Because PVC is a thermoplastic, it will eventually degrade and break down as it is heated. It just so happens that the maximum operating temperature of Schedule 40 PVC is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around the temperature reached by hot water in most homes. Because the maximum operating temperature is 140°F, any temperature over that will cause the scheduled 40 PVC pipes to break down, endangering the pipe’s integrity (think leaks and bursting).
Read more: The Strongest PVC Pipe: Schedule 40 vs 80
As a result, PVC pipe and fittings should only be used in applications where the water temperature does not exceed 140F. Even if your application contains water at temps close to 130F, I would propose a different material because temperatures might fluctuate and it’s always best to be on the safe side.
CPVC, like PVC, is a thermoplastic and is available in pipe and fittings. The distinction is due to the chemical composition. CPVC material is chlorinated further, which gives the plastic slightly different properties, one of which is a greater maximum operating temperature. CPVC (schedule 80) pipe can withstand temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, it is appropriate for use on hot water pipes in both households and businesses.
PVC pipes are currently more often utilized than other types of pipe materials in recent times. PVC pipe is a highly adaptable material. It can be utilized for a variety of purposes, including pipe, plumbing, and even building. It’s also a fairly inexpensive substance to deal with, and it doesn’t require any particular equipment to use. PVC pipes, on the other hand, should be viewed as a situational solution rather than a global one.
Plastic water pipes have been the preferred material for plumbers and home builders since the 1950s. Plastic plumbing pipes are frequently made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), and polybutylene and are inexpensive to install (PB). Concerns about the safety of these materials prompted the development of alternatives such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).
Related: PVC Pipes And Drinking Water
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that PVC includes phthalates, which can leach from polymers and have been shown in animal tests to cause liver and reproductive system harm. The CDC warns that short-term phthalate exposure has little toxicity in adults; animal studies demonstrate that chronic phthalate exposure is hazardous, even at low concentrations. Phosphates, in particular, are poorly processed by infants.
PVC production and disposal emit toxic pollutants into the environment. Polyvinyl chloride, the primary component of PVC pipe, is a proven human carcinogen. Stabilizers and plasticizers used in PVC production may contain lead or other heavy metals, and during incineration—a common form of disposal—hydrochloric acid is released. Hydrochloric acid is caustic and can harm the lungs. This is also a problem during building fires, where exposure to burning PVC puts firefighters at risk.
Read more: PVC Pipes in 500 Words