been going back and forth between PVC 40, PVC 80, HDPE and PEX-A for my 35' main water line from the meter to the house. Suffering from analysis paralysis and could use some input.

  • Single story home with 53 PSI
  • The pipe will be buried 18+ inches, with the frost line in my zone being ~4-6 inches and CA code requiring 18" deep buried.
  • Ground is not rocky, no major roots.
  • For cold water main line only. Will be using copper for exposed sections and PEX-a throughout the house

Considered PC 80 for added strength, but generally this is for industrial use and may be overkill. PEX-A would be ideal since I'm running this throughout the house, but finding the right fittings is/has been a major headache. Copper too expensive and not necessary given the alternatives.
City says they generally use HDPE, but I am having difficult finding fittings as well. City also says PVC is acceptable and schedule 40 is plenty strong for my house. Hesitant about PVC because of the (potential? internet argues about this) leaching from solvents, though I'd only be looking at ~3 couplers and an elbow. Local supply stores carry PVC 40 (450PSI) and PVC 80 with all fittings (don't know what PSI these are rated, if fittings even have ratings).

Any reason not to go with PVC 40?

  • Where have you been looking for fittings? Big box stores don't sell them because they are professional level products, but a specific plumbing supply place in your area should. The fittings can be expensive tho, I've paid $30 for a coupling to do a repair.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 19, 2021 at 19:47
  • In your case, I don't see any reason PVC can't be used. What is the potential for leaching, any reference you can share?
    – r13
    Nov 19, 2021 at 20:26
  • 1
    looked at big box stores so far, heading to Imperial Sprinkler Supply and Ferguson if needed. Seems there's a subtle war on both sides of the idea that PVC solvent cements leach into water. Generally this is only stated as being a short-term issue after initial install, and the argument is for cements rather than the inert PVC itself. Skimming actual research hasn't yielded definitive proof that PVC components are any issue, at least for PVC made in the past few decades. Oatey cements state they have been tested and approved for potable water. Just my general paranoia speaking!
    – Travis
    Nov 19, 2021 at 22:33
  • R13 -- you say PVC should be good. Think there's any reason to use schedule 80 over 40? The price difference is minor, but 80 has a slightly smaller ID and I'd like to maximize capacity. Though I believe both have larger ID than copper or PEX of the same nominal size anyway
    – Travis
    Nov 19, 2021 at 22:37
  • 1
    PVC solvent is acetone (Propan-2-one). Check the safety data sheet. Acetone normally occurs in small amounts in the body. Leaching is surely not a problem, if pipes are dry it evaporates quickly, if wet, washed away. Nov 21, 2021 at 10:15


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