How to Use PVC Water Pipe

PVC water pipe has become the standard for many water pipes in residential homes. Since being introduced several decades ago, clay and iron pipes have been replaced with PVC pipes, and now they are used throughout almost every home in the United States.

PVC Uses

Most often, PVC pipe is used for sewer and water drainage applications in homes. Since this type of pipe has a very low melting point, plumbers do not recommend using it for hot water feeds for homes. In many areas, local building codes prohibit its use for this application.

PVC can be found under sinks for drainage, as part of a toilet sewer system or to drain water from a shower or bathtub. Additionally, many homeowners use PVC for outside sprinkler systems.

Another use for this type of piping is as a construction material for workbenches or other items that need to easily break down or be transported. Since PVC is easy to cut and join together, many homeowners and DIY fans like to use the piping material to provide structural support for small flexible play tents, patio furniture or other similar projects.

Making Repairs

PVC is a very easy to use and versatile plumbing material. It can be easily cut with a hack saw and joined together with plumber's cement or plumber's tape. As a result, it is easy to make repairs to existing pipes under sinks and at other locations around the home.

Fittings are easy to purchase at almost any home improvement center or hardware store, and they are usually very inexpensive. There are a wide variety of fittings that include s-curves, valves, screw joints and others. In many cases, tightening a joint only requires using a screw joint or applying one or 2 wraps of plumber's tape and screwing the fitting over the tape.

If you discover a leak in an existing PVC pipe, determine if the pipe is cracked or if the problem is at a joint. Remove the problem pipe by cutting off the water and then cutting out the pipe section. You can join a new section of pipe by adding a screw clamp at each end of the new fitting. Wrap the clamp threads with plumber's tape, and then firmly tighten the screw clamp into place.

Freezing Pipes

Generally, PVC pipes do not suffer from freezing unless they are above the ground, where they are exposed to extreme temperatures. If this is the case, the pipes should be wrapped with insulating wrap to prevent them from becoming frozen. Another method is to simply turn off the water where it is connected to the main system.

In geographical regions that are prone to freezing, it is usually recommended that the entire exterior water system be flushed and cleared in the late fall before the first freeze. This can be accomplished with an air pressure blow through the entire sprinkler system, which will clear any water that remains in the system.