Should I Use PVC or CPVC Pipe?

pvc-vs-cpvcPVC or CPVC - That is the Question

From the outside, PVC and CPVC appear to be very similar. They both are strong and rigid forms of pipe, and they can be found in the same pipe and fitting sizes. The only real visible difference may be in their color – PVC is generally white while CPVC comes in a cream color.

The biggest difference between the two types of pipe is not visible from the outside at all, but exists on the molecular level. CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride. It is this chlorination process that changes the chemical makeup and properties of the plastic.

If you’re wondering which material to use, there are two important factors that should help you decide. The first is temperature. PVC pipe can handle max operating temperatures of up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. CPVC on the other hand, is more resistant to high temperatures due to its chemical makeup and can handle operating temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Why not use CPVC for everything then? Well, that brings us to the second factor – cost.

CPVC is a more expensive product so it is usually the chosen material for hot water applications, while PVC is used for cold water applications like irrigation and drainage. So, if you’re stuck between PVC and CPVC on your next project, remember to take into account two factors: temperature, and cost.

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