When it comes to plumbing projects, many homeowners prefer to use either PVC or ABS pipes instead of traditional copper pipes, iron pipes, or other metal pipes because plastic pipes are cheaper, easier to work with, and lighter in weight.
What is ABS pipe?
ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, is a black plastic pipe that is commonly used for drainage, sewage, and vents. It is also often used in DWV systems (drain-waste-vent), which are designed to remove wastewater from a home or business.
The reason it is ideal for these applications is that it is extremely durable and can withstand high temperatures, making it resistant to both chemical and physical damage. Additionally, it is not susceptible to corrosion like metal pipes are, so it will not rust over time.
One of the key benefits of using ABS pipe is that it is less likely to deform in high temperatures than PVC pipe, which means it can be used for both hot and cold water applications. ABS is also resistant to various chemicals, making it ideal for use in industrial settings such as factories or laboratories.
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What is PVC pipe?
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a white or light-colored plastic pipe that is most commonly used for plumbing and drainage. Like ABS, it is often used in DWV (drain-waste-vent) or sewerage systems to remove waste from a home or business.
PVC is similar to ABS in that it is durable and resistant to physical and chemical damage; however, it has a few key differences that make it better suited for certain applications.
However, one downside of PVC pipe is that it is less flexible than ABS pipe, so it may only be suitable for some applications.
As a rule of thumb, use PVC for indoor plumbing and ABS for outdoor and underground plumbing.
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ABS vs. PVC pipes – which is best for use?
The differences between ABS and PVC pipes can be summarized as follows:
- ABS pipes are black and made of a plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. They’re commonly used for drainage, sewage, and vents.
- PVC pipes are white or light-colored and made of a plastic called polyvinyl chloride. They’re most commonly used for plumbing and drainage.
- PVC pipes are more flexible than ABS pipes, making them ideal for many applications.
Make sure to check with your local municipality because they may have specific requirements for which type of pipe to use in your home for what type of application to ensure the safest and most effective plumbing system possible.
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How to Join ABS and PVC Piping?
It isn’t recommended that ABS and PVC be joined and used within the same piping system. In fact, many plumbing codes restrict ABS from being glued to PVC, so it’s important to check local codes before making an attempt to do so. However, if there aren’t any restrictions in your location, ABS and PVC pipes can be joined using fittings (such as the ones we carry) rather than glue.
It can't be done with pipe cement or glue when you’re joining an ABS pipe to a PVC pipe. Instead, the best method uses a rubber sleeve and metal jacket to clamp the connection. The sleeve is positioned over the ends of the two pipes to connect them. The metal sleeve is then used to clamp the rubber sleeve into place. Be sure that you are using a coupling designated as plastic-to-plastic.
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When to Use ABS vs. PVC?
PVC and ABS pipes are useful in residential and commercial plumbing, but it’s important to know the differences to make the best decision about which one to use. ABS pipe is best used for underground situations, where it’s extremely cold, and in locations that are not exposed to direct sunlight. PVC, on the other hand, is ideal for indoor plumbing use because it’s soundproof.
Be sure that you check building codes before you decide which pipe to use. There are regulations in some areas that dictate the type of piping that has to be used for certain plumbing jobs.
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