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Just when you think you seen it all...


Focal Point
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First of all I have to apologize. I do not have any pictures so try to use your imagination...

I am inspecting a late 60's early 70's ranch today. Nothing out of the ordinary, except when I get to the crawl, all I see is grey pipe, grey pipe as far as the eye can see...

Now I know what your probably thinking, PB right? Think again! At first I assumed it was PB also until I took a closer look...

Imagine my amazement when I read clear as day right across the pipe - PVC Exterior rated UV resistant Electrical Conduit! And miles of it!

1", 2" and 4", the entire waste system was constructed from Elect. Conduit! Even the A/C condensate line was made from this stuff.

My next question is, well how bout it? Other than the fact that it’s grey, its still PVC right? Is it ok? Or should I write it up? And how?

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Originally posted by Focal Point

. . . 1", 2" and 4", the entire waste system was constructed from Elect. Conduit! Even the A/C condensate line was made from this stuff.

My next question is, well how bout it? Other than the fact that it’s grey, its still PVC right? Is it ok? Or should I write it up? And how?

Putting aside for a moment the fact that plumbing pipe and fittings are supposed to be listed or labeled to conform to approved standards for plumbing . . .

The first thing that comes to my mind is that there are certain fittings necessary to a DWV system that are simply not manufactured in electrical conduit. Did you see any sanitary tees? How about wyes and combos? How did they handle horizontal changes in direction? Did you know that DWV fittings are manufactured with a 1/4" per foot slope? Electrical conduit fittings aren't.

Look carefully at the system. I'll bet you a dollar that the system doesn't conform to accepted DWV practices.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Focal Point

Yes. Tees, joints, elbows, the whole gambit. All of the conectors, wyes and Tees were standard PVC, glued and sealed, Solid as could be I assume regular pipe sealer will work, as it apearantly did. As I stated it "is" PVC.

AS far as DWV I dont know.

So, in contrast to what you described in your initial post, the fittings were white PVC?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Les

As far as I know you can not effectively solvent weld pvc conduit and pvc plumbing. pvc conduit has different support specs, also it is not as photochemically reactive as pvc plumbing.

It'll probably be fine but no one really knows because no one's done meaningful testing of these products in this application.

Unconventional things behave in unconventional ways . . .

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Does PVC conduit weaken at higher hot water temperatures like regular PVC plumbing pipe? Do we care? No PVC (other than CPVC) is allowed for interior distribution plumbing by any code that I'm aware of.

As Jim said, it probably will be fine, but then garden hoses would also probably work. Both are less than the minimum standards set by knowledgable people who likely actually tested those options, and increase the possibility of a flooded home.

It's just wrong. I wonder if the homeowner is an electrician?

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