Last Updated Mar 19, 2010 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald
If you need to have part or all of your plumbing replaced or repaired, you might be interested to know what choices you have as far as the types of materials that are available for pipes. One option which is becoming more commonplace is plastic pipes for plumbing. Here’s some more information.
Plastic pipes used in plumbing are available in a range of standard sizes depending on where they are to be used. Generally, it is white in colour. Plastic pipes are best suited for cold water though some kinds can be used for hot and cold water alike.
Plastic pipes are becoming more common in plumbing. This is because they are cost effective and often cheaper than other types of plumbing such as copper. Plastic pipes are also extremely easy to work with making them a popular choice for many plumbers as well as DIYers. Another advantage of plastic is that it does not react with concrete or other building materials like metal pipes can. The pipes are glued, taped or screwed together or a combination of all three.
Be aware that plastic pipes can be loud and they are sensitive to temperature changes, so it is best to have them insulated. Insulation will increase their performance.
Domestic plumbing uses several different kinds of plastic pipes. Rigid PVC is used for cold water and waste systems. Flexible polyethylene can be used for cold water. Flexible polybutylene (PB) is used for both hot and cold water. Chlorinated PVC or CPVC is more flexible than standard PVC pipes and can be used for both hot and cold water. ABS pipes are black, rigid and non pressurised and it is commonly used for draining showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and washing machines but it is also used to vent drain and waste pipes. High strength plastic pipes can be used for mains water as it is both lightweight and resistant to corroding when underground.
Plastic pipes are generally glued together, and this is called solvent welding. However, they can also be joined using threaded, push fit or speed fit fixings. Compression fittings are used when the plastic pipes meets metal pipes or fixtures.
A reputable plumber can advise on the type of pipe that's most suitable for your home.