Difference Between PVC and CPVC

When you shop for pipes or if you are working on plumbing or drainage, you will come across the terms PVC and CPVC. The acronyms sound similar and unless you know the difference between PVC and CPVC, you may choose either of the two randomly without much thought. PVC is polyvinyl chloride. CPVC is chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. PVC is a very popular material and used around the world primarily for pipes but for many other materials. CPVC is steadily growing in popularity and has become imperative for certain installations.

Difference Between PVC and CPVC

PVC has been known for its durability, strength, ease of installation and is certainly an affordable material. From fittings to pipes, valves to special fixtures for handling and supplying liquids, PVC is used for myriad purposes. CPVC, which is essentially the same thermoplastic polymer but is made to go through a radical chlorination process, is just as strong, durable and easy to install or mold as PVC. The most important difference between PVC and CPVC is the latter’s ability to endure a broader range of temperatures. Many building codes in cities around the world now require CPVC pipes if hot water is to be supplied or if there are applications requiring hot water supply.

PVC is safe to use if the temperatures don’t exceed a hundred and forty degrees in Fahrenheit. CPVC can handle temperatures far exceeding that so it is safer and of course more durable at higher temperatures. PVC will melt at temperatures higher than a hundred and forty while CPVC can easily endure temperatures up to two hundred degrees.

There can be more difference between PVC and CPVC depending on the manufacturer and local industrial regulations. For instance, the PVC pipes sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico usually have nominal pip size. CPVC can have the nominal pipe size of have copper tube size. The copper tube sizing is applicable for copper tubes and not for those made from thermoplastic polymer.

While PVC pipes don’t come in copper tube sizes, CPVC will have a yellowish color if it uses the copper tube sizing system and it would have grayish color if it uses the nominal pipe sizing system. PVC is generally dark gray or white. However, you should check the manufacturer and how it labels or colors its pipes before purchasing.

Whether you need PVC or CPVC will depend entirely on what you would be using them for.

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