Choosing Between PVC And HDPE Piping

Published: 06th May 2011
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Plastic piping has been used for over 60 years in a wide variety of applications. It is significantly easier to work with than traditional metal piping and can be used almost anywhere metal is and some places it cannot. There are two types of plastic piping, PVC and HDPE. If you are getting ready to begin a project that involves plumbing it may benefit you to understand the differences between the two. They are sometimes paired with a flow center

PVC is strong and rigid. However it is somewhat brittle and is not recommended for use in areas where strong vibrations may be a problem. It is not easily affected by the temperature, maintaining its integrity at temperatures as low as to -40 degrees Celsius and as high as 65 degrees Celsius.

Because of the unique properties of this plastic it is remarkable resistant to corrosion of any kind. The rate of flow through these pipes will never be slowed by the build up of scale or rust. It does however scratch fairly easily. This means that flow may be slowed by debris snagging on rough, scratched surfaces.

HDPE piping is more flexible than PVC but just as strong. The increased flexibility means that it can be used in areas where vibrations are an issue without fear of it fracturing. Although it can withstand higher temperatures as well as other plastic piping it can not stand up to extreme cold. It is only considered safe to use where the temperature is not likely to drop below zero degrees Celsius.

This pipe is also resistant to rusting and other corrosion and compared to PVC, it is much less likely to get scratched. The inside of these pipes stay smooth and free flowing for many years of use. This means less chance of clogs or slowed flow.

Perhaps the most significant difference between these two types of plastic pipes is in their effects on the environment. PVC piping uses both chlorine and dioxin in its manufacture. Both of these have been show to be carcinogenic. HDPE piping contains neither of these, nor any other chemical that has been show to cause cancer and so is considered more environmentally friendly.

Both HDPE and PVC pipes can be used safely and effectively in many different projects. It would be wise for you to study the respective strengths and weaknesses of each and compare them to the projects parameters before you begin. Choosing the correct one early on can save you time and hassle.

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