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Plastic pipes such as PVC and ABS are common types of plastic drainage piping for residential and commercial plumbing in Toronto and Ontario.

Let’s review the advantages and disadvantages of ABS and PVC pipes for Residential and Commercial plumbing.

There are many benefits to using plastic pipe for a drainage system.

1. The pipe is easy to install and is lightweight.

2. Installation is relatively simple both concerning tools and process.

3. The pipe has a smooth interior wall lowering the chances of blockages.

4. Plastics will not conduct electricity making them safer and removing the problem of galvanic action with soil which can corrode metal piping.

5. Most chemicals flushed down a drainage system will not corrode plastic pipe.


The disadvantages of plastic drainage piping are:


1. Plastics expand and contract with heat much more than the metal pipes.

2. Once the fittings are weld with the solvent cement, then they cannot be taken apart to reassemble.

3. When compared to metal pipe plastic pipe has low strength, both with the pressure it can carry and the ability to support its weight.

4. This means that plastic drainage pipe must be supported more often and it is suitable for low-pressure situations

5. Some plastic pipes support combustion and give off toxic smoke when burning making them unsuitable for buildings with a high fire rating
When in operation plastic pipe has a higher noise factor than other materials such as cast iron

Therefore before installing a plastic pipe consider the following factors.

1. What is the pipe carrying?
2. How it is for joining.
3. What is the maximum pressure the system will hold?
4. Use it above or below ground.
5. Is the pipe approved for the location?


ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

ABS are the most commonly used plastic Drain waste and vent pipe in residences in Toronto and Ontario.
It is available in size 1 1/4 to 6 inch in 12-foot lengths.
ABS will give off a toxic fume if burned.
It is manufactured in Schedule 40 wall thickness only and is joining by using solvent cement.


The particular advantages of ABS pipe are:

1. A high impact strength making ideal for above ground installations
2. A wide variety of fittings found in many locations
3. It is lightweight, easy to handle and easy to cut


The disadvantage to ABS are:

1. It will expand when heated over six times greater than copper.

2. It has only moderate resistance to chemicals making unsuitable for laboratories and industrial Plumbings.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Pvc is non-corrosive and is flexible enough to absorb ground shifting. It is available in sizes 1 1/4 inch to 24 inches
and comes in a variety of weight classes suitable for many applications.

Advantages of PVC:

It is available in a variety of weight classes such as SDR 35 for below ground, DWV for above ground drains,
wastes and vents and “smokeless” approved for some commercial plumbing applications
It has several methods of joining including, solvent weld, threading, Groove and Shoulder, and Gasket.
It has a wide variety of fittings available

Disadvantages of PVC:

1. It will expand when heated up to 5 times greater than copper.
2. It will still support combustion in certain situations.

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