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  • Writer's pictureTeena

Grabbing the Best PVC Pipe for Your DIY Plumbing Project

pvc pipe
Choosing The Perfect PVC Pipe

Plumbing can be so daunting can't it? Sometimes, it's definitely out of our hands, but other times it's not. I promise it doesn't always have to be a scary feat to conquer. I did it, so you can do it too!

The feeling of accomplishment you will have when you're done with your hommade plumbing project is well worth the elbow grease you put into it.

Who wants to call a plumber for every little thing? That gets really expensive.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources on this site ( to help you sort through the necessities you need for your project.

Whether you choose a basic plumbing book, a Youtube tutorial, our blog, or signing up for our course, you have resources available. If all else fails, you can always call a plumber.

Don't even be ashamed to ask for help, especially if you're feeling in over your head with a plumbing job. You don't want to create larger problems for later. But don't let that scare you from trying to figure it out on your own first!

There are a large variety of types of vinyl or PVC pipes that all have different functions. That also stands with vinyl tubing!

There are many varieties to choose from–which can seem like a lot but it's good to have options.

It all depends on if you're looking for PVC or vinyl tubes for potable and non potable water, air, air conditioning or even sewage.

You can have your choice of PVC pipe or tubing that can be buried, black tubing that resists algae growth, rigid tubing, flexible tubing, tubing for higher pressure projects or lower pressure projects.

You'll need to know if you need sterile tubing, tubing that can withstand sunlight, and how to find the perfect color to blend into the background (if that's important to you). We'll discuss hydroponics, heat resistance and explosion resistant tubes! Yes, explosion resistant! It matters, if you're transporting gas or dangerous chemicals.

So let's figure out what you need for your project together!

If you're unsure of what kind of vinyl tubing, PVC pipe or PVC connectors you need for your project that's okay! Start with considering the basics; length, diameter and the substance that the tube will be transporting.

There are a lot of different variations to sort through. For this how-to guide we'll start with the most basic and then graduate onto the more various and complex options. It's important to know what you need for your project!

Some things to consider about vinyl tubing is their characteristics. Vinyl tubing and PVC pipe can withstand a variety of conditions, it doesn't rust or get corroded, and it is electrically nonconductive! Vinyl and PVC pipe can help prevent fires because it provides a natural resistance to combustion. It's also odorless, tasteless and nontoxic (although that doesn't mean I recommend chewing on it. Please...don't do that 😉).

It's important to know the functions of different types of vinyl and PVC pipe so that you can pick the proper tools for your project. If you pick the wrong type you could end up with a much larger plumbing project on your hands and we want to prevent any further problems!

Before we dive-in let's talk about potable versus non-potable water.

Potable water is drinking water. It typically comes from ground or surface level sources and is treated to meet state and federal standards.

Non-potable water is not drinking water and is not treated to be so. It's also known as raw water and is not intended for human consumption (like your washing machine or watering your plants... no one should be drinking non-potable water. If they are, they need help).

So, let's get to it!

Choice Number One: Clear, Flexible Vinyl Tubing

Clear flexibly vinyl tubing is a very popular choice for home repairs. It's easy to replace and it's often used to upgrade projects around your home. It's most commonly used for non-potable water for plant watering systems, dishwashers, washing machines and even spas. Yes, your own house? Yes please!

You can also use a differenty type of clear, flexible, vinyl tubing for potable water like sinks, showers and bathtubs.

The functions of clear, flexible vinyl tubing are low pressure applications with low volumes of water. You can use a certain type to transport chemicals, gases and liquids. You can easily see through the vinyl and monitor the flow and clear out clogs immediately.

My dad used them to give us heated floors in our house...a true game changer if you live somewhere with cold weather!

Like I mentioned before, you can use a type of vinyl tubing for washing machines, dishwasher inlets, drain hoses, spas and bathtub jets.

When you're working with this type of tubing keep in mind that it is made from non-toxic PVC compounds, or they are made of polyester braiding which can withstand higher pressures and resist corrosion and abrasion.

You can get clear, flexible vinyl tubing in diameters from 1/8-inch to 2-inches or the polyester braided vinyl pipes are available in diameters 1/4-inch to 2-inch.

Choice Number Two: Black, Flexible Vinyl Tubing

These specific tubes are typically used for hydroponics and outdoor spaces. Hydroponics is also called aquaculture, nutriculture, soilless culture, or tank farming. This is a way to farm plants using nutrient-enriched water, with black flexible vinyl tubing.

These tubes are used as supply and drainage lines in this situations. They can also help run evaporative coolers, fish tanks, backyard ponds and water gardens (hydroponics).

The reason these black, flexible vinyl tubes are great for these outdoor jobs is because they're durable and they have a strong resistance to clogs, ultraviolet light and the ozone. All necessary when running water outdoors!

They also prevent algae growth, which can build up blockages and bacteria, and they blend in under water. So you won't even notice they're there!

This type of tubing is only sold in 3/8-inch diameter rolls.

That's It...Now It's Time to Decide What's Best for Your Project

Flexible vinyl tubing is very easy to use. You can connect it with a variety of connecters like barbs, clamps or fittings.

These tubes often come in rolls from 25 feet to 100 feet. So you can get a lot of tubing very easily.

Make sure you pay attention to the pressure rating when buying your tubing for your project. There's also a maximum bend and a minimum bend radius. So if you're planning on snaking the tubing back and forth you'll want something flexible and easy to maneuver. If not, you can get a less bendy tube.

Pressure rating, which I mentioned above, is important to consider depending on what you're transporting through the tubes. The pressure rating is typically measured by how much pressure the tube can stand at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The temperature range is mostly important when you're transporting hot water, but it's always good to know your limitations!

The tubes wall thickness can affect the inside diameter of the tube, so keep that in mind when you're buying!

A Few More Things to Consider Before Buying Vinyl Tubing for Your Project

Now that you've figured out what your transporting, how much of it, and at what temperature, pressure and bend...and all that other stuff we talked about... then here's some more things to think about before you head to the hardware store!

The color of vinyl tubing is pretty vast, so if you want it to blend into the background you can find a color to do so!

Antistatic tubes are great for preventing a buildup of static electricity. If too much gets built up it can interfere with certain substances passing through the tubes.

Flexibility can change the range of motion your tubes have. They might contain pleats or corrugations which allow the pipes to expand and contract as needed.

Explosion protection can be extremely important if you're working with volatile chemicals. These are certified by the Underwriters Laboratories to withstand internal explosions that could turn into external explosions if you aren't careful. Spark resistance is another thing to consider if you need tubing that is designed to withstand electrical charges and sparks.

Lastly is sterilization. If you're transporting potable (remember? That's the drinking water) water or other substances you don't want contaminated, then sterile pipes are the way to go.

Whether you're connecting a new appliance, starting your journey in hydroponics, or replacing worn out vinyl tubing you'll want to know what kind you need! Thankfully vinyl tubing is practical, versatile, sturdy and affordable.

Keep in mind, PVC and Vinyl can be used interchangeably but it isn't the same thing. Vinyl is a general term while PVC is a very specific type of vinyl. You can get vinyl tubes that are flexible, rigid, thick, thin, or weather, heat and/or impact resistant. PVC on the other hand is rigid and are used for cold-water applications. It is also durable and affordable.

Your best bet to ensure you purchase the best and safest type of tubing for your project is to consult with an expert at a plumbing supply store.

You've made it! You figured out what your project is, what type of tubing you need and you're well on your way to becoming your own DIY plumber!

Happy Plumbing!


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