out the hard way.

    When I did busted/frozen water lines this past winter I wouldn't even bother doing anything other than replacing the entire section between fittings where a leak was.

    Has a tendency to spread water damage a great deal more because that water will fan out of that longways leak...covering a larger area until the water is shut off.
  16. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    I've been installing PEX ever since Polybutylene became unavailable. In my area, only Vanguard and Qest have been available, so problems with either Kitec or Zurn haven't been germane. In my own house, I installed Polybutylene back when it was common. Our water does not contain the antibacterial chemicals that were the bane of PB pipe, and my system was installed with copper crimps and copper and brass fittings. I have never, not ever, had any problem with my manifold PB system. After installing PEX for years, I have yet to see a failure.

    On the other hand, I have recently seen a number of failing copper systems, all properly plumbed, with dielectric protections and neatly soldered - they've been failing. I see no common denominator that would tell me why they're failing all of a sudden, unless there's been some change in the city water - too much oxygenation, perhaps.

    I did some remodeling with copper some years back on a system that was on a well, and not only were there problems with the copper, but the insides of the Moen valves began to deteriorate - I'm guessing too much oxygen in the water.

    For my money, it's PEX. We've been using 200 PSI Polyethelyne for water supplies from the meter or the well for at least the 31 years that I've been in business and we haven't been having any problem with those failing, either. And after all, PEX is a cross-linked version of the same type of plastic.
  17. send

    send New Member

    Messages:
    7
    I prefer PEX, the main advantage of PEX is its ability to be pumbed in manifolded homeruns rather than teed, elbowed, valved etc as all other mateials must be. You get better flow with less pressure loss, it's costs less time to install and it is not harmed by any of the things found in water that harms copper and it doesn't add anything to the water as copper can. pex is far superior to cpvc..better against freezing..much more flexible and less brittle, overall..
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    My dad built his home in 1954, copper piped, and has had 1 leak that I fixed in the early 70s. That makes it 53 years old and I would suspect that 50 years from now it will still be there with no problems.

    I wonder if someone will come up with a reasonably priced, competitive, stainless steel system for residential homes.

    PEX and CPVC with copper lagging behind will be the main stay for water pipe in the forseeable future in my opinion.
  19. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    NorthWest PA
    Have you seen the price of stainless steel at the scrap yard?

    It is not the plastic pipe causing the issues for Zurn, it is the brass fittings in some water conditions. Why did they use PEX? Was it because of copper failures? I have seen copper leak and it was not 30 years old. PEX has been in use longer than 10 years.

    Cheap foriegn made fittings are the problem. I had some foriegn made copper fittings that were so deformed I couldn't use them. I had some foriegn made black pipe fittings that when I pumped them up, I got up to 30psi and sand blew out the elbows and I had to cut them out, I found out that day why the local gas service men want a 90psi pressure test on the black pipe. Good plumbing products are getting harder and harder to find, PEX is having problems not because it is a bad product, but because of where the products are being made. If you think copper is so good I hope you have a good supply of pipe and fittings from ten years back that were made in America with pride.
  20. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    No it was poorly desisgned, poorly cast, poorly machined fittings that were breaking. Water conditions were not the issue. This problem was from the same folks that made Playskool toys with lead paint!
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