When the time comes to replace your pipes, you have the option of choosing a different material that might benefit your plumbing system. It may seem like all piping options are the same, but there are several features that differentiate between ABS pipes and PVC pipes, the two most common materials. The type of material your pipes are made out of can make a big difference in your plumbing experience. The best option for your home depends on local building codes, climate, and other factors. Read on to learn more about the difference between ABS v. PVC pipes.

PVC Pipes

Poly Vinyl Chloride has a wide range of commercial uses, from clothing and toys to pipes and cables. When used for pipes, it’s white in color. It has a more flexible range of motion than ABS. This flexibility is an asset when it comes to certain plumbing situations. It’s vital for complicated installations, such as in tight spaces or with unusual pipe configurations. PVC contains BPA, a chemical that some consumers try to avoid. The FDA currently finds it safe for use in food packaging. When PVC piping is installed, it needs a purple primer before the cement can be applied. The primer needs to dry before the cement is applied in order to work. This extra step makes it a little more difficult to install, and the joints need to be held together for a longer period of time. Some people find it better at insulating the sound of water running through the pipes than ABS.

ABS Pipes

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is always black, making it easy to identify. It’s known for being sturdy and thick and commonly used both for pipe systems that remove waste material and to protect electrical wiring. The material is also used for canoes, luggage, and instruments. It’s considered easier to install than PVC piping because all that is needed to join one ABS pipe to another is cement without a primer. This means that the pipes can be joined instantly and often installed faster. Its strength means it has high impact strength and does well below ground that will receive a lot of pressure.

Building Codes

To choose the best option for your home and plumbing system, ask for input from a plumbing professional. Getting an opinion from someone who will be working with your pipes in the future helps you make a better choice. Some local building codes will actually specify that only one type of plumbing is allowed, so be sure to check the codes before you make your selection. Local regulations may affect ABS because of the chance that it might warp in sunlight. They might require it to be specially treated to make it more resistant to heat and light by being painted or treated with a UV resistant layer. Other locations ban PVC because it releases harmful chemicals when it burns.

Consider the Local Climate

PVC piping is generally resistant to the weather. Its softer material and flexibility allows it to withstand hot weather well. ABS, however, is prone to damage when installed in direct sunlight or hot climates. It can warp if the temperature gets too high, which might be a dealbreaker for desert dwellers and others. However, it shines in certain climates because its rigid solidity is perfect for cold weather. It can last through freezing weather without becoming damaged. PVC piping is more likely to sustain damage from very low temperatures since it is softer.

Whether you decide on PVC or ABS pipes, Whipple Plumbing can give you a skillful installation. Contact us today to make an appointment and get expert plumbing services from one of our Whipple Service Champions.


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