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abs vs. pvc


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By Bill in Akron, OH on 2/21/2007


I have recently read that PVC is the prefered way to go on waste pipes.

I am doing a remodel and half the pipes are ABS.

The walls are open now.  Should I replace the ABS pipes with PVC pipes while I have easy access to them? 


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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 2/21/2007


ABS pipes are perfectly functional and conform to code in most jurisdictions. Why would you want to spend your money changing perfectly good pipes? Do they leak? Does the plumbing back-up? Do you have a money tree or are you working on a limited budget. If your budget is limited - perhaps the money you propose to spend on changing pipes could be spent on nicer countertops or fixtures -- something that is visible that will add value and style to your home.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/22/2007


Do you intend to rip out the abs all the way to the sewer line? I would be more concerned about the stuff in shallow trenches than what is in the walls.

Combining is one thing, replacing existing makes no financial sense unless there are severe problems.

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By Bill in Akron, OH on 2/23/2007


Thanks Dale

This house is a 2 story traditional 1930's house with mainly cast iron drains.

A bath was added recently with ABS drain pipes  - we are talking just plumbing of a 7' x 9' bath above a lath and plaster ceiling in our living room that I never want to disturb with repairs.

I still have the floor torn up where i can take out the ABS and replace with PVC.   I have in abs a 3" line running horizontally 6'  to the toilet and a 2 " line running the shower 6'.  Once I get the subfloor, tile and shower pan in may only access would be through the lath and plaster ceiling.

In materials less than $ 200. and less than a day of work.

My original question - can abs fail over time. 30 - 40 years

I n our area ABS is no longer allowed by code on new construction -  What is the reason.

 Thanks Dale for any observation  


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/23/2007


I don't know the life span of abs or pvc for that matter. If you have cast-iron that is a better material. Some high end homes use cast iron for vents and drains because they are quieter.

I don't know why your jurisdiction doesn't accept abs anymore, its must be a local amendment because the IRC allows it. I know here in Tucson trying to get a 10' stack inspection is almost impossible in warm weather because all that exposed black pipe heats up and expands, blowing caps off  cleanouts and not holding.

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By Bill in Akron, OH on 2/23/2007


Thanks Dale

I will leave the ABS where it is and save my $ 200.  and time.

And move to the next phase.


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