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My old house built in the 70s had galvanized pipe which developed small leaks and we replaced it with PEX pipe. It was a two story house. The new house we are buying is three story and has CPVC. I was told that it was installed because it is cheaper than copper and they were unable to install PEX due to it being three stories. Why is PEX not able to be installed in a three story house and is there more risk of CPVC developing problems than PEX or copper?

  • There is a lot of variation in the restrictions on use of plastic pipe for water supply and drain, waste, vent (DWV). I have not heard that PEX was widely limited to the first two stories. If I was pressed on why plastic would be limited based on number of stories, I could imagine that long vertical runs of plastic (especially PEX) could experience so much tension (or compression) due to gravity that it would mechanically over stress it. This assumes that it could be or might be inadequately supported. pmmag.com/articles/… – Jim Stewart Jul 22 '17 at 23:54
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Why is PEX not able to be installed in a three story house

The Building Codes require different electrical and plumbing beginning with 3 stories above grade. Many multifamily dwellings in the past decades skirted this code by building the first story half in the ground and two stories after that. There are not very many three story residences but apparently the one you are buying is one of them.

and is there more risk of CPVC developing problems than PEX or copper?

No, CPVC has been used for decades and is a reliable and cheaper alternative to copper and as reliable and cost effective as PEX.

Rest easy and enjoy your new home!

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