How Long Do Plastic Water Pipes Last? [FIND OUT]

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PVC pipes are designed to last approximately 50 years. However, factors such as exposure to U.V rays, constant pressure, and U.V rays could make that length shorter or longer.

Since it is one of the most-used plumbing materials, PVC pipes are made to be very durable and long-lasting. In fact, some homeowners have reported theirs going as far as serving the homes they bought for 100 years.

PVC pipe is a plastic pipe that will last for a long time – but will eventually start to break down and experience leaks in the water lines.

Of course, the brand and material too will determine how long particular PVC pipes will survive, including what it’s exposed to and how it is installed.

How Long Will PVC Pipe Last Underground?

PVC pipes are designed to last 50-100 years, which is amazing. After 50 years, some parts can be replaced and the pipes will still work as well as they did at the beginning.

Will it only be exposed to water underground or it will face more reactive substances in and on it? There are lots of oxidants that might weaken the PVC pipe itself at a faster than normal rate of natural decay.

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As for protecting the PVC pipes, It may help if you paint them, or somehow provide ideal temperature conditions protecting them from exposing it to natural weather conditions.

What’s the Life Expectancy of PVC Pipe?

Generally speaking, PVC life expectancy is 50-100 years, according to the Plastic Industry Pipe Association of Australia Ltd.

PEX and PVC are still quite new in the field of plumbing. For the past 100 years, most builders have used copper pipes for plumbing instead, and in my opinion, shiny copper pipes look the best.

But, PVC and PEX share a range of advantages with copper. Copper pipes cost more than PVC or PEX pipes. They are also more expensive to install.

The reason is that copper pipes are rigid. Therefore, they are challenging to maneuver. PEX, on the other hand, is bendy and therefore is much easier to work with.

Besides, some regions, cities, or states favor PEX over copper and PVC. But, the main drawback of PVC and PEX is that they do not last as long as copper pipes. They can fail in half the time that copper pipes on average.

Additionally, PVC can only be used for cold water plumbing. Therefore, a secondary type of piping such as PEX or copper is used for hot water plumbing. Interestingly, the cost of materials to install PEX and the decreased labor cost make it a far cheaper option than copper.

Does PVC Pipe Go Bad?

No, PVC pipes do not go bad, even if installed outside your home. So, it can be used for multiple indoor and outdoor purposes.

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PVC does not deteriorate in sunlight but PEX will deteriorate in sunlight. PEX is typically cheaper than PVC and is also used in plumbing systems.

Another advantage of PVC pipes is that they can be used on the outer part of the house and in the interior.

But, it’s important to note that PVC pipes cannot be used for hot water lines. In certain towns and cities, PVC piping is visible with its white color outside of houses where it’s used to transport water from the roof to the drain at ground level or a secondary water tank.

Does PVC Become Brittle with Age?

Yes, PVC does in fact get more brittle as it ages, over time.

But it does excellent outdoors, and the PVC industry has proven that the sun’s rays do not affect the strength of PVC. But, the life expectancy of PVC is 50-100 years on average.

So, you should not expect to repair or replace it before then. In rare cases, if the plumbers fail to correctly install the unit then it could prematurely fail.

For instance, PVC pipes require fastening to the wall in a certain manner.

That way, the movement of water won’t cause excess wear on the fasteners the PVC pipe is attached to as water flows through them.

When incorrectly installed, the fasteners can loosen, and the pipe can fall.

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How Long Do Plastic Water Pipes Last

ALSO SEE: Blue Corrosion On Copper Pipe

How Often Does PVC Need to Be Replaced?

As a whole, Most PVC pipes will last 50 years but will often be replaced every 25 years while performing other plumbing repairs.

Sometimes, PVC pipes will require replacement after 100 years. So, reach out to a plumber as soon as your unit fails.

The plumber will take out the existing PVC pipes and install new ones. PVC pipes are known to show warning signs that they require replacement. But, generally, it’s easiest to determine their age.

A lot of plumbers will tell you that a small leak in your plumbing is a good indication that you’d suffer more leaks and that’s why replacing plumbing is a good idea.

Initial leaks can be repaired for cheap. However, after repair, it is a good idea to monitor how it goes. If you are interested in getting a home with existing PVC pipes, you can roughly estimate how long they’ll last if you have information about when they were installed.

For example, If they were installed in 2001, then on average, they will last until 2051 but can last until the year 2101. Talk about futuristic!

A typical sign of leaks is lower water pressure, or you can visually inspect the plumbing for visible wet areas. For example, if you hear a leaking sound in the walls, it may also indicate that pipes need to be replaced.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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