If your plumbing system has formed a major leak, then you may need to think about arranging some serious repairs with your plumber. In some cases, the leak may be a sign that your steel pipes have started to deteriorate significantly. In this situation, it may be best to invest in a complete repiping. You have some options if this is necessary, and you may be asked to choose between copper and PVC pipe. PVC pipes do not seem like the obvious choice, but they do have some advantages that you should consider.
They Are More Flexible
If you live in a cold weather area where temperatures drop well below the freezing point in the winter, then you may have some concerns about pipes freezing. This is often an issue, especially if the pipes sit very close to an outside wall. While foam and fiberglass insulation materials can reduce freezing concerns, pipes can still freeze and burst. Since copper is a hard metal, it is far more likely to burst than PVC. PVC is flexible and can expand a small amount without bursting. This can prevent serious plumbing leaks.
The flexibility of the material also makes it easy for your plumber to bend the piping into small spaces or areas that are not completely square. Angling is also something that can be done to plan out simpler plumbing configurations that use fewer elbows and corners. This can reduce the cost of the overall plumbing job and keep you on budget.
Watertight Joints Can Be Created
When it comes to joining copper pipes together, a plumber will need to solder joints. This requires cleaning, the application of flux, the heating of the pipes, and the application of the solder. Plumbers are more than capable of creating watertight joints, but even a bit of sweat or oil from the hands can weaken the joint underneath the solder. If your plumber needs to work in a tight spot, then it may simply be difficult to create a perfect joint.
When it comes to PVC, watertight joints can be formed much more easily. Fewer joints are often needed in the first place because it is easier to carry and install long sections of piping—simply because they are lightweight.
Also, PVC can be bonded together at points with the help of solvents. Solvents simply need to be spread on both sections of the PVC pipe. A PVC elbow or coupling is then slipped over the solvent, and the solvent binds the PVC together.
In tight areas where it can be difficult to secure the solvent and couplings, quick connections can be used. These are push fittings that use teeth to attach to the PVC. Since the PVC is pliable, the teeth can bite into the material and retain a strong and secure joint. While these connections can be used with copper pipes as well, the joints are more likely to leak since the connections cannot attach to the copper in the same manner.