People often have questions about installing CPVC pipe. They need new water lines and want to know if CPVC pipe is a good choice. Many want to know if it is really as easy to install CPVC plumbing as it looks. I mean, it requires no special tools and is really easy to put it together. You just glue it together, what could be easier?
Like most things in life, it’s not quite that simple. The truth is, CPVC pipe is a perfectly good product and can be an excellent choice for water pipes, but you do need to know a few things to do it right. For starters, you need to be able to properly size the pipe in your system and you need to be able to design the piping layout efficiently. There are also some things you need to know about CPVC piping installations in particular.
Here are a few tips to help you get a good system.
Strap It Right
Strap CPVC every 4′ horizontally and at least once between the floor and ceiling vertically. Use plastic support hooks and get the kind that hold the pipe a little off of the wood. CPVC expands and contracts like all plastic pipe and if it is fastened too tightly against the framing it can make a lot of popping and squeaking noises as time goes on.
Easy On The Glue
Don’t use too much CPVC cement. Apply glue sparingly in the CPVC fitting. If you get too much glue in the fitting, when you push the pipe into the fitting the glue will get pushed into the joint. If there is enough glue pushed in it can actually dissolve the pipe and cause a failure. I have also seen it cause a kind of bubble of glue in the joint which dries and blocks the pipe. That’s real fun to figure out when part of the system doesn’t get water.
Use Brass or Copper Adapters
If you have to use any threaded connectors go ahead and pay the extra couple of dollars and get the kind that have brass or copper threads instead of the all plastic kind. Sioux Chief makes some really good ones. You may have to go to a plumbing supply to get these, most DIY stores don’t have them.
Eliminate Loose Tub Valves
While you are at it, Sioux Chief makes some great other products for adapting CPVC to copper. I recommend using their preformed ells, along with sweat type tub/shower valves. Use copper for the tub spout piping and shower head riser and use the Sioux Chief ells for the inlet connections. This allows you to properly secure the tub/shower valves so they don’t wiggle and wobble when you use them.
Securing Hose Faucets
Likewise, the Sioux Chief ells work great along with a sweat hosebibb. Hoses get pulled around a lot and this method really lets you secure the hose faucet so it doesn’t get yanked out of the siding or brick.
Avoid Plastic Valves
One more tip. You can get shut off valves made entirely of CPVC. Don’t use them, especially the gate valves. They are prone to leak. The only ones I would even consider are the Ball Valve type, and I have had problems with them. Go ahead and use real brass valves with the necessary adapters. Again check out Sioux Chief. (I promise I am not getting a commission from them). They are really good products that work.
Stay Away From Heat Sources
Don’t run CPVC pipes too close to heat sources, such as can lights or flue vents. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 12″ away from these kinds of things.
Check All Products For Compatibility
Last of all make sure that any pipe dope or other chemicals that come into contact with any part of the piping system are approved and listed as safe for CPVC. Some chemicals can have a damaging effect on the plastic pipe, causing failures months and even years later. That doesn’t mean CPVC is not a good product, just pay attention to what you use with it.
These tips should help your next CPVC project be a success!