Plumbing can be a chore. While plumbers likely have ample knowledge and experience for the job, they can also be expensive. Sometimes, the best course of action is to do it yourself. Yet, with any do-it-yourself project, unless you have knowledge in the subject, you are likely to run into problems, such as: What is the difference between CPVC and PVC pipes, and what's the proper cement to use on each? Luckily, there are easy answers for these problems.
Can you use CPVC cement on PVC pipes?
The short answer to this question is "Yes." You can use CPVC cement on your PVC pipes. To explain, you need to understand the difference between PVC and CPVC. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, while CPVC stands for chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. CPVC, as its name suggests, undergoes an extra chlorination process before being put on the market. The chlorination makes the pipe stronger, harder and smoother, with fewer pores.
While both PVC and CPVC work just fine for cold-water plumbing, CPVC works better with hot-water plumbing, as PVC pipes will erode and fail over time if hot water is continuously forced through them. CPVC, on the other hand, because of its higher durability, has a higher temperature tolerance, and can hold water of temperatures up to 200 degrees F without breaking (copper is certainly better for hot water, but costs significantly more). As a comparison, PVC pipe can only handle temperatures of up to 140 degrees F.
Because of CPVC's higher strength, and the usually higher temperature of water flowing through it, the cement that is made for it (CPVC cement) must be a stronger, more durable adhesive. PVC cement is nothing to scoff at however, and holds PVC pipes together firmly, but it can't be used to hold CPVC pipes together, as the cement would melt or erode with the constant flow of hot water. CPVC cement, on the other hand, has no problem holding CPVC together, and since it has a more durable structure, it can hold PVC pipe together as well. So, if all you have to bond two PVC pipes and fittings together is CPVC cement, it will work, but PVC cement cannot be used to bond CPVC pipes and fittings.
Dustin Pitan lives in Orlando, Fla., where he recently graduated from Full Sail University, earning his second bachelor's degree. He holds one in English from St. Cloud University in Minnesota, and one in film making. Pitan has written/co-written and directed a number of short films, which have been successfully produced into short features. He has been published on the site Moviemaniacs.net.