5 Plastic Pipe Myths Debunked

There’s a lot of misinformation provided about plastic piping systems. In this article we explore 5 common mistakes people make about plastic pipe.

Myth 1: Plastic pipes aren’t very strong

A common myth about plastic piping is that it is weak. This is not true – quality plastic piping from reputable manufacturers is incredibly durable. In fact, plastic is such a durable material that plastic piping can often outlast copper systems.

The same is true for the joins between plastic pipes. There are a range of different ways to join plastic piping, from push-fit to shrink-fit and even solvent welding – if they are done properly, with well manufactured fittings, they can be just as strong and leakproof as soldered joins. An added bonus is that many of these fittings are much faster to complete than brazing, so you can get the job done quicker.

Person in white lab coat folding plastic pipe

Myth 2: Plastic pipes cannot be connected to copper systems

Another unfounded complaint you might here about plastic pipe is that it can’t integrate with copper systems. This is definitely not the case. There are a huge range of adaptors available that allow you to plumb in plastic pipe systems and copper systems together.

There are connectors that can be soldered onto copper pipe, allowing you to connect plastic systems to brazed copper piping. Similarly, there are threaded adaptors that allow plastic pipe to integrate seamlessly with compression fittings.

Myth 3: Plastic pipes have to be replaced every few years

Again, this is not true of any quality manufacturer’s plastic piping. Plastic is an incredibly durable substance, and plastic pipes are engineered to deal with the stresses and strains of plumbing, so there is no reason that plastic pipes cannot last as long, if not longer, than metal piping.

In fact, manufacturers like Uponor are so confident in the longevity of their plastic piping that they offer a 25 year warrantee.

Myth 4: Plastic pipe systems are expensive

Proper branded plastic piping can seem expensive. In particular, the price of connectors is often more than solder rings and copper fittings. This is because building these connectors need precision manufacturing.

Although these initial costs may be slightly higher, connectors can be fitted by hand, so there are no additional costs. It is worth balancing this with the fact that brazing requires lots of extras and consumables besides the fittings themselves – you need a brazing torch, solder, flux and acetone tanks.

Close up of plastic pipe and fittings

Myth 5: Plastic pipe can’t be used for hot water systems

This is a common mistake. There are a number of plastic pipe systems designed specifically to work with hot water systems. This myth stems from the fact that PVC piping cannot be used for hot water. However, modern brands of plastic piping use CPVC, a plastic treated so it can stand temperatures far higher than the water reaches.

In fact, all the brands of plastic pipe we stock at Wolseley offer ranges that can be used in circulating heating systems, including: JG Speedfit, Polypipe, Hep20, Uponor and Marley.