Not only is PVC pipe one of the most popular plumbing supplies, but it is also one of the most reliable. PVC pipes have a lifespan of about a century. Several factors affect the pipe’s lifespan, including the environment it is in and the method of its installation. The good news is that you can take important measures to shield your PVC pipes from damage and decay.
What Is Special About PVC Pipes?
Many families use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes because they are inexpensive, lightweight, and long-lasting. Some of the most frequent benefits of PVC include:
- Durability even under extreme conditions
- Perfect for plumbing
- Commonly used for primary water supply lines
The smooth inner lining of PVC pipes prevents silt from accumulating and protects water from corrosion, making them extremely useful.
These pipes are suitable for use as the primary water supply line or the main sewage pipe in a house because of their high-water pressure capacity. As long as the pipes are not severely damaged, one can use this lightweight material for a lifetime.
PVC pipes are readily available. However, they come in a limited range of sizes.
Despite meeting ANSI regulations, there is the worry that polyvinyl chloride compounds could be introduced into the water supply, which raises toxicity concerns. Because of this and the possibility of melting, the use of PVC pipes for the distribution of drinking water inside the home is prohibited by law in some areas.
Are PVC Pipes Durable?
During the 1960s, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes became widely available as an alternative to the traditional plumbing materials of the period. These new pipes, which were both affordable and long-lasting, quickly gained widespread adoption and are now the standard for water transportation outside of the home. The exact longevity of PVC piping is unknown; however, it is predicted that PVC pipes will survive for roughly 100 years.
PVC pipes have a relatively short lifespan compared to other materials. To extend the life of your PVC and protect it against deterioration, we’ll examine the factors that contribute to PVC’s deterioration and the steps you can take to mitigate them.
PVC Piping Degrades When Exposed to Sunlight
UV rays from the sun are particularly damaging to PVC piping. A PVC pipe that is laid above ground and subjected to direct sunshine may degrade more quickly than it would otherwise. Sunlight’s UV radiation can degrade the molecular structure of PVC, making it easy to damage and prone to shattering.
Even if your PVC pipes must be installed above ground, you may take precautions to keep them safe. Painting the pipes or concealing any visible pipes are both effective methods. PVC pipe manufacturers advise covering any exposed piping with a thin coat of light latex-based paint.
In addition to keeping the pipes from fading in the sun, this will also help them last longer. Also, if you’re looking to buy PVC pipe, it’s best to do so from a company that keeps its inventory under cover until it’s sold to you.
PVC Fails Due to Improper Installation and Use
Inadequate preparation and installation can lead to a piping system failure. This is true of any part of the plumbing system. PVC cement is used to bond pipes to fittings, and one of the most common errors in installing PVC piping systems is applying too much or too little PVC cement. Due to its porous nature, PVC can be damaged by an excess of cement. Conversely, when too little cement is used, it can cause the pipe to leak or break.
Another problem that can arise from improper installation of PVC piping systems is what’s known as a short insertion. This occurs when a pipe is not inserted completely into its fitting. Since there is now a space where water might seep out and impurities can collect, the quality of the water supply is likely to decline.
Any debris, burrs, or other potential residue-causing elements should be eliminated before installation begins. If you want your PVC pipe connections to hold and your cement to adhere properly, make sure the pipe’s edges are as smooth as possible.
Additionally, the water velocity that the system will work with must be addressed, especially in irrigation systems. Pipe deterioration can be avoided by selecting a pipe diameter suitable for the anticipated water flow.
Underground PVC Pipes Are Being Ruined by Debris and the Elements
There obviously will not be any issues with sunlight for underground PVC piping systems, but there could be issues with dirt and debris falling on them or the ground shifting or freezing. PVC pipes are susceptible to damage from friction caused by the dirt and rocks that are buried alongside them. Even more so, PVC pipes could crack in sub-freezing weather. Soil movement, contraction, and expansion brought on by freezing and thawing can wreak havoc on a plumbing system. PVC may be more malleable than other materials, but it still has a breaking point. Shifting soil is a common cause of failure.
The good news is that there are methods proven to reduce the likelihood of damage to PVC pipes and other plumbing systems installed underground. Before installing a plumbing system, it’s crucial to clear the area of any rocks or debris. Whether you hire a professional or conduct the work yourself, clean soil is a must. In some cases, this may necessitate the replacement of rocky soil with sand. One more thing to keep in mind is that PVC piping lines should be installed at a depth of at least 1 to 2 feet below ground to avoid damage from freezing and thawing.
PVC Pipe Strength
Plumbing and irrigation systems are only two examples of the many uses for reliable, and inexpensive PVC pipes. To ensure its short- and long-term functionality, it must be installed and maintained appropriately, just like any other plumbing material. It is a strong material that is a great option for most jobs.
When Should PVC Be Replaced?
PVC pipes, on average, need to be changed every 50 to 100 years. If your PVC pipes are failing, you should hire a plumber to replace them. The necessity for the replacement of PVC pipes can be indicated by certain symptoms. However, in most cases, their age may be calculated with relative ease.
When leaks occur in the piping, it’s probably a good idea to replace the pipe instead of trying to repair it. If you choose not to replace the pipe, you will eventually have more leaks. This could lead to more damage and expenditures. Replacing it saves valuable time and money in the long run.
Reach Out for Professional Help Today
It’s smart to keep an eye on progress and fix any early leaks right away. If you’re looking to buy a house with PVC pipes already installed, knowing when they were put in will give you a good idea of how long they’ll survive. Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help you with all of your plumbing and PVC issues. We are willing to inspect your pipes and help you to decide whether to replace them. We also specialize in heating and cooling repair and installation, duct cleaning, water purification, and water heater installation in the Northern Valley and Greater Sacramento area. Contact Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning today.