Is Gray PVC Pipe Safe For Drinking Water?

Let’s get started with the topic Is Gray PVC Pipe Safe For Drinking Water? White PVC pipe with a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) classification for water is the most general Schedule 50 PVC found in offices and homes. The drawbacks of this type of PVC pipe are that it will decay when revealed to short-wave UV light (such as those seen in the sunshine) and soften at higher temperatures.

Due to these difficulties, PVC piping is not formally approved for use in dwellings for potable (drinking) water. When PVC (and other polymers) are heated, chemical molecules begin to outgas and migrate out of the material. With quantities as little as one part per trillion, some element chemicals seep into the water supply and can harm living cells.

Is Gray PVC Pipe Safe For Drinking Water?

Many suggest that PVC pipe is both safe and dangerous. According to references to PVC pipe from the previous century, several of the chemicals employed in PVC production are known to be mutagenic.

Gray PVC Pipe Safe For Drinking Water

If your water supply’s PVC pipes are ancient, most of what could have leached out has already done so, at least at room temperature. Replace your PVC pipes with permitted materials such as CPVC (a stronger kind of PVC) or copper as a viable option. Both materials are deemed suitable for use in drinking water. However, there are reports on the internet that each material is harmful.

You’ll notice three primary types of PVC pipe: white, dark grey, and schedule 40. The white one is called schedule 45, and the dark grey one is called schedule 80. The distinction between them is that the plan 80 has thicker walls and is rated for higher pressures.

The third one you might encounter is light grey, called CPVC (the extra C stands for Chlorinated). It’s also certified at schedule 80 pressures, but it’s been treated to withstand greater temperatures, which you might need coming from a water heater or something similar.

Aside from that, CPVC is more fragile and expensive. Thus it should only be used when necessary.

What Is The Difference Between White PVC And Grey PVC?

I began working in the swimming pool industry around 50 years ago when PVC pipe began to replace copper tubing. Sch. 40 PVC was gray back then. It was more brittle back then. In the 1970s, pipe makers refined the recipe by adding additional UV inhibitors and some Sch. 40 was white, while others were a cream tint.

Sch. 40 PVC is now completely white. The Sch.80 pipe is a medium gray color. Medium gray is also the color of an electrical conduit. So, just because you come across some gray PVC that was placed long ago, don’t assume it’s Sch. 80; it could be ancient Sch. 40 or an electric conduit.

The color of Sch. 80 PVC is dark gray. For any given diameter of PVC pipe, it passes a higher pressure requirement and has a thicker wall than Sch. 40.

For smaller sizes typical of domestic plumbing, Sch 40 CPVC pipe with a light tan hue will withstand greater temperatures. For the pool trade, you can buy CPVC in Sch. 80 in 1–1/2′′ and 2′′ diameters, which is a lighter gray than Sch. 80 PVC. Confused? Read the writing on the pipe’s side. The Schedule is molded into the plastic on fittings.

Can I Use White PVC For An Electrical Conduit?

No, it’s not a good idea, and here’s why: The National Electrical Code in the United States mandates that all components of electrical installations be certified for their intended use by a national testing agency, usually UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association) (Canadian Standards Association).

Gray PVC conduit allowed for electrical installations is the only color available. Therefore anyone who sees gray PVC should presume it contains harmful electrical wires. Because white PVC is merely water within, it may appear less hazardous to dig or move around it.

That movement could sever the conduit and break or expose any wires run in white PVC, which could be harmful. If you had been a hundred miles from any source and needed one “little” fitting, such as a “coupling” or “male adaptor,” and a white one came unexpectedly, it was evident and unequivocal that it was installed in an electrical system.

How Long Does It Take To Let PVC Glue Dry Before Turning On Water?

Here’s a wise adage to remember, especially if you work in the plumbing industry. “There’s never adequate time to do it correctly the first time, but there’s always time to go back and fix it.”

Check the label on your cement. Under all circumstances, do not deviate from the manufacturer’s specifications. Especially if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, always start with a completely dry and clean hub and spigot. In a pressure pipe repair application, any water is too much. I don’t care what kind of glue you use.

It can be argued that cement makes a junction fast enough to turn the water on instantaneously in piping applications without pressure. I’ve completed the task. I’m not advising you to do it. However, drainage systems are significantly more forgiving than pressure systems if you’re in a hurry.

I’ll also argue that soldering a pressure repair on cpvc or PVC can be just as troublesome. Everything needs to be done correctly. The system must be drained if you were trying to make a solder repair on copper. Water injected into the joint after gluing (because the system was not adequately drained) can cause early failure.

Cutting corners with any pipe is a bad callback in a pressurized system. It’s the kind of call that sick you. Do it right the first time. Once the fixture is homed into the hub, the pressure systems require a quarter turn. This must be remembered when repairing. If you need to repipe a bigger part to return to a threaded adapter, do so. Ten percent of the joint is timing. The remaining 90% is spent on joint preparation.

Can A PVC Pipe Be Used For Electrical Conduit?

Not if you want to follow the NFPA/NEC code. “Grey” is a word that can be used to describe “raceway for electric vehicles. PVC pipe is UL-listed as an approved electrical raceway; “white” PVC pipe is UL-listed as an approved electrical raceway.

“PVC is not suitable for plumbing. This is because “grey” electrical is UV resistant, whereas “white” plumbing is not. While either could work in a pinch, in the United States, employing white pipe as an electrical raceway will result in an electrical inspection failure.


Did you get your answer on whether Is Gray PVC Pipe Safe For Drinking Water? PVC has several additives. Grey PVC is not meant to be used with drinking water. Make an effort not to poison yourself or others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to become sick from PVC glue?

Ingestion can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and damage to the liver and kidneys. Showering your face and hands after handling PVC materials can help avoid danger. If you have ingested something, drink two glasses of water and see a doctor.

Which water pipe is the best?

Copper pipes are the most general type of plumbing pipe because of their long lifespan and dependability. They offer exceptional corrosion resistance, are a great material for hot and cold water, and are simple to maintain.

What is the most suitable material for water pipes?

Unlike regular PVC, CPVC can be used for hot and cold water. CPVC pipes are smoother than copper pipes and make less noise when water flows through them. CPVC piping is also fire resistant, insulated to reduce energy loss, and more flexible than metallic piping.

Is PVC pipe suitable for potable water applications?

Some customers with new pipes complain about a “slightly plastic taste” in their water, although this is not hazardous and usually goes away shortly. It is not harmful to one’s health to use PVC materials for potable / drinking water! One difficulty with utilizing PVC or CPVC for potable water is the possibility of contamination.

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