PVC/CPVC – the RIGHT Way to Glue Them

About the third or fourth trailer we’d bought was the worst condition we’d ever tried to fix up. We paid one thousand dollars for it, cash. We had learned all kinds of fixer up tricks, skills, and techniques. We were pretty confident we could make this trailer livable and rent it out for a decent income. We even got a deal on moving it out to our land and setting it up. Of course we would be adding in the lot rent to boot.
We had a pretty good system going. She would draw up the plans, lay out the lumber, cut most of it, the sheetrock, electrical boxes. I would handle all the larger lumber, the walls once they were together, the electrical, the plumbing, the heating. We’d hoist windows together, closet enclosures, ceilings, painting. We could have made a pretty profit if we chose to keep doing it.
Well, this story starts, like I said, on that third or fourth trailer. We had planned to move into it to start with to save money and get it rented faster. So, some things had to be done quickly. I was also working constantly at my job to earn the money to use on this place. So, I showed her how to do the plumbing. PVC is not that hard to work with. Measure, cut, glue, for the most part. Some consideration has to be made for the supply of water to the different uses. But I had plumbed about three homes almost entirely for friends and family, and I was pretty confident. I really wanted to do it myself, but I knew the time we had to get it done was getting short. So, I walked her through the layout real quick, gave her the money to buy the supplies she would need and left it at that.
It took her three days, and some things I had to go back to town for that she didn’t pick up off the list. Most of the pieces fit like they were supposed to, but where she’d stop I had to figure out why they didn’t go together like she wanted. It really wasn’t a big deal, yet. And we couldn’t get the water turned on until it was all done, because we were getting rid of all the copper through out. But after the third day, and feeling so satisfied at getting things worked out to everyone’s satisfaction, we then went to get the water turned on.
We’ll now go to later that year, that winter. Yeah, you guessed it. Heavy freeze, foot-and-a-half of snow, and we had been living there for a few months by then. Now, having the pipes insulated may not have prevented all of the breaks that happened, but when I tell you the whole story, you can be the judge of that. You see, the pipes all broke in the same places, the joints. Not slipped, or cracked. Broke, shattered some of them. I was about to head to town to get all the same parts, again, when I got a call from our neighbors (her parents on one side, her brother on the other). It seemed their pipes broke too! Wow, that was some freeze, huh? Ok, so I go take a look, and sure enough, all the breaks happened in the same places as ours. In the joints. Maybe the makers of PVC had defective material? Is that what you were thinking? Yeah that thought crossed my mind too. But . . . . . I saw really quick what was going on, and went home to ask one simple question.
“How did you glue these pipes when you put them together?”
“I did exactly what you said, even used your knife to trim them out. Roughed out the edges, just like you do.”
“Yes, but how did you glue them together?”
“I used the primer, and put glue on both pieces.”
“Your brother told you to do that didn’t he? Glue on both pieces?”
“Well, it made sense.”
“Ok, see . . . . . Putting glue on the inside of those pipes caused what is pushed into the hole to close up the flow of water.” I left it at that, cause really, I might have had to replace a few pipes anyway. But I added “I’m getting some insulation too.”
I let my brother-in-law know where he was wrong and showed him the result of doing something so simple in the wrong way and how it could cost him dearly. Then we worked together on fixing everyone’s pipes, that day.
So for everyone who doesn’t already know this, when it comes to gluing pipes, do NOT put glue on the INSIDE of ANYTHING. When you join them, what’s on the inside will be pushed into it , and if it doesn’t close it entirely, it will restrict the flow considerably.

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