Most people never give their home plumbing a second thought until something goes wrong. Knowing what type of pipe has been installed in your walls, however, can often help you prevent developing problems before they result in costly repair bills. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipes are proving problematic for homeowners in Texas and across the nation because of their limited longevity and tendency to become brittle and to crack over time. This can cause leaks inside walls that may go undetected until serious damage has occurred. Consulting with a reliable Houston plumber can help you identify and mitigate these risks before they become full-scale repair problems.
Issues with CPVC Pipes
The first CPVC plumbing products were created by Genova Products in 1962. These systems were designed to provide an inexpensive alternative to other materials and to reduce the effects of acidic water on pipe longevity. CPVC pipes have a number of known drawbacks that include the following:
- CPVC pipes are typically connected with glue, which can deteriorate over time to allow pipes to shift and leak.
- As CPVC ages, it becomes increasingly brittle and can crack or shatter with the slightest impact.
- Breakdown and deterioration of CPVC pipes can be accelerated by hot outdoor temperatures and by chlorinated water delivery from public utilities.
- Pipes made of CPVC are more likely to break in freezing temperatures than those made of other materials.
- Direct exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight can cause CPVC materials to degrade.
- CPVC produces toxic fumes when burned and can present serious risks in house fires.
According to the experts at the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), CPVC pipes are expected to last for 50 to 75 years under optimal conditions. Unfortunately, many area homeowners are seeing cracks in their CPVC installations after as little as 14 years. When those breaks occur behind walls or in crawl spaces, they can lead to an added set of risks for Houston families:
- Damage to drywall, flooring and support structures
- Mold and mildew buildup in damp areas and the negative health effects caused by these fungal growths
- Increased risk of fire if water reaches electrical wiring inside the walls
- Higher water bills
Scheduling a service visit from an established Houston residential plumber can provide added peace of mind for families worried about the risks of CPVC leaks and damage.
Other Materials Provide Greater Reliability
While copper pipes are typically regarded as the standard for excellence and longevity in the plumbing industry, they too can experience issues in areas with high levels of acid in the water. If cost is not an issue, however, most professionals recommend copper pipe as the most reliable solution for residential plumbing needs. Cross-linked polyethylene, better known as PEX, is gaining popularity among plumbers thanks to its winning combination of flexibility, longevity and affordable price. Pipes constructed of PEX can often be fed through existing holes to reduce the amount of gluing and drilling required for a re-pipe project. Additionally, PEX typically comes with an extended warranty that may last as long as 25 years. Some PEX manufacturers even allow homeowners to claim damages directly rather than going through the homeowner’s insurance policy. This alone can be a strong recommendation for PEX over CPVC pipe installations.
By working with a company that handles all aspects of residential plumbing from Houston water heater repair to full-scale pipe replacement projects, homeowners can ensure that these technicians have the highest degree of expertise and knowledge regarding the best solutions for individual needs. Taking the time now to determine the type of pipes installed in your home and the health of your overall plumbing system can save you time and stress.