PVC Plumbing: Cutting, Fastening, and Fitting

If you plan on working on your plumbing system, chances are you will be using PVC to complete any repairs. PVC has become standard in residential construction and is very easy to work with, even for the novice. However, there are a few standards when working with PVC that should be observed so your work meets code, safety, and functionality requirements.

Once you have a design for your plumbing system or know what pieces you will replace, you should begin by measuring and cutting each piece. Keep in mind that you need to add enough extra length to each section of pipe to cover the part that will be into the fitting’s hub.

After measuring, you can cut the PVC with several tools. Hacksaws are common and work well, but you can also use a special PVC saw, power miter saw, or wheel cutter. Then you should use a file or a deburring tool to remove any ragged edges on the pipe. This is important; the ragged edges can cause other debris to cling to them, causing a clog.

Next you should apply primer to the edge of the pipe. This removes the glaze and allows the PVC to create a better seal. Primer is often colored and sometimes required by code, so don’t forget this step.

You should then do a test fitting of all of the pieces of pipe. Draw horizontal lines on each section of pipe that indicates how the pipe should fit together. You can also number the pieces of pipe if you have a complex project to assemble.

You should also be clear on the order of assembly when putting together the new plumbing. A good rule of thumb is to install stack fittings and then branch lines when working with drainpipes.

Now you can apply the PVC solvent that will permanently attach the sections of the pipe. You want to apply PVC solvent to both the end of the pipe and the inside of the hub for about the first inch. When attaching the plumbing together, you want to insert each pipe piece so the marks do not line up, and then twist the pipe into place inside the hub. Hold the pipes together for about fifteen seconds to insure that the PVC solvent has had a chance to work.

Working with PVC is fairly simple, but only if you follow the steps carefully and do some basic planning. Of course, before beginning you should check with the local building office to find out if your particular project will require a building permit or inspection after completion. More complicated projects may require a plumber to complete.

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