For specific information about the different plastic piping products for plumbing applications, click on the links below:
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride)
PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
TIPS (Thermoplastic Industrial Piping Systems)
Solvent Cements & Primers
here for video presentation of Today's Environment, the role of plastic
piping in protecting the environment. (6MB)
The primary benefits associated with all of these plastic piping products
are the following:
Substainability (Green Building)
A significant benefit of plastic pipe is its small environmental impact compared to other materials. To learn more click here.
Plastics are not conductive and are therefore immune to galvanic or
electrolytic erosion. Because plastics are corrosion resistant, plastic
pipe can be buried in acidic, alkaline, wet or dry soils and protective
coatings are not required.
The variety of materials available allows a wide range of chemical solutions
to be handled successfully by plastic piping.
Low Thermal Conductivity
All plastic piping materials have low thermal conductance properties.
This feature maintains more uniform temperatures when transporting fluids
in plastic than in metal piping. Low thermal conductivity of the wall
of plastic piping may eliminate or reduce greatly the need for pipe
insulation to control sweating.
In general, thermoplastic piping is relatively flexible as compared
to metal piping. This facilitates use of efficient installation techniques.
Some of the more flexible materials allow for coiling, which permits
long pipe runs with a minimum number of joints. The more rigid materials
are typically made into 10' or 20' pipe lengths. Pipe size is also a
factor in coiling and bending both rigid and flexible materials.
Water mains and sewers made of plastic piping can be deflected to
match the curve alignment of streets and rights-of-way.
Low Friction Loss
Because the interior surface of plastic piping is generally very smooth,
less power may be required to transmit fluids in plastic piping compared
with other piping systems. Furthermore, the excellent corrosion resistance
of plastics means that the low friction loss characteristic will not
change over time.
Long Term Performance
Owing to the relative chemical inertness and the minimal effects of
internal and external corrosion, there is very little change in the
physical characteristics of plastic piping over dozens of years. Examinations
of pipe samples taken from some systems have shown no measurable degradation
after 25 years of service.
Most plastic piping systems are on the order of one-sixth the weight
of steel piping. This feature means lower costs in many ways: lower
freight charges, less manpower, simpler hoisting and rigging equipment,
etc. This characteristic has allowed some unique cost-saving installation
procedures in several applications.
Variety Of Joining Methods
Plastic piping can be joined by numerous methods. For each material
there are several appropriate methods. Some of the most common are solvent
cementing, heat fusion, threaded joints, flanges, O-rings, rolled grooves,
and mechanical compression joints. This variety of joining methods allows
plastic piping to be adapted easily to most field conditions.
Plastic piping systems have been approved for potable water applications.
As evidence of this all plastic potable water piping materials and products
are tested and listed for compliance to ANSI/NSF Standards 14 and 61.
All ASTM and AWWA standards for plastic pressure piping that could
be used for potable water contain a provision whereby the regulatory
authority or user can require product that has been tested and found
to be in conformance with ANSI/NSF Standard 61 - Drinking Water System
Components - Health Effects. When plastic pipe or fittings are ANSI/NSF
Standard 14 listed, and have the NSF pw (potable water) mark they also
meet the ANSI/NSF Standard 61 requirements.
The NSF-pw mark certifies to installers, users, and regulators that
the product meets the requirements of ANSI/NSF Std 14 for performance
and the ANSI/NSF STD 61 for health effects.
To date, there are no documented reports on any fungi, bacteria, or
termite attacks on any plastic piping system. In fact, because of its
inertness, plastic piping is the preferred material in deionized and
other high-purity water applications.
Plastic piping materials provide excellent service in handling slurries
such as fly ash, bottom ash, and other abrasive solutions. The material
toughness and the smooth inner-bore of plastic piping make it ideal
for applications where abrasion-resistance is needed.
Plastic piping is available in a variety of colors for ease of identification.
The following are generally used colors for different applications:
- Gas Distribution (Formerly bright orange or tan; now yellow or black
with yellow stripes)
- Water Distribution (Black, light blue, white, clear, or gray)
- Sewers (Green, white, black, or gray)
- DWV (Black, white, tan, or gray)
- Hot and Cold Water distribution (Tan, red,
- white, blue, silver, or clear)
- Cable Duct (Variety of colors)
- Fire Sprinklers (Orange)
- Industrial Process (Dark gray/PVC, light gray/CPVC)
- Reclaimed Water (Purple or brown local jurisdiction may set requirements)
Low MaintenanceReturn to Top
A properly designed and installed plastic piping system requires very
little maintenance because there is no rust, pitting, or scaling to contend
with. The interior and exterior piping surfaces are not subject to galvanic
corrosion or electrolysis. In buried applications, the plastic piping
is not generally affected by chemically aggressive soil. However, installation
in soils contaminated with hydrocarbons (gas, oil, etc.) should be avoided.