ABS vs PVC – Difference and Comparison

There are a plethora of pipes or plumbing systems sold worldwide in which one might not necessarily be better than the other. But at the end of the day, they serve the exact same purpose. Of course, when it comes to supplying people with fresh water and taking waste material to the sewerage system, various buildings like homes and businesses require quality pipes.

So how do we pick the ones that are the best of the best?   Whether an owner decides to have their plumbing system either replaced or upgraded, they need to consider a list of options first. And we recommend choosing between ABS and PVC Pipe or fittings.

The battle between ABS (in black) and PVC PIPE (in white) is one that has riled the plumbing world for years. In fact, people such as plumbers, homeowners, home improvement experts as well as building managers have all given their views and opinions on both pipe types but the true winner is somewhere in between them. We will do our best to separate these two and see if any one of them has more favorable features and aspects over the other.

After all, even a tiny problem within a plumbing system could end up being really catastrophic to a home or building owner. So let’s break these two apart, see what they are and what are each of their pros and cons.  

What is an ABS Pipe?  

ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is one of the most popular options for plumbing systems out there. Most pipes come with a CAS (Chemical Abstract Substance) number, which is when you need to identify a chemical substance in objects. The CAS number for ABS is 9003-56-9 and is usually used for making numerous objects from pipes and musical instruments to canoes, home appliances and more. 

Why to use ABS Pipe and fittings?

The ABS pipes are revered for their durability and strength. That’s because the material that they’re made from, acrylonitrile, is rugged and strong. These qualities have proven to be quite valuable in situations where pipes of inferior quality would typically give out on — an example of this weakness in low temperatures, where pipes are normally vulnerable to freezing. ABS fittings are used mainly for insulating electrical wiring as well as safely removing waste material. Besides that, they’re much easier to install than other regular pipes, making them a truly timeless choice for any kind of project.  

Disadvantages 

Of course, even a durable and sturdy pipe like that of an ABS isn’t without their weak points. They’re usually susceptible in very warm temperatures where they can warp and deform. To prevent this, some areas of the pipe need to be modified and reinforced so it can hold up for much longer.  

What is PVC Pipe? 

Another great pipe for plumbing and insulation is the PVC pipe. Its CAS number is 9002-86-2 and is applicable in a handful of situations toys, sewage removal, clothing and more.  

Advantages 

The PVC pipe is known for being pretty flexible, which can be used in situations that involve tricky and unique configurations or coverings need to be created. PVC pipes can especially come in handy in tight places and quarters where there isn’t much space available.   The flexible quality of the PVC pipe is due to plasticizers. Even though they require a primer to have the joints fitted together, the PVC pipes are just as durable and reliable as ABS pipes.  

Disadvantages 

Some of the biggest concerns about PVC pipes are the chemical materials that leak out of them into the environment. The sad part is that there is some truth to these claims given that wires that are coated with PVC can create hydrochloric acid fumes during fire-related incidents. This is one of the most alarming health hazards just like its plasticizers that leak into the ground or the fumes seep into the air

Now when it comes to costs, a PVC pipe is about the same as an ABS pipe. Therefore, you needn’t worry much about money when it comes to investing in either of these two. The only deciding factor is a person’s need as well as their location.    

Which Pipe is the Best PVC or ABS? 

Over the years, both PVC and ABS pipes have a considerable, faithful following that they have managed to maintain to this very day consistently. What’s more, is that their prominent use in several industries and projects of various levels are a testament of their high-quality and reliability.   So now the final question that we should be asking ourselves is, which plumbing system is best?  The best answer that we can give without going into the nitty-gritty details is neither.

Truth be told, each of them has something that appeases to a certain individual or their needs. Hence, it largely depends on one’s own preference Still, we can provide some insightful advice as to which pipe is suitable for a particular occasion.

For instance, those who are involved in projects where they are concerned about pipes freezing or being pressed by terrain, ABS Pipe and fittings are the most suitable option. And for those who are handling complex projects that require them to insulate or map unique configurations, PVC pipe and fittings are the better choice.  

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