PEX plumbing systems use a different style of fitting than more established CPVC and copper systems. With copper and CPVC, the pipe is inserted into the fitting whereas with PEX the fitting is inserted into the pipe and the two pieces are mechanically joined using other components. This more complex design has created challenges since early in the material’s life when concerns over the health effects of the lead found in brass fittings caused manufacturers to replace lead with zinc in PEX fittings, resulting in widespread failures. Today, installation errors, chlorine degradation and chemical incompatibility are most likely to be the cause of leaking in or around PEX fittings.
In March of 2022, Lubrizol Advanced Materials announced FlowGuard High Contrast Solvent Cement for the FlowGuard Gold CPVC plumbing system.
Discover why you should make the switch to FlowGuard Gold® CPVC
Ultraviolet (UV) light can originate from sunlight or fluorescent light bulbs and is an aggressive oxidizer. In humans, UV light is responsible for sunburns; in plastics the effects of UV depend on the type of plastic. Plumbing systems can be exposed to UV light during the storage, transportation and installation of plumbing materials.
A luxury shower with multiple body sprayers can add appeal and value to new homes. When specifying these types of showers, it is important to pay attention to the piping materials in order to control the performance and cost of the system.
With some plumbing systems, fittings represent the weakest link in the system. PEX joints, for example, contain at least 3 separate parts joined together mechanically, including the pipe, fitting and an external crimp or expansion ring that joins the fitting to the pipe.
Of all the ways to move fluid, the two that most people interact with most frequently are plumbing pipes and drinking straws. Surprisingly, there is a remarkable correlation between the diameter of common straw sizes and the internal diameter of the fittings used in PEX and FlowGuard Gold CPVC plumbing systems. By using drinking straws as a comparison, it becomes easy to see the significant differences between various plumbing fittings and why FlowGuard Gold CPVC outperforms PEX in flow and pressure.
In a post published in early 2021, we identified three challenges plumbing contractors and home builders faced in dealing with a booming housing market. Now, as the boom becomes a slowdown, those challenges have become opportunities.
Plumbing engineers are increasingly being asked by owners and developers of multi-family, multi-story buildings to use specific materials in their designs. Usually, those requests are motivated by financial interests, such as the costs savings that can be realized with plastic plumbing systems. Some plastic systems, such as CPVC, can deliver excellent reliability and performance, but not all plastics are the same.
No one wants to hear their home needs a repipe. But sometimes that’s the best and only way to prevent future damage from systemic plumbing issues. The challenge for plumbers is determining whether issues are systemic or isolated, particularly for plumbing systems that are well within their expected service life. Some of the signs that a problem may be pervasive can be subtle, but there are guidelines plumbers can follow to determine when to recommend a repipe.
Plumbing engineers are increasing their focus on sustainability due to both market demand and a personal commitment to support more sustainable homes and buildings. Improving plumbing system sustainability requires consideration of a range of factors, including material sustainability, use of designs that can minimize water waste, and the total environmental impact of a system.