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The Truth and the Fiction about Plastic Pipes

The Truth and the Fiction about Plastic Pipes | HP Mechanical

While plastic pipe systems are now readily accepted as a viable alternative to traditional metal materials, there are still many in the building services industry that are mistaken about the performance capabilities of plastic pipe products.

At HP Mechanical, we pride ourselves on using the correct materials for each and every job for our clients throughout Sonoma County. So, here are some facts and fables about plastic pipe systems.

One of the most common misconceptions is that all plastic pipe systems are the same and there is an assumption that the characteristics of one material will be the same with other plastic materials. However, every plastic material has different performance capabilities and has been specially designed for specific applications.

Myth: Plastics are more expensive

Fact: The mistake is often made of comparing initial material costs, but when looking at the installed costs of a system, plastics offer significant cost savings. The lightweight nature of plastic pipe systems, combined with their quick and simple jointing methods, significantly reduces the installation labor time and costs, offering installed cost savings of up to 50% compared with steel or copper systems.

Myth: Plastics are high maintenance

Fact: Plastic pipe systems require less maintenance than traditional materials, such as copper and steel. Corrosion is the biggest cause of maintenance and replacement costs in metal systems, with unseen corrosion in copper and steel HVAC systems having the potential to cause severe damage and significantly impact on operational efficiency. As a result, metal pipe systems need to be continually monitored, with regular flushing of the system scheduled, alongside taking frequent water samples to ensure the water quality is not adversely affected by any corrosion. With plastic pipe systems completely corrosion resistant this is not an issue, eradicating associated maintenance and repair time and costs.

In addition, the smooth bore of plastic pipe systems ensures no lime scale can build up within the system, resulting in less friction loss and guaranteeing a consistent flow rate is maintained throughout the life of the system. With optimum flow levels maintained, minimal maintenance and repair work is required to ensure the system operates efficiently.

Myth: Plastic pipe systems aren’t designed to last

Fact: Plastic pipe systems have a 50-year design life, with the operational performance remaining at the same level throughout the lifetime of the system. The smooth bore of plastic pipe resists lime scale build-up, ensuring flow is not restricted and continues at the same rate throughout its working life.

Myth: Plastic pipes tend to snake due to thermal movement

Fact: While it is widely acknowledged that plastic materials expand and contract more when compared with metals, thermal expansion in plastic pipes can be easily catered for if addressed at the design stage of a project.

The simplest and most cost effective method of catering for thermal movement is to use the natural flexibility of the pipe system by building in changes of direction to the network design. The direction of pipe movement can be controlled by the use of anchor points at strategic positions. Other cost effective solutions include installing expansion loops, bellows, flexible hoses and expansion compensators.

About HP Mechanical

For many years, HP Mechanical has proudly provided comfort to thousands of homes and light commercial businesses across the Santa Rosa/Windsor area and throughout Sonoma County. We are an honest, loyal company who takes pride in our work. We take care of our customers as if they were family. Referrals are where 90% of our business comes from, so the relationships we build along the way mean a lot to our small business. The one constant with everything involves working and helping people, by striving to provide the best service available at a reasonable cost. We take personal responsibility to make sure comfort and quality meets accountability & affordability, with exceptional customer service every time!

Ed Attanasio | Trust Ed Advertising
Written by Ed Attanasio
TrustEd Advertising

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