PVC Piping – UPC Ratings – CPVC for New Houses

PVC - Lessons on cleaning and installing

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Abstract

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. PVC comes in a “schedule” rating and denotes the wall thickness of the pipe. Schedule 20 has the thinnest wall thickness and schedule 120 has the thickest. Sewer pipes, drainage pipes and others that do not require pressure as in pounds-per-square-inch (psi) usually use schedule 20.

CPVC stands for chlorinated polyvinyl chloride which is PVC with chlorine added to the process. This piping is used for inside the walls of a cabin or house, denoting the expansion and crush resistance not common in PVC.

A cleaning solution and glue is very important to connections with each of these products. DO NOT use PVC glue on CPVC or vise-versa. There is a glue (red label) that denotes that it works on PVC and CPVC connections but does not have the UPC approval symbol displayed on the can.

If an inspector for water lines sees that you didn’t use PVC purple cleaner to verify cleaning or finds out that you did not use the UPC approved cleaner or glue, guess what, you get to rip it all out and start over. The can will have the approved UPC shield viewable on the product.

Introduction

Learn more with the following links to Wikipedia:

    A draftsman designing pipes would draw the diagram of how the object would look according to specifications for a specific application. Then would provide a “schedule” or a list of specifications relating to the size, shape, tolerances, type of material, color, etc.



PVC vs CPVC:


Stage-1 Cabin, Frozen Pipes and Zero Pressure:

     One of the cabins I worked on, consisted of piping that was next to an outside access door that was

not sealed with insulation around the door frame or door itself. From the bottom of the bladder pressure tank up about 3 feet high (yard stick) was solid ice in the PVC pipes. The problem with this is that the pressure switch for the well pump was at the bottom also filled with solid ice. The pressure guage read zero-psi which indicated to the well pump to keep pumping. The electrical control box, thanks to the smart engineers that designed it, consisted of a overload breaker that tripped when the well pressure on the pump exceeded its limit, a electrical breaker on the control box would trip or turn the power off. A electrician changed out the control box $185+ labor before I was able to arrive. The owner of the cabin spent useless money for the electrician because they were unable to find the problem.

 
This is an example of when you need to protect your pipes with Heat Tape and insulation from the wind. The solution was to add Heat tape and insulation to the piping to prevent this from reoccuring. The heat tape is designed to turn on at 37-degrees F and off at 50-degrees F. There is a link in the references section if you wish to have more information on heat tape. The owner decided to only wrap the pipes with insulation, so the pipes were insulated with R-13 pink insulation from your local hardware store. The insualtion was wrapped 360-degrees around the 1″ pipe, along with air vents under the cabin were stuffed with insulation and the door and door frame were sealed to prevent cold air from causing the “wind chill” affect.



Things You Should Know:


  • Teflon Grease:

    Teflon Grease is available at home improvements centers, but I like Super Lube TFTP Teflon – in working 16 years as an outboard engine mechanic and rebuilding engines, this type of TFTP teflon is great stuff for lubrication at high temperatures, but that is just me.

     

  • See reference below for more information on the TFTP teflon.
    • If you cannot find this type of grease, just use another Teflon grease or some bearing grease. The grease is not to be used for sealing PVC threads. The Teflon tape is used for this type of connection and the clear section of the filter-system as shown below will be the only thing that the grease will be used for. This grease will be used for the threads and the o-ring seal on the clear section of the WHKF-DWHV. The reason is to prevent the clear portion of the filter system from sticking to the white portion. It is known that forcing the clear section will cause it to break as with other filter units as well.

    • Hand Tighten:

      Only hand-tighten this item when putting it on, and do not use the light blue tool to tighten the clear plastic filter holder. The tool is only to loosen the clear filter holder with a rubber mallet by helping to unscrewing it.

      Otherwise it will become too tight and stick causing you to break something to get it off again. Be sure to turn the water control valve on top of the WHKF-DWHV to the (by-pass or off) position before unscrewing the clear section holding the filter.

    • Brass Shut-Off Valve:

      Or the shut-off valves before and after the filter-systems will also be adequate. I use the brass shut-off ball valves and the ell-90-degree somewhere in the system to relieve the pressure through the boiler faucet. I purchased a short 10′ garden hose to run the excess water out from underneath the cabin. You can just put teflon tape on the boiler valve to seal the threads.

  • PVC Pipe:

    1” PVC – sch-40 (schedule-40 denotes the thickness from the center to the outside wall of the PVC pipe [white in color]) Just a single 10-foot stick was enough for my work. PVC also comes in sch-20 and sch-80. 80 is thicker, 20 is thinner.

  • Pressure Regulator:

    The following parts below come in thread and slip.
      • Note: When using 1” PVC the water flow is not reduced as with ¾” or ½” pipe. The smaller you get for piping the reduction is cut approximately ~50% from 1” to ¾” and 50% again

        from ¾” to ½”. Most all of the well pumps use 1″ to 1-1/4″ piping for all of the connections. City water is much higher in pressure depending on your elevation in relation to the water tower and distance. Some pressures reach 125-psi for some locations then require that the house have a pressure-regulator shutting it down to 75-psi. The picture shows the shut-off valve below from the city water and the pressure regulator above before entering into the house. The screw on the end of the nose is to adjust the pressure. I would not exceed 75-psi. Most problems with houses including this picture is that the house piping is 1/2″ instead of 3/4″ to 1″. Biggest complaint is that the soap will not wash out of my hair. Yes, they are married, could you tell, sorry, not my house with copper piping.

    • Threads Mipt vs Fipt:

      Thread is the basic understanding when you join the items by screwing the male (mipt-threads on the outside) into the female (fipt-threads on the inside). There is a bad joke here somewhere.

       

    • Using Teflon Tape:

    • We use the white Teflon tape on the male side by wrapping it 3 times. You do this by pointing

      the threads to the right and circle the threads away from you or if the threads are facing you goclock-wise. Be sure when you are wrapping the teflon tape around the item that it is very tight. The rule of making sure it is tight is by ending the final turn and pulling the teflon tape to break it. If the tape spins off, start over and use a little more aggression.

    • Slip:

      Slip is where 2 items slip together, one inside the other. Be careful with this when putting items together. Sometimes when they are joined and pressure is not applied to hold them together they tend to move apart. Just hold them for 20 seconds depending on the temperature. If you are able to lightly twist the 2 items, then the glue has not set yet, continue with light force until it is hard or not able to twist. This twisting technique is helpful when alignment of pipes is necessary. Air temperature is a major factor on how fast this glue sets, if it is a hot day, you only have a matter of seconds to align the parts before you are not able to move them any more. Always use the (purple can) cleaner where the items will slip together.

           The image is of sewer pipes that have the purple cleaner showing at all of the slip joints. Even though the sewer pipes will not hold pressure from water, this is an example of, no matter how large the PVC object becomes or weather or not the PVC has pressure, you need to perform every slip joint the same.

      Use Purple Cleaner:

      Some plumbers do not use the purple cleaner on new material or old which could cause future water leaks, I recommend using the purple for visual verification and performing the job correctly. There is a clear cleaner besides the purple, but why take the chance. Water or dirt must NOT be present when cleaning with the purple cleaner or applying the cement to the 2 slip pieces being put together. Trust me, if you think that you have to much cement on both items being put together, and it drips as you put them together, you barely have enough. When you make the mistake and put to little and the 60-psi blows the connection apart while you are next to it. Trust me again, it is not fun in cold weather. The (purple can) comes with a built in applicator, scrub both parts, visual application would be a test subject on the pipe would be when

      you see the writing on the outside of the PVC white pipe finally dissolves and disappears (very good). Look inside a slip to understand how much of the pipe needs to go inside the slip joint. This is a good indication of how much to clean using the purple can or to cut when sizing a section to join. I would you have the pipe to long than to short. If you work the PVC in the winter time, leave some excess on the joint, and touch the excess from time to time, this allows you to indicate weather the cement has had time to cure. Do not get this (purple or green can) PVC product on anything that is of value to you. A pair of rubber gloves and a plastic garbage bag are what is needed. The purple can cleaner and the green can cement will come off of your skin over time, but your carpet, clothes, and anything else is another matter. A detailed example and web link is noted in the reference section on how to join PVC.

      Parts:

  • 3/4″ mipt – 1″ slip:

    ¾” male thread to 1” slip (2 for each of the WHKF-DWHV)

  • Parts come w/ Kit:

    The 2 male thread items that come with the kit are not needed unless you are attaching to a ¾” pipe. I do not recommend this application piece, a compression fitting for brass piping or cement for PVC is desired.

  • 1” 90-Elbow:

    slip-slip – 90-degree-elbow, they come in packs of 5.

  • 1” mipt – slip:

    male thread to 1” slip they come in packs of 5 also.

  • 1” Tee slip-fipt-slip:

    Tee’s come in packs of 5 also. [fipt] is the female threads in the center. This Tee item is also available in slip-slip-slip.

  • 1” Coupler slip-slip:

    Coupler’s come in packs of 5 also. This is to join 2 pipes together or using 2 couplers that could extend a pipe.

  • 1/2″ brass boiler faucet:

    Used to release water pressure when the ball-valves are turned off. Use teflon tape to screw into PVC ell pipe or pipe dope if you are attaching it to another brass object.
  • 1″ 90-outside slip-1/2″ ell-slip:

  • 1” PVC shut-off valve:

    (fipt-fipt) – female threads on both sides. A cheaper solution than the copper ball valve.


  • 1” copper ball valve:

    The more expensive item if you like. Copper to PVC thread connections have no problems as long as you use the teflon tape.

  • 1” union quick disconnect:

    (fipt-fipt) – female threads on both sides. This is where you will need

    both of the channel lock plier to attach the mipt to the fipt. These unions go on either side of the WHKF-DWHV items. These also are life-savers if mistakes are made, by cutting the pipe and removing the mistake from your project. This way the unions can be re-used. Be careful not to miss-match unions, some have different variations from different home improvement stores. The unions also come in slip-slip and once cement is applied, and you make a mistake, you cut it out and throw it

    away. 

    Test the Union:

    Test how the union comes apart to understand them. Number both sides with the same number or symbol; a perm-marker does the trick. Make sure the o-ring seal is not nicked or broken and a light application of grease would not hurt here on the o-ring and the threads. Hand tighten with gloves (a super store sells these in the mens clothes section) should be enough to prevent the union from leaking. If it does leak, make sure the alignment is straight, dirt is not in the threads or the union is not cross threaded. A light movement turn with the channel lock pliers on the union screw can help secure a leak if your hand strength is weak.

    Unions used to prevent reversing:

    If you purchase a fipt union and a slip union you can arrange the unions in a specific order. Unscrewing the unions produces 4 pieces. fipt with seal, fipt without seal, slip with seal, slip without seal. By rearranging them to an item that consists of mipt on either side like in the image below. You end up with slip seal / fipt no seal / mipt – mipt / fipt seal / slip no seal and when you apply these connections, removal and assembly of the unions will always provide you with the correct attachment. Unless you add a new item and assemble it on backwards. Note: the Micronizer below is the key to turning iron in the mineral enriched water to iron oxide. Another KNOL under my name describes it in greater detail.

        
    

 
 
  • Straight Alignment of Union’s:

    Straight alignment with this item is a must. The great thing about this union is that the 2 halves swivel when the item is not tight. This helps in removal and adjustments of items between each of the unions. If there was ever was a leak at one of the mipt threads, on the outside of the union, then it is easy to unlock the union and use the channel lock pliers to provide extra tightening, one plier in the opposite direction from the other to tighten the joint. RULE: Clockwise to tighten. Always join these parts in the beginning of the project first with teflon tape, then join the mipt-slips on either side before 90-degree’s, tee’s, or couplers are added on to the construction of the project. If 90-degree’s are put together and they do not align correctly, the unions will help with the handy alignment just by loosening them.
  • 1″ Straps:

    1” pipe mounts or straps are needed to mount the filter-systems to a wall or wood frame like under

    a house or in the pump house. The straps also come in PVC strapping if you are worried about vibration or a metal strap cutting the PVC pipe. I mounted the filters sideways in an “N” pattern. You can see by the example in the Advanced section below. This image shows a 1/2 size strap, you will need to buy the 1-inch.


Elbow Support and Silver Insulation:

Just use 90-degree elbows before and after either side of the filter-system. The elbows support the weight on silver wrapping insulation around the PVC pipes that I used for padding. I have found that the tape to hold on to these items is annoying when you have the tape break or when it does not hold over time like some forms of duct tape, but the Shurtape is expensive for the price, but well worth the cost over the frustration. This tape also works on insulation with paper backing.


Shurtape DC-181:

  • Shurtape makes a role of tape (DC-181) with black markings on silver (this would be the one in the foregound) at any home improvement store.

Tools

  • PVC Cutting Tool:

    PVC pipe cutting tool (I purchased mine from a home improvement store). This tool is easy to use
but takes a little time to master. Be sure to trim any rough edges on the outside of the PVC pipe end after using the tool. My tool is for 1″ PVC pipe, I wish that it was just a little bit bigger, like the 1-1/4″ cutter or larger. The outside edge of the pipe end needs to be trimmed with a pocket knife, if needed, by scraping any burrs that could prevent the slip items from joining easily.


  • PVC Saw:
                                    The second tool of choice to cut the PVC pipe is a PVC saw and it is hard to cut with 

this tool. The reason is, you need a location to hold the pipe. Most of the time the cut is crooked, when under a house crawl space and you are limited to movement. With this form of cutting the PVC pipe needs cleaning on the inside and outside ends of the PVC pipe. Scraping with a pocket knife seems to be the standard act for cleaning the edges. For my experience, I just use the pipe-cutting tool and sharpen the blade from time to time with a hand held knife stone.


  • PVC Cleaning Solution:

    [small Purple can]. UPC-Uniform Plumbing Code approved only. The can is moved off center to show the UPC label on the left.
  • Heavy Duty Cement:

    Heavy Duty or Regular PVC cement (Small Green or Gold can). UPC-Uniform Plumbing Code approved only. The can is moved off center to show the UPC label on the left.
    Heavy duty

PVC vs CPVC:

     Note: CPVC is a different type of plastic from PVC (do not mix the cements, nor use the CPVC on PVC or vise-versa). CPVC is used for hot water piping in the plumbing for houses. Mainly the size of the pipe is ¾”, most everyone uses it after the bladder pressure tank for cold and hot water so there are no mistakes. For this project, it will be after the filter-system. The CPVC pipe replaces the high cost of copper pipes.
  • Channel Lock Pliers:

    • [2 of them] – Channel lock pliers (large enough to use on 2-1/2” pipe’s).
    • The 12” channel lock pliers are for 2-1/2” pipe max. I use these pliers.
    • The 10” channel lock pliers are for 2” pipe max.
      Channel-lock
  • Rubber Mallet:

    A rubber mallet
  • White Teflon Tape:

    A roll of white teflon thread tape (blue round holder with white snap cover)


    Putting The Major Pieces Together:
    Remember to use the white teflon tape for these connections.
        [Item CV] If you are installing the check valve like for a well system. You can blow on either end with your

    mouth to see how the item works. The side you can blow air through is the side that faces the well pump or what is called the incoming water, this side usually gets a galvanized male hose adapter [hose-mipt] if the line is a hard black water line instead of PVC. The other side receives a PVC 1-inch to 1-inch adapter [mipt-slip] leading to your cabin or house, remember even those metal on metal items get the white teflon tape, with 7+ spins.

        [Item Union] Each Union will have (2) 1-inch to 1-inch adapter [mipt-slip] – one adapter on each side. if the union is gray, then this denotes that it is a schedule-80 item and not the schedule-40 item shown in the picture below.

        [Item FS] Each filter-system will have (2) 3/4-inch to 1-inch adapter [mipt-slip] – one adapter on each side
    .



        [Item BV] Each ball valve will have (2) 1-inch to 1-inch adapter [mipt-slip] – one adapter on each side.



        [Item Ell] The 90-Ell needs to have the 1/2-inch boiler valve attached. A product exists that is a teflon paste instead of the teflon thread. The teflon paste is used for metal to PVC

        [Item Tee] The Tee needs to have a 1-inch to 1-inch adapter [mipt-slip] attached to the center.





    Hanging The Brackets:

        Normally the filter-systems will go under a house, a cabin, or in a basement. In basements, most of the time, framing is

    exposed allowing room for the filter-systems. What is the best option for hanging the filter-systems? You should decide that for yourselves, by concentrating on the least amount of pipe. The longer the pipe, the more it will twist and flex. The smaller the pipe as in the 3/4-inch and even worse the 1/2-inch pipe, is the reason I like the 1-inch schedule-40 pipe and fittings. If the pipe is 1-inch and the length is greater than >2-feet between brackets, it will be difficult to remove the clear filter containers with the rubber mallet because of flexing. Diagrams are shown above and below showing the different items to use. 

        Mounting this item to a wall could result in imagination that will work as long as the filter-system does not have direct contact with anything that would rub PVC, like metal or concrete. An example would be shelving

    brackets or as the image shows a white clothes closet rod holder covered in plastic. If metal brackets are used, be sure to add some sort of padding (like the firm black foam insulation for pipes). Tie 

    with tie-wraps to secure the foam insulation to the metal brackets and also tie-wraps to secure the piping so as not to move. This item should be able to support a 50-lb weight. As an example: 2 – 2×4’s running horizonal could be secured to the wall, one board for the top and the other for the bottom of the bracket. Another example, mounting small blocks of 2×4 pieces 4-inches long mounted to the wall, to provides enough clearance for the filter-system.


    Find the Electrical:

        Well, now that we have the hardest part over with, it is time to think about what happens when we shut off the water to the cabin or house. If the water supply is coming from another cabin like a shared well agreement, find the shut-off valve, ball valve, utilities valve allowing you to shut the water supply off to the cabin or house. I have seen 3 cabins sharing the same well, and with so many problems in agreements, newly built construction requires no more shared wells. There should be a check valve coming from the well, and another valve shutting off water flow to the pressure tank(s), plus a valve shutting off the water lines leading into the cabin. Some nicer setups also have shut off valves to and from the hot water heater water lines, which prevents water draining out of the hot water heater creating the heating elements to burn up and go bad.

        If you are in a cabin or house that has a well pump; be sure to turn off the breaker to the well pump. There should be a pressure switch like the one in the image to the left, that controls the well pump motor attached to the (pressure regulator) inside the gray box. For information: this image shows the round pressure guage on the right, and the water release with the blue handle. Most well pumps have an electrical pull box disconnect, or a 240vAC switch inside the electrical box to disable the power to the well pump. Another type of well pump motor has a 120vAC pressure switch allowing you to disconnect the circuit to a relay control box that supplies power to the well pump. These items are usually installed for maintenance purposes next to the pressure regulator.

    If the electrical does not have any of this, then find the 240vAC breaker inside an electrical panel to turn the power off to the well pump. The electrical panel image to the right is only an example of what a double pole vs. a single pole looks like. The single pole (4 breakers on bottom) are 120vAC each and the double pole (4 breakers on top) are 240vAC each. 120 + 120 = 240, when adding two 120’s together you have electricity for your electric stove, electric water heater, hot tub, jaccuzzi, Air conditioning unit, or a well pump. If you are on city water then all of this looking for the well pump power would not apply and you would just turn off the water valve as shown in the picture below with the black handle.

     


    Copper Piping

    Fixing the cabin’s 20+ year old copper piping is sometimes a pain. The picture shown

    is a result what can happen when working around copper pipes and components. The “Finished Product” picture right shows a new PVC handle shut-off in the image and also the picture to the left shows the section that was removed. The stem that the internal shut-off slide is attached to  broke apart and fell downward shutting the water supply off to the 2nd cabin. I spent $12.17 buying the parts to fix the problem and about 2 hours of my time, most of which was traveling to the home improvement store to acquire the parts. The picture on the left shows a bottle of “The Works”. I used this chemical to remove bacteria inside the hard black piping leading to the 2nd cabin. You would have been amazed of what came out of the pipes, by seeing the black junk (iron oxide) coming through the faucets. I ran the hot water faucet first to clean bacteria inside the hot water heater. We ran the water for 15 minutes on the cold side, before clean water came out of the faucet. Another 30 minutes on the hot side, to clean out the hot water tank and water lines throughout the cabin. They now have clean water to drink and shower with, without smelling like a rotten egg or having bacteria in the water.


    Putting it all together


    1st – lay out all of the pieces in an area that will show you the finished product.
    2nd – join all of the mipt’s to the fipt’s and make sure they have white teflon tape on the mipt’s and assemble them making sure they are all tight.
    3rd – cut all of the PVC pipe into the correct lengths, remembering to include the distance inside the female slip’s.
    4th – use the purple primer on all of the female slip’s and male piping. Let them dry for a couple of minutes.
    5th – add extra unions between the sections; if you need to have the whole assembly twist and turn to fit properly.
    6th – at this point only cement the pipes that will have brackets attached to them and mount both the filter-systems. Leaving the filter and clear filter holder off at this point. It will reduce the weight. Be sure you are able to turn the top portion of the filter-system to change it from (filtering – to – off – to – by-pass).
    7th – join with cement the 2 filters-sytems together. Unions and/or 90-degrees could be involved with this assembly.
    8th – join the one-way valve if on a well system and a shut-off valve, be sure to tee off the bladder pressure tanks before the first filter-system used for catching sediment.
    Unions and/or 90-degrees could be involved with this assembly.
    9th – join the segment leading after the filter-system used to remove bacteria (0.5-microns) leading to the cabin or house with unions, an ell with boiler valve, and another shut-off if needed. You could use the “off” position on one of the filter-systems instead of a shut-off valve if you wish.
    10th – add the filters, grease and clear filter containers to the filter-systems, be sure to only hand tighten and not use the light blue wrench.
    11th – check all connections and make sure they are secure.
    12th – set all of the filter-systems to the “filtering” position and turn the water pressure back on, making sure all valves are open before supplying power to a well pump. If something leaks, shut the water pressure off and replace, tighten or fix the problem.


    Resources

    Heavy Metal abstract: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/4696/
    Home Improvement Centers like Lowe’s and Home Depot stock these items.
    Joining PVC example, the example uses the Gold Can and is UPC approved: http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/plumbing/technique/pvc/gluing/joining_pipe.htm
    Images from Lowes:
    Shurtape DC-181:
    Expensive Water Filter tanks – whole house tank systems (sediment and filter): http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com/whole_house_filter_comparison.php?d=gp
    Electric Heat tape
    very good resource for different types of heat tape:
    30 feet of heat tape. – http://www.doityourself.com/invt/0899724
    Other links for heat tape.
    and
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