PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Traditionally, PVC piping only lasts between 25-40 years. However, with recent technological advancements, PVC pipes may be able to last 70 years or more.
The Water Research Foundation reported that 100 years is a conservative estimate for a properly designed and installed PVC pipe.
But how often should plumbing pipes and fixtures be replaced? Plumbing supply pipes such as galvanized, copper, CPVC, or pex can last 40 to 70 years. Plumbing drain pipes such as cast iron, ABS, and PVC can last 50 to 80 years.
PVC pipes can become brittle and fail with age.
But, PVC is an excellent option for the plumbing in your home.
Generally, PVC will last 50 to 80 years outdoors, according to the Plastics Industry Association (source). Extreme weather is not accounted for as it is not considered general wear and tear. PVC is water-resistant and unaffected by the sun.
The average cost to replumb a house will vary between $5,000 to $7,000. However, the total cost of repiping a house may be as high as $15,000 depending on a variety of factors. These variables include pipe location, number of bathrooms, quantity of fixtures, and how many stories a home includes.
Whether caused by improper installation or manufacturing defects, one of the most common failures – PVC cracking – is a response to stress. There are two types of typical crack formation: ductile and brittle fracture. Ductile fracture is a bulk response of the polymer coupled with yielding.
Weather-Resistant PVC is Durable Enough for Outdoor Use
In addition to weather resistance, PVC is resistant to almost all inorganic chemicals and is a highly stable product that is impact-resistant, fire-retarding, and resists microbial growth.
When a connection to copper or other metal pipes is required, PEX works better than PVC because crosslinked polyethylene won't corrode. - Price. When you compare the material costs of PEX vs PVC, PEX comes out more expensive. (However, balance this factor against the lower labor cost to install PEX.)
If the pipe is totally encased in concrete small surface cracks would not affect. If the cracks go all the way through, like a total crack in a foundation, it could also damage the pipe. If the concrete has shifted along the crack line then the pipe is going to be damaged.
Copper. Copper is the standard and the most prevalent piping material for home plumbing applications. Its strength, durability, flexibility, resistance to corrosion, and ability to tolerate heat makes it a perfect choice to replace iron and steel pipes.
PVC pipes occasionally fail due several reasons including: Defective pipe manufacture – The main manufacturing defects that cause PVC pipes to fail include incomplete resin fusion, incomplete fusion of extrusion knit lines (also called “weld lines” or “spider-lines”), and inhomogeneity of the filler content.
Research shows little to no effect on PVC's tensile strength or elasticity after prolonged sun exposure. The only degradation that seems to occur is impact strength. That means the pipe may become slightly more brittle after prolonged sun exposure.
Benefits of Copper Pipes
While you can expect PEX to last for 30 to 50 years, copper piping will outdo it by about two decades, with a typical lifespan of 50 to 70 years. Copper is a more durable option that isn't susceptible to rodents or sunlight. These pipes can easily handle water pressure of up to 1,000 psi.
Strengths: Copper is unquestionably the premium choice, simply because it has such a long and proven history. Copper piping has been used for 80 years -- and many of those original lines are still going strong. Enviro factor: Copper plumbing pipe won't pollute your drinking water, and old pipes can be recycled.
If you're plumbing a small space, copper pipes thin walls and low profile are ideal. Resists vibration damage better than PVC pipe because it's more flexible at the joints, this makes it better-suited for areas that are earthquake-prone. Cleaner. Copper is simply metal and contains no chemicals like PVC does.
PVC becomes increasingly brittle as the temperature drops. When exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time, it can become brittle enough to crack quite easily.
However, PVC has low heat stability, with changes in shape and color occurring at high temperatures. Furthermore, long exposure of PVC to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, e.g., from sunlight, and a high temperature results in undesirable changes in its physical and chemical properties [6,7].
An ideal way to protect PVC pipe is to paint it. Painting provides long-lasting protection and is easy to do. You'll want to use spray paint for plastic, which tends to repel things from sticking to the surface and offers protection from fading and cracking. Choose a light paint color, such as white or cream.
Improper installation—If a PVC fitting is not properly installed onto the joining pipe, a leak can occur. This is usually caused by a loose-fitting that allows water to seep through. Wrong adhesive glue—Make sure that you purchase the correct PVC cement so that it doesn't deteriorate prematurely.
Because PVC is a very porous material, too much cement can cause it to break down. Conversely, when too little cement is used, it can create weakened bonds that may leak or break.
Will Boiling Water Damage PVC Pipes? The general rule of thumb is that hot boiling water can soften or even slightly melt the joints in your PVC pipes so YES, if you subject these types of pipes to high temperature water on a regular basis - they can be damaged, causing leaks and eventually requiring replacement.