Every plumbing system is different, but they all serve the same basic purpose. Homes, businesses, and facilities of all types and sizes depend on quality pipes to bring them water and take waste material to the appropriate areas.

But there are different types of pipes out there. This means that when it comes time to replace or upgrade a plumbing system, the owner has some options to choose from.

What are these options?

The main choice comes down to ABS vs PVC.

ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene while PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride.

The debate of PVC vs ABS has gone on for years in the plumbing industry.

Homeowners, plumbers, building managers, and home improvement experts have all given their opinions on these matters, and the continued prominence of both types shows they each offer distinct advantages over the other.

A person will depend on their plumbing system for years of reliable use.

Even the smallest problem with a plumbing system can result in catastrophic problems. Therefore, people should strive to make the right choice the first time.

What is ABS Pipe? What Are Its Benefits and Drawbacks?

ABS pipe remains one of the most popular options out there for plumbing systems.

Its CAS (Chemical Abstract Substance) number is 9003-56-9, and it is used in everything from pipes to musical instruments to canoes to home appliances and more.

One of the biggest perks of ABS pipes is their strength.

ABS density and durability have proven to be very valuable, especially in situations where lesser pipes would falter. One example of this is in low temperatures, where pipes are susceptible to freezing.

What is ABS material?

The acrylonitrile is rugged and strong – it is used for safely removing waste material and for insulating electrical wiring. The pipes are easier to install than their alternatives, thus making them a leading choice when timeliness matters in a project.

ABS pipes also have their disadvantages. They’re more likely to warp and deform in very warm temperatures. This leads for some areas to require ABS piping to be modified so it can hold up more reliably.

What is PVC Pipe? What Are Its Pros and Cons?

PVC pipe is another one of the world’s leading options for pipes and insulation.

Its CAS number is 9002-86-2, and PVC pipe is used in a wide variety of applications ranging from sewage removal and insulation to clothing and toys.

One of the biggest benefits of PVC pipe is that it is flexible.

This makes it a lot more useful in situations where unique and tricky configurations of pipe or coverings must be created. It can be a little easier to use PVC pipe in tight quarters and places where space is limited.

PVC pipe gets its flexible nature thanks to the addition of plasticizers. While they need primer before joints can be fitted together, PVC piping is just as durable and reliable as ABS once this primer takes hold properly.

However, many worry about its chemical materials leaking out into the environment. There is some legitimacy to these concerns, as wires coated with PVC can form hydrochloric acid fumes in the instance of fire. This is a serious health hazard, as is the thought of the plasticizers themselves leaking into the ground or fumes seeping into the air.

As for PVC pipe cost, it is about the same as ABS, meaning finances aren’t usually a factor when it comes to making a decision between the two. Instead, it can depend on a person’s need as well as their location.

Which is Better – ABS or PVC Pipe?

ABS and PVC pipe have both gained and maintained a considerable following over the years. Their continued use across various industries and in projects of all levels shows they’re both reliable and high-quality.

The question is, is there a clear frontrunner in the race between these two?

The short answer is – no.

The decision of whether to use one type of pipe over the other largely comes down to personal preference.

For those who are taking on projects where they are worried about pipes freezing or being pressed by the terrain, ABS may be a better choice. While for those who are handling complex tasks when they have to insulate or map unique configurations, PVC could be the superior choice.

The local regulations of the area also play a role.

Some areas require certain additives to be installed in ABS pipes to ensure they hold up in heavy sunlight. Likewise, many locations have banned some variants of PVC drain pipes due to how they can emit harmful fumes when ignited.

Anyone choosing between ABS and PVC should check with local building authorities and consult project managers on what is the best option for their location and need.

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