Every home or business owner with a plumbing problem eventually arrives at the age-old question: Which is best…copper or one of the plastics (PVC or CPVC)?

According to selfhelpandmore.com, both copper and plastic water pipes have advantages:

Both types of materials are:
• Relatively non-toxic and, most importantly, NOT made of lead
• Corrosion-resistant
• Easy to work with, although copper installations require soldering skills while PVC only requires gluing skills
• Highly durable
• Recyclable, which minimizes environmental impacts

What’s the difference between copper, PVC and CPVC?
• Copper is a naturally-occurring metal that is mined from deep within the earth (THANKS, Made in America!). Copper piping is available in different grades; the better the grade of copper, the more expensive and long-lasting it is. For a quick overview on the different grades of copperand their respective uses, this YouTube video may be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iz5ezxQ9pA

• CPVC is chlorinated polyvinyl chloride – it is a polymer (a.k.a. plastic) and has greater heat resistance and better impact strength than conventional PVC. CPVC is rated for use on both hot and cold water lines.

• PVC is similar to CPVC, but should only be installed on cold water lines. PVC is not rated for usage as a hot water pipe (additional information is below).

• PVC and CPVC are not “the same thing” and should not be in direct contact with each other. The outside diameter of PVC differs from PVC, which requires different fittings and cements.

Consider Your Application When Choosing Copper or Plastic Pipe
Installation/health concerns — According to Lowes.com, one of the most common consumer concerns with PVC/CPVC are the potential health effects of the glues and the polyvinyl chloride composition of the pipe. But “The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), periodically checks U.S.-manufactured pipe for any objectionable trace chemicals that could get into the drinking water. If there are no trace chemicals, the pipe is certified by NSF.”

Old house cast iron repair jobs — For homeowners faced with repairing vintage cast iron pipes, CPVC is commonly chosen over copper pipe. Why? Because unlike copper, plastic pipe will not corrode when it is in contact with iron pipe. PVC/CPVC is an inexpensive solution to this situation.

How does a Consumer Choose Between Copper or CPVC or PVC?
At the simplest level, the choice depends on the look desired and available budget — copper piping is a classic traditional look and bespeaks the fineskills of a highly trained plumbing professional and knowledgeable consumer. Copper is solid. It lasts for years. In new home construction or higher-end bathroom remodels, copper is a good choice. Copper is also a reliable option for those living in extreme temperatures or in hard water situations.

CPVC and PVC are good choices for DIY repairs or when budget is a major constraint. CPVC and PVC are commonly used in rental properties, hotels, public facilities — areas where usage is high and repairs are frequently needed. It’s important to note that PVC is unreliable as a hot water pipe — it will begin to degrade at hot water temperatures in excess of 140 degrees Farenheit.

Water You Waiting For?
For advice on whether copper, PVC or CPVC pipe is suitable for your plumbing needs (including a whole house repipe, new construction or water line repair), call Ray at Allied Reddi-Rooter (513-396-5300). Since 1950, Ray and his team have been leading Cincinnati plumbers in keeping residential and commercial water flowing. Call today!

Now that we’re well into wet winter weather, it’s a good time to revisit a few sump pump maintenance tips. A happy sump will pump and pump, keeping your basement dry and fresh.

Watch this 3-minute sump maintenance video from Central Insurance Company: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rszr08KDEjs.Insurance companies have real interest in preventing flood prevention/water damage.

Locate the Pump’s Outside Discharge Hose and Cleanout Cap. Look along your home or business exterior wall for the point where the discharge hose exits the foundation. Keep the area clear of debris, especially if it’s below grade. Freezes can happen quickly, causing burst pipes.

Anti-Freeze is a No-No. Never use chemicals in the sump crock and anti-freeze in particular should be avoided at all costs. It’s a tasty, deadly temptation for house pets and small children.

Always leave the pump plugged in.
 That’s the best way to ensure the pump runs when it needs to.

Additional Pump Maintenance Tips
• Fill the sump crock with water until the pump float rises and activates the pump.
• Install a sewer backflow prevention valve if sewage backup is a concern for you.
• Ensure all pump discharge water flows away from your home’s foundation.
• Install a battery backup to keep your sump working in the event of a winter weather-related power failure.

Water You Waiting For? If you are experiencing trouble with your sump pump, the experts at Allied Reddi-Rooter can either repair or replace your pump. Call Ray today for a free estimate. 513-396-5300.

When fall and winter dampness creeps into our basement area, I’m reminded of a scent forever etched in my childhood memories — the cool, mildew-y smell of my grandmother’s basement. To 10-year-old me, that smell meant a treasure trove of 1930’s Americana; an old, unlockable antique safe large enough to hold a small child; a cement floor that was crumbling under years of constant dampness, and a wringer washer she used well into the 1980’s.

Grown-up me wonders why none of grandma’s 7 children ever took the time to install a sump pump and make her dreary basement a dry and pleasant laundry area.

How does a sump pump work?
According to HowItWorks.com, “a sump pump usually stands in a sump pit — a hole with a gravel base about 2 feet (60 centimeters) deep and 18 inches (45 centimeters) wide — dug in the lowest part of your basement or crawlspace. As the pit fills with water, the pump turns on [and] moves the water out of the pit…away from your home to a spot where the water can drain away from [the] foundation.”

What are the downsides to a sump pump?
Sump pumps for home use require electricity, so in the event of an extended power outage, you may be at risk for water in the basement. Additionally, because the pump is in a wet area, a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a must-have.

How will a sump pump affect my basement decor?
Given the choice of a damp (or flooded basement) or a small sump pump, it seems worthwhile to go with the sump. HowItWorks.com notes that “there are two primary sump pump designs, both of which are about 2 1/2 to 3 feet (76.2 to 91 centimeters) high. A submersible pump rests in the water,… in a waterproof housing, with the pump itself at the bottom and the outlet pipe near the top. A flat screen or grate covers the bottom of the pump to keep out debris. When the pump turns on, water is sucked up through the grate and routed into the pipes and out of your home.

The other common type of sump pump is the pedestal pump. Pedestal pumps look something like a long stick with a fat head. The pedestal keeps the pump out of the pit, away from the water even when the pit is full. An inlet pipe reaches down into the bottom of the pit to draw the water out. Becauethe motor and pump are out of the water, pedestal pumps are usually louder — but less expensive — than submersible pumps.”

A reputable plumber can help you determine which type of pump best suits your needs, budget and wet basement situation. The determining factors may include:

• Manual or automatic: Manually operated sump pumps are available but automatic pumps are hard to beat for convenience.
• Size: Sump pumps are commonly one-quarter to one-third horsepowerThe size of the motor should be based on the amount of water you need to mitigate.
• Head pressure: Head pressure is the height a pump can raise water; your pump must be able to lift water out of the sump pit and up to the outlet pipe.
• Cord length: Pumps need to be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, without the use of an extension cord.
• Voltage: Standard 110-volt circuits for home use; 220 volt models are available for industrial applications.

Water You Waiting For?
If you’re considering sprucing up your basement (or your grandma’s), Allied Reddi-Rooter has extensive experience in sizing, installing, and maintaining sump pumps. Call Ray today for a free quote and over-the-phone analysis of your needs (residential or commercial). Coupons apply (visit www.alliedreddirooter.com). (513) 396-5300.