Friday, May 18, 2007

The Bane...part 3 - Getting Ready For The Sequel

So the rotted, perforated, rusty pipe has been replaced (albeit temporarily) from the "box" to where it climbs it way up our embankment, which ammounts for about linear 7' feet. And YET we still have a leak somewhere!!! Hmmm, make that "somewheres" because it seems to be leaking in several places: Up top, in the middle, and at the end.

The rate of the leak is significantly less that it was with the "sieve", but I am going to have to get to it sooner than I planned. Replacing our entire plumbing line has now claimed top spot in my ToDo list.

As of now, I plan to replace it all with copper, but my final decision has yet to be made on that. There is a significant learning curve for me regarding brazing copper tubing, whereas CPVC gluing seems pretty straight-forward. There's also the expense issue as copper prices seems to be at its all-time high. But I still like the anti-bacterial properties of copper and feel that it somehow is more durable (though I doubt I can substantiate that belief). Noise level is a non-issue for us if it is even a issue in the first place. Well here are the issues I have ready about in the debate of Copper versus Chlorinated PolyVinyl Chloride. Here's were I do my Tevye impersonation:

"On One Hand....On The Other Hand..."

- Copper has a long track record.......CPVC is new, unknown long-term effects
- CPVC is cheaper and req. few tools.......Copper is expensive and tool intensive
- Copper has anti-bacterial properties.......CPVC may leach some chemicals/toxins
- CPVC is faster to install.......Copper is expensive and work intensive
- Copper is a fine conductor of electricity, good for grounding (we don't yet have it)
- CPVC isn't prone to corrosion.......Copper will discolor, but is not likely to corrode
- Copper is flexible/impact resistant.......CPVC may snap upon shearing or impact
- CPVC is presumably quieter.....Copper makes some noise, but don't we all?
- Copper tubing is small and fits in small spaces......CPVC is fat and cumbersome
- ...

There IS no other hand:
- Copper has more size and fitting options
- Copper just looks better

If you have your own thoughts on this matter, please share your observations with me and leave a comment. I am a raw novice on plumbing, but I can be a fast learner.

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At May 19, 2007 4:45 AM, Blogger Old House Gazette said...

(Don't know if this went through the first time... I couldn't remember my Google password)


If you're doing it yourself, I strongly recommend Pex. CPVC takes 48 hours to "set", which I wasn't aware of initially. 2 days without water in a house with a British wife just wasn't going to work. So, I ripped out all of the CPVC that I had installed and replaced it all with Pex in about 4 hours. The tool is expensive (about $130), I'll give you that. The fittings aren't cheap either. But, you hardly need any fittings, since Pex bends.

Check this one out to read my experiences:

At May 19, 2007 5:07 AM, Anonymous jm said...

I love my copper pipes. Even though I don't see it much anymore because it is now inside of the wall. But I know it is there.

The chemical leaching of CPVC makes me uncomfortable, but I also tend to visualize that stuff traveling through my body and I am a little freaky that way.

At May 20, 2007 2:02 PM, Blogger Oblio70 said...

Old House Gazzete - why haven't I given that one consideration yet? I undersatand that it is price-wise the same as copper, but easier like "TinkerToys" to install. Okay, you got my interest piqued...I shall look into it, thanks!

jm -
thanks for your input on copper...

At May 21, 2007 10:23 AM, Anonymous davidLBC said...

California restricts CPVC use. It appears it will be added to the Plumbing Code this year (? not clear to me) for residential use. I prefer copper. It is easy to work with, with the exception of trying to sweat a joint in close proximity to wood, using a propane torch. You have to spray the timber with water first. I usually place heat shield of several layers of aluminum between the joint and the wood while soldering.

A novice can make a decent solder joint, it just won't necessarily look pretty. You tend to use too much solder at first. The most important thing to remember is joint must totally clean and you can't use too much flux. Also, copper has the nifty property of changing color when heated to the proper temperature. This is when you apply the solder.

At May 30, 2007 8:55 AM, Blogger Oblio70 said...

Thank you davidlbc, I think I'm now pretty sold on the idea of copper pipes. Although it's quite clear that the plumbers unions are a driving force to "discredit" PEX, I still am not to fond of the long-term aspects of drinking water from plastic. I can't help but think it leaches something into the water.


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