November 8

How Long Do PVC Pipes Last?

There are many different materials that can be used as water or drain pipes.

There are often instances where the PVC pipes underground become split or broken and this causes a lot of inconvenience, not to mention a large amount of money to fix.

So, how long do PVC pipes last? Read on to find out! 

What Are PVC Pipes?

PVC pipes, standing for polyvinyl chloride, are a very commonly used type of plastic pipe which serve a multitude of purposes across the world.

They are one of the most versatile types of plastic pipes. When you compare plastic PVC piping systems with metal plumbing systems, they are a lot better.

PVC pipes are stronger and more durable than metal pipes, making them ideal for various applications, including how much weight they can support.

PVC pipes are not at risk of extracting due to heat which is a common cause of burst pipes. Not only are they great in all these ways, they are also more economical.

You can get these pipes in all sizes (easy for DIY projects) and they can be used as both cold and warm water pipes. They really are a great choice of material for these pipes. 

What Are PVC Pipes Commonly Used For?

PVC pipes are most commonly used as water mains pipes, irrigation and sewage pipes. In fact, it’s one of the most used plumbing materials ever.

The reason they are so common for these uses is because of their easy installation, durability, lightweight and strong nature.

The water runs through this plumbing system very easily because the pipes have smooth sides.

This lowers the friction on the side of the plumbing materials and encourages the fast flow of water.

How Long Does A PVC Pipe Last?

How Long Do PVC Pipes Last?

A PVC pipe has a life expectancy of between fifty and one hundred years, but it’s interesting to see how this compares to the lifespan of PEX pipes.

They are relatively new to the plumbing industry and, until recently, copper pipes have been used instead. 

The length of time that PVC pipes will last is related to a few different factors. These include:

  • If a PVC pipe is not installed correctly in the first place then they are more likely to fail before the usual time. 
  • If the PVC pipes are not properly insulated when the weather is cold, they may fail prematurely.
  • Age is a common cause for the PVC pipes becoming brittle and failing prematurely.

While there are some risk factors that mean that the pipes may not last up to their full life expectancy, they are still a great choice of pipe for plumbing. 

Copper Pipes Vs PVC Pipes

Copper pipes are a lot more expensive than PVC pipes which is one big reason that they are not used much anymore.

As there are not really any downsides to using PVC, there is not much point in using copper if it costs a lot more.

The copper pipes also cost a lot more to install as they are rigid. They are hard to maneuver and will therefore take a long time to fit.

Can PVC Pipes Go Bad?

PVC piping is very durable and does not go bad because of the conditions.

This includes exposure to sunlight, wherein PVC isn’t affected by UV rays. This means you won’t have to worry about installing PVC pipes outside.

This means that it can be used outside your home as well as inside without the life of the pipe being jeopardized. 

PVC pipes are still used outside, however you may expect them to last a shorter amount of time if they are in direct sunlight.

In certain cities you will be able to see the PVC material on the outside of the house which is used as stormwater pipes.

This is often transporting the water from the roof to the drain on the ground.

What Happens To PVC Over Time?

How Long Do PVC Pipes Last?

The PVC pipes do deteriorate over time, becoming more brittle. You should not expect to have to replace these pipes more often than every 50 to 100 years, however.

Nothing much else affects the piping, such as a chemical breakdown, apart from age unless it has not been installed correctly.

When your pipes are coming up to this age, it is important to get them checked over to see if they need changing, and change them if necessary to avoid any water leaks or burst pipes.

What Happens When They Need Changing?

When it is time to start changing your PVC pipes you can get a plumber to come and remove the existing PVC pipes and replace them with new ones.

It is important that this is done before the pipes fail, rather than waiting until something has gone wrong as this will cause more disturbance over time.

PVC pipes will show signs that they need to be replaced. You can also work out when to change the pipes by determining the age of the pipes.

In a lot of situations, you may develop a leak and need to call out a plumber.

Often, the plumber will recommend that it is a good time to replace the plumbing so that you don’t develop any more leaks.

It is very tempting to just do the inexpensive leak repair and hope for the best, however sometimes it is important to ensure that you have replaced the pipes in time.

Is PVC Safe?

Lots of PVC pipes are used for drinking water purposes and most types of PVC are safe for drinking water from.

Check with the piping, but it is very likely that the pipes you are using are safe. These pipes are also safe because they are very unlikely to split or leak which can be unsafe.

They have a long life and so will not need too much care and maintenance during this time.

Final Thoughts 

PVC pipes should last at least 50 years. They are very durable pipes. Not only are they great in all these ways, they are also more economical, raising the question of whether PVC is recyclable.

While there are many different materials that can be used as water and sewer pipes, PVC pipes are a very popular choice.

While there are some problems with these pipes becoming split or broken, they are a very good choice of water pipe.


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