Plumbing with Plastic Tubing

Plumbing is a much easier job if you use plastic tubing rather than metal pipes. There are a lot of advantages to plumbing with plastic tubing. This is because plastic is a partially flexible material which is resistant to mold growths. If you decide to install plumbing tubes made of plastic instead of metal or copper, the installation will be much safer.

1 – Choosing the Type of Plastic

If you opt to make use of plastic tubing you must choose the appropriate material from a list of three major types of plastic. These are often known as polyvinyl chloride, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which are respectively abbreviated as PVC, CPVC and ABS.

Each type is ideal for particular plumbing purposes. For example, you use both PVC and ABS for the tubing in sewers and vents, but the material differs in color. PVC is gray whereas the other is black. On the other hand, the color of CPVC is white and you usually use it for water pipes.

In order to install tubing of these types in a correct way, you also need some primer or glue. You must keep in mind that both PVC and CPVC are compatible with PVC glue whereas you will need ABS glue for plumbing with ABS tubing.

2 – Converting Metal Tubing to Plastic

If you want to change your metal plumbing tubes to plastic tubing, you need a pair of cutters to cut away the metal pipes, which in most cases would be made from copper. Smoothen gently the outer side of the copper tubing and the inner side of the male-threaded adapter with sandpaper, then check carefully that the fittings fit correctly in their locations.

Apply some plumbing flux to the tubes and adapter which you have just sanded. Insert the adapter into the copper tube and use a propane torch to heat the tube. When the fitting is hot enough and you put the plumbing solder onto it, the heat will cause the pipe and adapter to suck the solder into place.

3 – Running Plastic Tubing for Water Supply Pipes

If you want to install plastic tubing as a water supply pipe, first you need to measure the total distance that the pipe should run in order to reach the water fixture e.g. a faucet. After you take the measurement, use a marker as a guideline, then use a pair of cutters to cut the plastic tube according to the measurements.

If you notice any shavings or burrs on the plastic tube, utilize a utility knife to remove them. Apply some primer on the plastic pipe and the female-threaded plastic adapter and then apply a coating of plumbing glue when the plumbing primer has not dried yet.

4 – Selecting Plastic Tubing Couplings

If you need to install some couplings for your plastic plumbing tubes, keep in mind that these are available in four angles: thirty, forty-five, sixty and ninety degrees. You can also choose from those which are shaped either like the letter T or like a cross. These couplings will allow you to install multiple tubes and join them together. Remember to twist the plastic tube gently when you are inserting it into a coupling.