Understanding Your Options with PVC Pipe

PVC pipe may be the original cheap and widely adopted plastic pipe. However, there are several forms of PVC pipe on the market today because PVC pipe and pipe fittings isn’t always good enough for a particular application.

PVC Pipe Fittings

Note that upvc & cpvc pipes and fittings typically cannot be attached to PVC pipes unless you use special hybrid fittings. In general, PVC and CPVC pipes cannot be combined without special interfacing hardware because they require different solvents. At the same time, the performance of the entire plumbing system is dependent on the limits on the weakest piece. Whether this is a piece of pipe that isn’t rated for the same high internal pressure or joints that can’t handle the high temperature liquid flowing through them, a mix of materials almost always creates problems. Yet you may find upvc cpvc pipes fittings near industrial equipment like boilers before the piping system transitions to cheaper PVC pipe. Both types of PVC pipe are easy to cut and fit, and all forms of PVC pipe have smooth inner walls allow for almost frictionless fluid flow.

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CPVC Pipe Fittings

CPVC pipe fittings are the most common choice in hot water systems, since they can handle water near the boiling point and conventional PVC pipe fittings cannot. CPVC pipe fittings can handle similar internal pressures and strain. PVC CPVC pipe fittings may be found where hot water systems merge with conventional PVC pipes, after the water temperature has dropped. PVC and CPVC pipe fittings are found throughout irrigation systems and residential water pipes. However, if you’re installing a sprinkler system, it will almost certainly be made from CPVC pipe and CPVC pipe fittings, since PVC pipe may melt when exposed to fire and release toxic fumes in the process. You don’t see the CPVC and UPVC pipe elsewhere unless process demands make it a requirement due to their higher material cost.
PVC pipe is sometimes used to insulate electrical cables whether they’re embedded in walls or buried under the foundation, since PVC pipe resists the elements, chemicals in the soil and almost anything that passes through it. Its moderate degree of flexibility can be a plus, such as when your foundation and the pipes buried in it may shift.

UPVC Pipe Fittings

When choosing between UPVC & CPVC pipes and fittings, the major determinant is whether or not the pipes are going to be exposed to extremely corrosive materials and the external load it may be exposed to. PVC and CPVC pipe fittings can handle drinking water and wastewater from the sink, but sewer lines tend to be made from UVPC because it won’t react to the toxic chemical brew passing through the pipes. Because you can’t afford a sewage leak, the connections will be UPVC pipe fittings or upvc cpvc pipes fittings.
UPVC pipe is also sometimes used for exterior drainage pipes, since its incredible strength ensures it can’t be crushed by a tractor driving over it. Another point in favor of UPVC is that it doesn’t break down on exposure to sunlight. This is why unplasticized PVC material is sometimes used in window frames.
On the flipside, UPVC pipe isn’t used for conveying drinking water. PVC and CPVC pipes are used instead. UPVC is safe for this purpose, but its higher cost makes it the inferior choice. The only exception is when the customer is concerned about drinking water coming into contact with plasticizers like phthalates and BPA.


All PVC pipe is durable, low-friction, relatively cheap and recyclable. However, each chemical formulation alters the performance of the material. This means you should carefully consider the end use of the pipe before selecting the right type of PVC pipe for that location.