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Old 11-15-2011, 08:16 AM   #1
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Copper vs. CPVC


Hi!

Have 2 questions: copper vs. CPVC and install location.

I live in SE PA. I am getting ready to remodel a kitchen and remove a wall that has plumbing running up to a second floor bath.

Eventually we'll be remodeling that bath and moving some plumbing around, so I thought I would have a plumber come in a do the rough in.

My contractor asked me if Id like to stick with copper (which is currently everywhere) or use CPVC? I've done searches and such, and it seems as though copper is the more 'tried and true' method...but I'm not sure. I do not have a well - my contractor says that CPVC are used alot in well situations.

Secondly, with the removing of that wall in the kitchen...there are limited options to re-route the supply pipes.

1) outside wall - that just doesn't seem like the right way
2) wall between garage and house - not sure
3) a not so direct route through another wall - would require running through floor joists in between 1 &2 floors

Any insights would be greatly appreciated...thanks!

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Old 11-15-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Copper vs. CPVC


Nowadays I don't think that CPVC should even be part of the thought process. It should be a choice between copper and PEX. The choice between those two is quite difficult in most cases. The PEX is the newer material and installation labor is lower and it really doesn't have any disadvantages in most people's view. As you stated copper is the tried and true method of piping water systems but is becoming more and more expensive.

I don't see where CPVC offers any advantages over user of these material choices and is much more susceptible to damage and breakage.


Last edited by Msradell; 11-15-2011 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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Copper vs. CPVC


cpvc is junk was junk and will always be junk........ pex.....copper....as for installations I would stay away for outside walls other than that move lines as needed...within reason.....
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:07 PM   #4
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Copper vs. CPVC


Only suggestion I have heard for cpvc is you have to use it for hot water line not pvc.

Tom
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:11 PM   #5
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Copper vs. CPVC


My only experience with CPVC was replacing the inside main water supply shutoff valve (it would not shut off the flow) in my GF's house. Cut the old one out and glued on a male adapter. Then threaded on a new ball valve. Even being careful (I thought) to keep the torque off the pipe it shattered. Had to open the wall, cut it back a bit to good material, add a coupling some pipe and an elbow, then do it all over again, being even more careful, of course. Then I had a drywall repair as bonus. I could not believe how brittle and fragile that pipe was. I would never use that stuff for anything.

I am glad my house has copper. More solid for sure... and I occasionally get to play with my torch.

Last edited by raylo32; 11-15-2011 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:38 PM   #6
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Copper vs. CPVC


i agree, copper or pex.

all the new houses around here have PEX with manifolds. the manifolds are nice because you can isolate a leak without having to shut off the main. seems if you have the money to invest in the tools for the pex connector of choice, running pex would be a lot easier, especially for a DIY'er.
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Old 11-15-2011, 04:45 PM   #7
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Copper vs. CPVC


My entire house is CPVC. For a while for remodeling purposes I went to PEX - but now I'm back to CPVC because it's just easier for me to work with and fittings are cheaper (most of my plumbing is in the crawlspace making a crimper, etc, a nuisance)

But I've had copper in the past, too - and lived in a home that had both. Copper can and will rupture during a freeze - CPVC can and will, too, but it takes more to make it happen - it's more durable.

CPVC also provides you with the ability to fix your own minor leaks, etc. . . which you can't do with copper too well unless you know how to weld. Copper is also far more expensive and will cost considerably more to redo your plumbing with it.

I would go with CPVC to stay within my abilities to do DIY as necessary.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:28 PM   #8
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Copper vs. CPVC


I'm also curious about this topic. I plumbed my entire house with cpvc. What are the disagdvantages of cpvc? I know most (all) professionals don't use cpvc because they know how to use pex and own a crimper. Cpvc seemed like a lot less hassle. Is the only disadvantage of cpvc that is easily damaged? Mine is all installed so it would be really hard to damage. I also strapped the crap out of it. Just wondering if I have any issues to look forward to.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:19 PM   #9
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Copper vs. CPVC


PEX, so they tell me, will swell out like a baloon if it freezes and then go back down. Is that the gospel or a sales pitch?

Tom
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:45 AM   #10
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Copper vs. CPVC


Old school Buzzard, COPPER. There are many reasons to use copper to numerous. I can tell you why most newbies and DIYers don't use it --they don't know how to solder. It's really easy and safe once you do a few.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:25 AM   #11
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Copper vs. CPVC


I know how to solder just fine. It just would have cost like 5x as much
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:58 AM   #12
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Copper vs. CPVC


My vote is for PEX. My house is mostly all CPVC, and yes it is easy to work with, but so is PEX.
The advantages of PEX over copper and CPVC:
Less or no angle fittings - easily bends at smooth angles
Durable - Doesn't crack like CPVC or dent like copper
Cheap for long runs - the fittings are more expensive, but the pipe is cheap
Ease of install - Every now and then a DIY'r will likely get a bad glue joint or a bad sweat fitting
Forgiving - if you miscalculate anything, it flexes enough to make up for it or loops make up for short cuts

The cons are the cost of fittings, but that's why most use a manifold. From there, you should need very few fittings to get the job done
The initial tool cost is minor. Look for a used one on craigslist, etc. When you're done with it, sell it and you'll probably get most of your money back. I'd suggest the expansion tool.

If you don't want to go with PEX, I'd say with metal prices, it would be crazy to use copper in this day and age. If they were closer in price, then the benefits might be worth it.

Keep in mind, you may still need to use some copper at your water heater and other appliances. Check your local code.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:46 PM   #13
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Copper vs. CPVC


I've never had a leak with the CPVC in my house!

Also I like to transition to galvanized about a foot before valves or faucets, then clamp the galvanized down to the studs. Then years later when you are changing a valve under a sink or whatever, you can place a lot of turning pressure on the valve to remove or install it, then not worry about the copper solder joint breaking in the wall or plastic breaking in the wall.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:53 PM   #14
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Copper vs. CPVC


CPVC is junk and a total waste of money and time.

It is brittle and it gets even worse over time.
It can snap or shatter when bumped and sometimes it just breaks for no reason at all.

My nephew came home from a weekend out of town last winter to find a cpvc fitting under his bathroom sink had just snapped. It was a female threaded fitting that adapted the cpvc to a brass nipple. Nobody was home, nobody even so much as ran the water, it just snapped suddenly for no reason. This was not the first time I have seen a cpvc failure, but this was by far the worst.

It left him over $25,000 in damage and a huge clean up on two levels of his house. He also lost a ton of personal things that really didn't have much value except to him. The waterfall created by the leak resulted in rooms of buckled flooring, soaked and ruined carpets and damaged drywall. Water poured down the heat vent in the bathroom and into his finished basement. It cascaded over his breaker panel and right onto his washer and dryer. The washer and dryer were both ruined and his breaker panel had to be replaced. The water ran through his furnace and shorted the fan. The furnace would light and then overheat until it tripped the high limit. As soon as it cooled off enough it would light again, over and over for 1-2 days all the while as cold water poured through it, needless to say the furnace had to be replaced too.

Copper is great but is very, very expensive these days, It is my preferred choice and it's what I put in my own house a few years ago before the price got out of hand, but now the cost has become a real factor for projects of any size.

Pex is quick and easy to work with and very durable and has become almost the standard for new construction. It requires some special tools but you only need to buy them once and a hundred bucks would probably cover it.

Either is a far better choice.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:49 PM   #15
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Copper vs. CPVC


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
I've never had a leak with the CPVC in my house!

Also I like to transition to galvanized about a foot before valves or faucets, then clamp the galvanized down to the studs. Then years later when you are changing a valve under a sink or whatever, you can place a lot of turning pressure on the valve to remove or install it, then not worry about the copper solder joint breaking in the wall or plastic breaking in the wall.
You're very fortunate if you've never had a leak in CPVC! As you stated you have taken some precautions to make it better, precautions you don't have to take if you were using copper or PEX! I've never seen a solder joint break (or even leak if installed correctly).

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