In the current market, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe is a common choice.
Over 55 years have passed since the invention of CPVC, and many of the original installations are still operational and error-free.
To understand more about how CPVC compares to its counterpart, check out our detailed explanation on the differences between PVC and CPVC.
One of the reasons CPVC pipe is so popular is that it has a lifetime of up to 80 years.
However, many have reported problems with cracked or splintered pipe when using ratchet cutters or scissors-style cutters to cut through older CPVC pipe.
It is thought that this is due to the pipe being old, but it is actually due to them using the wrong tool as it is no longer compatible with the structure of the CPVC.
How CPVC Changes As It Ages
Residential CPVC pipes are typically tan in color and flexible, but as they get older, they may start to turn brown and become harder.
Although the increased stiffness increases the capacity to withstand pressure, it might be challenging to cut through old pipes with conventional plastic pipe cutters.
This indicates that it needs particular care and a unique cutting instrument.
Older CPVC may end up cracked or damaged if you utilize ratchet or scissor style cutters, which can prolong a task.
How To Cut CPVC Pipe
To cut old CPVC pipe properly, there are a range of cutting tools that you can use. These are some recommendations that you should consider.
After cutting, you may leave plastic burrs along the edges of your surface.
Filings or burrs might obstruct the correct connection of the pipe and fitting during assembly. The joint becomes weaker as a result, and water flow may be affected.
Burrs and filings should be taken out of the piping outside and inside for this reason. The best option is sand paper, although a pocket knife or file would do.
In order to facilitate the pipe’s entry into the fitting socket and reduce the likelihood that solvent cement will be forced to the joint’s bottom, add a tiny bevel to the pipe’s end.
Using Ratchet Cutters
Ratchet cutters are similarly quick and simple, although caution is advised.
The pipe may be too brittle and shatter under the strain of the ratchet cutter if it is cold or if the temperature is 50 degrees or below.
Ratchet cutters are only used by skilled plumbers in the summer when the weather is warm and the pipe is more pliable.
When it’s chilly outside, it’s a good idea to hold the pipe firmly before cutting at the intended location.
Hold it for a minute to slightly warm the pipe. Check the blade before cutting since ratchet cutters with dull or broken blades can also shatter CPVC pipe.
Using Tube Cutters
Plumbers like using a circular tube cutter with a plastic-cutting blade for this process.
With the exception of the CPVC-specific blade, these cutters are almost identical to metal tubing cutters.
As you move the cutter along the pipe, the cutting blade is gradually tightened. Each time it cuts through the pipe, the tool scores it a bit more deeply.
You will have a squared edge that is clean and free of burrs as a result. The CPVC pipe may be cut in this manner the fastest and cleanest.
The quickest, easiest way to cut PVC pipe neatly is specifically to use a PVC pipe cutter, which resembles a pair of pliers with a large, extremely sharp blade attached to one side.
Squeeze the handles of the tool together to force the blade through the PVC after setting the pipe on a solid surface, such as sawhorses or a workbench, aligning it with the cut mark, and holding the tool square.
A saw with fine teeth has been the main cutting instrument for CPVC for many years.
Cutting CPVC pipe swiftly and precisely requires a fine-toothed blade such as a saber saw, hacksaw, or reciprocating saw.
However, a fine toothed saw can leave behind sharp edges and plastic burrs that might make it difficult to assemble and glue pipes and connections.
Touching up the cut ends with sandpaper or a fine file is an easy way to fix this.
Eliminating burrs and sharp edges by sanding down the cut edge lightly at an angle to produce a little bevel where it has been cut makes it easier for the pipe to slide within joints for glueing.
A good miter saw can correctly cut PVC pipe. Because miter saws lock into place at certain angles, one of which is 90 degrees, the cuts are almost certainly going to be square.
Line up the blade with the desired cut mark, raise the saw and start the blade, then gently drop the blade into the PVC pipe until it completely cuts through.
Position the pipe against the miter saw’s fence to make the cut mark easy to see.
Allow the blade to stop, then turn the pipe so that the remaining material may be cut with a second drop of the blade if the miter saw is not able to cut all the way through in the first pass.
It is dangerous and seldom precise to turn the pipe while the blade is operating. That being said, fine toothed saw blades or even a miter box are often the top pick for cutting CPVC.
Repairing Old CPVC Pipe
There may probably be water in the pipe if a repair is required, but it’s crucial to make the system as dry as possible.
For similar repair techniques but specifically for PVC pipes, particularly those underground, you might find our guide on how to repair PVC pipe in the ground helpful.
Cut the pipe using the proper tool after it is as dry as it can be, then double-check that the junction is dry before applying the solvent cement.
Service contractors using CPVC frequently worry about proper installation as the junction will take longer to cure than would be necessary for a new system.
When cutting old CPVC pipe, you may need to ditch the plastic pipe cutters as it is likely that they will not be strong enough to cut through the pipe without causing cracks and splinters.
As mentioned before, this is due to the CPVC becoming more rigid as it ages.
Luckily, there are a lot of other tools that you can use that will get the job done in a quicker, cleaner way.
You must also remember to deburr the CPVC pipe beforehand if you are planning on joining it onto another old pipe.