So, it’s time to replace one or more pipes in your home. If you haven’t done a plumbing project before, you may not know much about the difference between types of pipe. Although many pipes are plastic, not all plastic pipes are the same. Two of the most common types of plastic piping are ABS and PVC. Depending on the project, one type may be better than the other. Take a look below for some tips on which is the best to use.
Before you read any further, it is a good idea to check your local building codes. Some areas have regulations to use certain types of pipe, and in that case the decision is already made! The two most common types of plastic pipe, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), have small differences depending on the use, but the main difference is that ABS pipe contains BPA while PVC does not. Bisphenol A is a chemical used in many types of plastic, and although there are conflicts about its level of harm towards humans or animals, some prefer to stay away. The Food and Drug Administration currently has recommendations that the current levels of BPA in food are safe.
There are a few other differences between ABS and PVC piping. ABS is always black while PVC is white- and easy way to see the difference quickly. PVC piping offers more flexibility, but ABS is a stronger piping and can resist a higher shock. For underground, ABS is great as it can handle extreme cold and can warp if it is in direct sunlight. For inside your home, PVC may be better as it can be soundproof and muffles the sound of water. Price wise, the two types are often similar.
Another difference occurs in the installation process. ABS piping are connected through special cement, a one step process, while PVC piping must be primed before cemented together, a two step process. Since the primer can be messy and takes time to dry, this can add more time to your project. Due to this, ABS can sometimes be more cost effective as it does reduce labour costs.