Can You Use PVC in Underground Plumbing?

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride pipe, is the most commonly used pipe in residential projects. You may know PVC as the white piping that comes with a variety of fittings and sizes, which makes it great for plumbing and other home projects. One question that comes up often about this popular white piping is: "Can you use PVC in underground plumbing?" And the good news is you can. However, the installation must follow all codes and regulations for your residential area.

white plastic sewerage water pipes
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Can You Use PVC in Underground Plumbing?

What Are the Primary Uses of PVC in Residential Projects?

There are several residential projects where contractors and DIY homeowners can use PVC pipe. Most PVC pipe connects together using PVC fittings, which you can glue into place. You often use PVC pipe when installing a service line. A service line is the pipe that connects a home to the water main, and it is the responsibility of the homeowner to install.

The Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) system is another residential project where you can use PVC pipe. This type of system carries waste and water out of the house, regulates air in the pipes and removes dangerous gases from the home. The wastewater goes to a city sewer line or your private septic system. Even though you do not see this system at work, you do see the parts in your bathroom, under the kitchen sink and in the basement.

Probably the most common reason homeowners use PVC pipe underground is for irrigation or sprinkler systems. This type of piping is inexpensive and easy to work with, which lends itself nicely to both homeowners and professionals when installing sprinkler or irrigation systems.

What Are the Pros of Using PVC in Underground Plumbing?

The most popular reason for using PVC pipe in underground plumbing is that it is flexible, lightweight and easy to handle. This makes it easy to work with. PVC pipe is also durable and cost-effective, which helps keep the maintenance costs low. And since PVC piping comes with a lot of fittings, it lends itself to being a great multi-use product.

Unlike some other pipes, PVC does not rust, scale, pit or corrode. It is good for most warm and cold water applications. Plus, PVC works well for high water pressure. If you are concerned about contamination, PVC is good. It keeps your water safe, and PVC is not a source of lead.

What Are the Cons of Using PVC in Underground Plumbing?

While the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to using PVC pipe in underground plumbing, there are a few cons to be aware of. First, PVC will warp when exposed to hot water. Since PVC is only considered safe for residential water application below 140 degrees Fahrenheit, you will have to use a different pipe such as CPVC, if you are working with warmer temperatures. PVC is also susceptible to physical damage if exposed above ground. And finally, PVC becomes brittle when exposed to ultraviolet light.