Fitting Plastic Pipe
To safeguard against health hazards, most areas of the country require your plumbing project to comply with local regulations; however small the job.
Codes vary and certain areas may not allow plastic pipe to be used. Check with your local building authority to find out about codes, permits and inspections.
WARNING: DOING WORK WITHOUT A PERMIT IS NOT ONLY ILLEGAL, BUT MAY ALSO INVALIDATE YOUR HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE.
Rigid plastic PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) are the most popular types of plastic plumbing pipe.
PVC is usually white or cream colored and ABS is black. Both are typically used only for vents and drains and aren't made to fit directly together.
CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is another rigid plastic used for hot and cold water supply lines because it can handle normal water pressure loads.
Compared to copper lines, CPVC is lightweight, easy to work with, doesn't corrode and may be priced about 3/4ths less.
Cut plastic pipe to length with a hacksaw, or abrasive disk of a miter saw/chop saw. After each cut, clean out the small burrs/shavings that remain inside the pipe with a knife, rag or emery cloth.
Dry fit the entire run of pipe you're installing before gluing pipe and fittings together.
Check small pipes and fittings for plumb/level with a torpedo level. Also, double check the drain flow; about 1/4" per 1' as a general guide.
A fitting that's glued crooked can sometimes throw off the whole run and/or won't fit properly with the next piece. Discover these problems during the dry fit rather than after the pipe is glued.
Plastic pipe joints are connected with glue that actually melts the pieces together. The joints for both PVC and ABS are glued the same way, but the types aren't interchangeable and only a special fitting can connect them together.
To glue ABS pipe, check that any cut ends are fairly straight. Remove any burrs with a knife or emery cloth and clean both pieces with a rag. Apply ABS glue to both the pipe and fitting.
Push the joints together with a twisting motion to spread the glue. Hold the joints together for a few seconds so they won't push apart while the fast-drying glue sets.
Gluing PVC pipe is a similar process, but a cleaning chemical (primer) that prepares the plastic goes on before the glue. CPVC pipe also has its own type of glue so be sure to purchase the glue that matches the plastic you're working with.
Once the joint is primed, apply the glue, push and twist the pipe or fitting and hold them in place for a few seconds.