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PVC vs. CPVC Pipes: Differences and How to Choose

February 15,2023

PVC Vs CPVC Pipes - Differences and How to Choose

PVC and CPVC pipes have a few major distinctions that can help you choose which is ideal for your project. Knowing the differences now will help you avoid future time, money, and hassles!


The highest temperature range each can sustain is a key distinction. You should use CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) for applications involving temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Cost

Thermoplastic polymers that can be employed in home or commercial plumbing applications include PVC and CPVC. Although they can occasionally be used interchangeably, there are a few significant differences that you should be aware of before making a purchase.


Temperature resistance is the main distinction. CPVC can withstand temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit while PVC (polyvinyl chloride) often begins to soften around 140 degrees.


Therefore, you should select CPVC if your project will involve operating in temperatures higher than this.


Color should also be taken into account. CPVC is often light gray (scheduled 80), but it also comes in white (schedule 40).


The process by which these two materials are created is the other key distinction between them. Due to a production technique that chlorinates the material more, CPVC often has higher chlorine levels than PVC.

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Chemical Compatibility

It's critical to choose the appropriate material when installing pipeline for chemical applications. Thermoplastic piping, like PVC and CPVC, can tolerate greater temperatures and resist corrosion from corrosive chemicals, making it the perfect material for chemical processing, wastewater treatment, metal finishing, and other applications.


Thermoplastic pipe can be used in a variety of harsh chemical settings due to its great resistance to a number of acids and bases. Examples include sodium hydroxide, Caustic soda (NaOH), nitric acid, and industrial strength bleach.


Esters, ketones, and ethers are examples of aromatic solvents and aromatics that have a negative impact on the performance of CPVC. The resistance of CPVC to incompatible substances is significantly influenced by its molecular structure and production standards.


It is always important to test your pipe materials under your local conditions before installing, regardless of the type of piping. In this manner, you can be sure that your piping system will function consistently and safely in the context of your particular environmental circumstances.

Resistance to Heat

PVC and CPVC can both resist temperatures of up to 140 °F. The pipes will weaken and break if the temperature rises above that level, jeopardizing their longevity and strength.


The majority of acids, bases, and salts, as well as aliphatic hydrocarbons, are inert to both materials. Because of this, they can endure prolonged exposure to toxins and poor soil conditions that would otherwise reduce their lifespans and diminish their efficiency.


Another relative of PVC is CPVC, but during production, chlorine is added as an additional ingredient. Due to the increased heat tolerance, it is now better suited for the distribution of hot water.


Although CPVC is more expensive than PVC, it has greater resistance to heat and pressure. For commercial applications, chemical handling, and hot water systems, it is a preferable option. Since it does not react with chemicals in the same way as PVC, it is also safer to work with. Additionally distinct from those utilized with PVC are its bonding agents, solvents, and primers.

Durability

The durability of PVC and CPVC depends on several factors. These include the material’s chemical makeup and how it’s installed.


The main difference between the two materials is their temperature resistance. Both can withstand temperatures up to 140degF, but above this threshold, both PVC and CPVC will begin to soften, weakening their joints and pipes and increasing the risk of leaks or failure.


CPVC, on the other hand, is a thermoplastic that can withstand a wider range of temperatures due to a free radical chlorination process. This chlorination process replaces a portion of PVC’s hydrogen makeup with chlorine, which makes it stronger and more resistant to fire and corrosion.


CPVC is often more expensive than PVC, but it’s also stronger and more chemically resistant. It can handle a variety of applications, including cold-water and sewer plumbing, drainage and vent systems. It’s a popular choice for residential plumbing because it’s incredibly durable and cost-effective. It’s also a good choice for commercial and industrial applications because it’s fire-resistant, resistant to corrosive chemicals, and reusable.