PVC Pipe is a white plastic pipe commonly used for plumbing and drainage. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and it's become a common replacement for metal piping. The strength, durability, easy installation, and low cost of PVC have made it one of the most widely used plastics in the world.
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride pipes (CPVC) are made from PVC that has extra chlorine added to the material. It carries all of the benefits of PVC with added durability. CPVC will not degrade with hot water exposure and is safe for drinking water. So these are best for plumbing.
Types of PVC Pipes:
There are two common types of PVC pipe.
- Schedule 40 PVC
- Schedule 80 PVC.
Schedule 40 PVC is usually white in color and schedule 80 is usually a dark gray (they can also be found in other colors). Schedule 80 pipe is designed with a thicker wall. This means the pipe is thicker and stronger, and as a result it can handle higher pressures.
Schedule 80 pipe is suitable for jobs that require a higher pressurization. Most often these are used in heavy duty commercial and industrial applications.
Most PVC pipe and fittings have a maximum pressure rating listed so you know what it can handle. Typically this is listed in pounds per square inch or PSI.
The amount of pressure a pipe is rated for varies based on size. A 4" schedule 80 PVC pipe for instance is rated at 320 PSI while a schedule 40 PVC pipe of the same size is only rated at 220 PSI.
Schedule 80 PVC may be a good choice to run a high pressure or industrial pipe line. Else, schedule 40 PVC is more than enough for many pressurized and non-pressurized jobs. Schedule 40 PVC is also relatively inexpensive which makes it great for non-plumbing applications like a PVC pool chair or science project.
Plastic pipe such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride, used for cold water only), and CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, used for both hot and cold water) are approved for use with drinking water. PVC pipe is a popular construction material for its low cost and durability. PVC pipe can be used for most any drain, water, or ventilation application. However, PVC can become brittle and crack when placed in a few scenarios for prolonged periods of time.
Caution while using PVC Pipes:
- UV light radiation can cause portions of the outer shell of CPVC and PVC pipes to degrade slightly, but not significantly. Once pipes are removed from the direct exposure, the ultraviolet rays no longer affect them. Long-term sunlight exposure can decrease the CPVC and PVC's impact strength and resistance.
- PVC, because of its high chlorine content, creates toxic pollution in the form of dioxins, which accumulate in animals' fat up through the food chain. Exposure to PVC often includes exposure to phthalates, which may have serious health effects.
- PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.
- The PVC lifecycle that is its production, use, and disposal, results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. These toxins are building up in the water, air and food chain which results in severe health problems, including cancer, immune system damage, and hormone disruption.
- Ductile iron, copper, high density polyethylene (HDPE), cross liked polyethylene (PEX), concrete, and steel are some of the good substitute for PVC.
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