09:03AM | 10/04/04
Member Since: 02/26/01
35 lifetime posts
I have read the prior posts regarding the pros and cons of using CPVC/PVC and copper and am still undecided. I have a 70 year old house with original plumbing. (That is except for the supply lines that are accessible in the basement. Those have been changed to copper but the year is unknown so there may be lead in the solder.) I want to begin replacing it but here is the catch: I have plaster over thin wallboard that I really want to avoid cutting and repairing. I can avoid much of this cutting/repairing if I use CPVC/PVC. I can also avoid sweating some connections in rather tight places by going with CPVC/PVC. I want to do a quality job (i.e. regardless of when I sell, I want the new system to last as long as possible) but I cringe at cutting open the walls. The hardness of my water 7.6 grains and the pH is 8.1 according to the county water report.

The question is: Are there any potential downsides to using copper in the accessible areas (i.e. the basement and garage) and switching to plastic for the run-ups and branch lines? Also, am I wrong to assume using plastic for the drain lines is OK?

Thanks for any insight one way or the other.


09:44AM | 10/04/04
Water quality usually determines whether copper is a good choice and you're on the edge at 8.1. I believe 9 is the line. L copper is thicker and much better. Use CPVC not PVC if you do run some plastic. You cannot use PVC on hot water lines anyway and you need copper at your water heater.

Do not use CPVC female adapters. Use male adapters going into female copper adapters or brass couplings. How your electrical system is grounded is an additional consideration. Do you have a ground rod?

Many jurisdictions are using PEX which is a white flexible plastic pipe. Everyone is not in agreement if this will be a lasting pipe because of the formula failure on the polybutylene pipe.

The lead in the solder shouldn't have an affect. We have learned that the piping gets a coating and the lead doesn't leach out of the joints as we initially thought.

PVC or ABS DWV is preferred by most of us for drain lines. Their downside is they transmit noise. If you have an upstairs bathroom that drains through an interior wall you may prefer to have it in cast iron.

You can also put grills in the locations you may have to penetrate your ceiling. Don't use a big dobber on the plastic cement. It stops up the inside of the fittings.
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