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  1. #1
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    Default PVC as water distribution pipe

    If I read the IRC-2006 correctly (and I believe prior editions as well), PVC is allowed as material for "water service pipe" (ASTM 1785) by P2904.4.2 but NOT in "Water Distribution pipe". (I'm in a discussion with a "certified plumber" who claims that where he is from, Florida, PVC is 'always' used for cold water distribution as long as CPVC is used for hot water. Personnally I think he is full of hot air). I understand the prohibition of use as supply pipe for hot water (sched 40 PVC is only rated for 140 psi at 73 degree), but can anyone explain why it is allowed for use as water service, but not allowed for use as distribution pipe for cold water?

    In this case, the home is on a well where water pressure would only run about 30-55 psi at best.

    2nd question; not being a plumber, what color of cement is used for CPVC? His house had a vivid blue color staining around the joints (both PVC and CPVC), which I don't recall seeing before on CPVC. Does anyone know of any problems if the wrong cement is used?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Terry
    I don't know about your first question, but as to the second question, this is how it was explained to me.
    The blue you saw was most likely Purple primer. By using purple primer instead of clear primer, the plumbing inspectors can tell at a glance if the joint was or was not primed. Not sure but I think it's now required to use purple primer.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    If I read the IRC-2006 correctly (and I believe prior editions as well), PVC is allowed as material for "water service pipe" (ASTM 1785) by P2904.4.2 but NOT in "Water Distribution pipe". (I'm in a discussion with a "certified plumber" who claims that where he is from, Florida, PVC is 'always' used for cold water distribution as long as CPVC is used for hot water. Personnally I think he is full of hot air).
    Nope, not full of "hot air", full of Sh*T is more like it.

    I understand the prohibition of use as supply pipe for hot water (sched 40 PVC is only rated for 140 psi at 73 degree), but can anyone explain why it is allowed for use as water service, but not allowed for use as distribution pipe for cold water?
    Because it is not rated high enough for pressure and temperature and is formulated differently (being more susceptible to breaking and cracking - I think). So it is allowed "outside" the structure for pressure uses, i.e., water service pipe and sprinkler pipe, and "inside" the structure for atmospheric pressure applications, i.e., DWV uses.

    In this case, the home is on a well where water pressure would only run about 30-55 psi at best.
    IRC requires 40 psi minimum.

    2nd question; not being a plumber, what color of cement is used for CPVC? His house had a vivid blue color staining around the joints (both PVC and CPVC), which I don't recall seeing before on CPVC. Does anyone know of any problems if the wrong cement is used?
    That blue is the primer. It is blue so the inspectors will know: 1) primer was used, 2) the correct primer was used. I'm not sure that it is acceptable for CPVC, I'll have to go look at some in my garage and see what it says.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I'm not sure that it is acceptable for CPVC, I'll have to go look at some in my garage and see what it says.
    Yep. It is.

    It says "PVC CPVC" on it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Thanks. that's pretty much what I thought. Not surprised to get a strong response from Jerry when I mentioned the builder claims it is OK in Florida.

    Does the term "water service" refer also to a main domestic water supply pipe to house? If it does, then I would still have a hard time understanding why PVC is good enough for main water service (supply) to the house, but not domestic cold water distribution within the house.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    Does the term "water service" refer also to a main domestic water supply pipe to house?
    Yes. That is the same line.

    If it does, then I would still have a hard time understanding why PVC is good enough for main water service (supply) to the house, but not domestic cold water distribution within the house.
    Because the water service is "outside" the house, what I tried explaining in my previous post.

    Here is an example of why.

    In the house we had down in South Florida, we noticed our water bills going up. I looked all over for signs of leakage and could not find any.

    I looked at the flow indicator on the water meter and it did not indicate any flow (leakage) when we were not using any water. I checked this flow indicator several times of a period of of a few months as the water usage kept rising.

    I finally saw the flow indicator move ... then stop ... and did not move again. I saw this happen a few times, but the flow indicator would not keep moving, meaning an intermittent leak somewhere, but not enough flow for long enough for me to find it -Great! I thought, knowing that water was going 'somewhere', just had no idea of 'where'.

    About that time we bought a pop-up camper (which means it was around 1998-99) and as I was making a place for it next to the house, I noticed some wetness on the ground at the bottom of the fence between our house and out neighbors house, and thought, oh, their sprinkler system must be leaking. A few weeks later when I was putting the camper back in there I noticed the wet spot again (it had dried out) and this time it was wetter and the sprinklers had not been on - so my mind went Leak! In the water service line!

    I dug down to it and found that the PVC water service line had cracked, repaired it, and all was well after that.

    EXCEPT ... that in the mean time 10,000-15,000 gallons of water had leaked into that area.

    I would not have wanted a 10,000-15,000 gallon leak "in" the house.

    PVC is not the same pipe as CPVC, it (CPVC) is more resistant to pressure, more resistant to heat, and more resistant to breaking and cracking. Thus, CPVC is allowed "in" the house and PVC is only allowed "outside" the house.

    How much better is CPVC? They use CPVC for fire sprinkler systems throughout dwelling units. Those CPVC systems are tested to 200 psi for 2 hours minimum (usually left at 200 psi for a day or two). No way PVC would survive that.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 11-02-2007 at 10:54 AM. Reason: added "(CPVC)" to clarify the meaning of what "it" was
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
    Peter Hetherman's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    He is NOT full of S____. PVC IS USED as supply and distribution. It is preferred because of electrolisis from the ground. Copper gets pin holes. PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.


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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Good Morning Peter,

    General Contractor, Director Of Quality Control.

    Welcome and please be ready to support your statement.

    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 11-02-2007 at 01:52 PM. Reason: you to your
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Hetherman View Post
    He is NOT full of S____. PVC IS USED as supply and distribution. It is preferred because of electrolisis from the ground. Copper gets pin holes. PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.

    Peter, can you post the code back-up where Fla. allows PVC inside as supply and distribution lines?

    rr


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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    In Oregon, the supply lines inside the house must be CPVC, I'm not sure exactly why, I'll try to find out. The outside piping can be regular PVC, schedule 40. They type of cement used for CPVC is yellowish, it is a one-step cement, no primer is used.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Hetherman View Post
    He is NOT full of S____. PVC IS USED as supply and distribution. It is preferred because of electrolisis from the ground. Copper gets pin holes. PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.
    Peter,

    You need to go back and READ THE CODE! Go back as far as you can - "PVC" *IS NOT ALLOWED* for use as water distribution pipe - only as water service pipe.

    What you will find, though, is that if *YOU* put a "C" in front of "PVC" (making "CPVC"), that will be correct, however, as you stated -calling it "PVC" ... you are totally INCORRECT.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter Hetherman
    He is NOT full of S____! JERRY IS!!! . PVC IS USED as supply and distribution. It is preferred because of electrolisis from the ground. Copper gets pin holes. PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.

    (in response to: JP-- "Nope, not full of "hot air", full of Sh*T is more like it."



    __________________________________________________ _


    Sorry, JP-- I couldn't help myself.... that is the way I took Peter's post to read (red editing is mine ).

    I find it hard to believe that the state of 100-million-hanging-chads would allow PVC as distribution lines...

    rr


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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Peter Hetherman
    He is NOT full of S____! JERRY IS!!! . PVC IS USED as supply and distribution. It is preferred because of electrolisis from the ground. Copper gets pin holes. PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.

    (in response to: JP-- "Nope, not full of "hot air", full of Sh*T is more like it."



    __________________________________________________ _


    Sorry, JP-- I couldn't help myself.... that is the way I took Peter's post to read (red editing is mine ).

    I find it hard to believe that the state of 100-million-hanging-chads would allow PVC as distribution lines...

    rr
    Yeah, that's the way I read it too, but, then again, 'I am sure' that is not the way Peter 'meant it'.

    Regardless, Peter is 100% incorrect and I find it 'irkable' for (is that a word?, i.e., 'it irks me' when ...) someone to come on and loudly proclaim something *so wrong* - it just needed immediate correction (as soon as I saw it).

    I *would hope* that Peter's report are not full of stuff like that, that that post was an anomaly and that Peter really does know what he is doing ... I *would hope* ... I *am sure* ... right, Peter?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Hetherman View Post
    PVC is allowed by Florida Plumbing code and has been for years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    General Contractor, Director Of Quality Control.
    Welcome and please be ready to support your statement.
    [quote=Richard Rushing;2323
    I find it hard to believe that the state of 100-million-hanging-chads would allow PVC as distribution lines..rr[/quote]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Peter really does know what he is doing ... I *would hope* ... I *am sure* ... right, Peter?
    Disney Land is in Orlando Florida.It has been built for years.They have water distribution lines.Perhaps Peter is referring to that application.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  15. #15
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    2nd question; not being a plumber, what color of cement is used for CPVC? His house had a vivid blue color staining around the joints (both PVC and CPVC), which I don't recall seeing before on CPVC. Does anyone know of any problems if the wrong cement is used?


    I am a plumber, and I have a different theory to this one.

    "Vivid blue color" does NOT sound like purple primer to me. The primer is very thin and as such tends to be a more faded, dull color, either purple or bluish. What IS a "vivid blue," however, is Rain or Shine PVC cement. It's intended for PVC only, and can set even in damp or moist conditions (hence the name). You'll see a lot of jacuzzi or whirlpool tubs with it around the connections -- it's a very pretty, deep color of blue. Also, CPVC cement is typically yellow for the regular stuff, or orange for the all-weather variation which has a colder temperature range. (Similar to the light-green lable and dark-breen label PVC cement cans.) As such, even when the primer is applied to CPVC beneath the CPVC cement, most of what you see around the pipes will be the yellow or orange color, not a vivid blue.

    So if it is the Rain or Shine PVC cement, then it's not formulated for CPVC. Exactly what difference this makes I can't be sure. I've seen CPVC cement ran on PVC drain lines without a problem, and even ABS on PVC DWV lines without issue. BUT -- since this is CPVC and meant as water distribution, I'd hate to have a water hammer blow apart a connection because the solvent weld didn't take.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    In the model codes, tubing used for the hot and cold water distribution lines must both be rated for such use (eg. rollmarked 180F / 100 psi).

    This was done, if you believe the rumors, in case the plumber somehow crossed the hot and cold lines, both tubing would be rated for hot water.

    PVC is therefore, used as "service line" or "main to building supply" and DWV piping. PVC would make just dandy cold water pipes inside the house but codes generally don't allow for this practice - plus they don't make a CTS "copper tube sized" version. PVC really isn't very much different otherwise. Service lines basically see a great deal of stress, and slow leaks are a serious issue nationwide, regardless of material.

    CPVC is a modified PVC resin - made to resist higher temperatures. PVC pressure use temperature max is 140F, CPVC 180F.

    CPVC used in sprinkler systems (and all sprinkler components) are tested to two times pressures used in ordinary plumbing systems. Last I heard a sample tested to distruction burst over 2000 psi.

    All hot water tubing BTW is tested to resist 210F/150 psi conditions - as in a run away T&P valve for at least 48 hours. Some do so for a month.

    As to color, some primers are more violet then "purple", but the cements manufactured for CPVC should be orange or yellow. Yellow cements are typically low VOC one step cements and may be used as such where permitted.

    Michael Cudahy
    Codes and Training
    Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association


  17. #17
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Joshua and Mike
    Thank you for the information. Do you know of a site that has more info on primers and cements?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Hey Mike C.--

    Welcome to the forum. I must of missed your other posts, but I look forward to reading more of these educational type blurbs. Feel free to jump in and help whenever possible. We can always use more practical code help.

    rr


  19. #19
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Joshua and Mike
    Thank you for the information. Do you know of a site that has more info on primers and cements?
    No, no website, just a few years experience.

    Head over to Lowes or Home Depot though, they'll have the full variety of glues and their colors, as well of course as the printed labels on them saying what they're intended for.

    All purple primer looks purple in the can, but can dry from purple to a more blue color.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Be careful what you look at though, I was in Lowe's today and they had big display above the drain pipes showing a "p" trap, and "s" trap and one of Jerry's favorites the "adjustable drain pipe" pretty as a picture with absolutely no explanation that there was any problem with using any of the parts exactly the way they had them on display. I would have taken a picture, but the camera was in the truck.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  21. #21
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
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    Default Re: PVC as water distribution pipe

    Yeah, I often get frustrated walking into stores like that where they have parts that aren't code-approved mixed in with the ones that are. S-traps, "flexi" p-traps, etc. Yeah, I know that the S-traps they sell are needed for people with older homes to make repairs, but that just encourages do-it-yourselfers to do it wrong.


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