PVC for cold water?

The other day I saw a first (for me). The home had been a rehab (sort of). The guy replaced all the plumbing. For the hot water he used CPVC which was fine. But for the cold he used PVC. I didn’t make an issue out of it, but what is the official word on PVC being used for the cold water supply?

For what its worth, this is what I put in the report…

  1.   Observed the cold water pipes in the home are plumbed with PVC piping. In most cases, CPVC is used on all clean water pipes, and PVC is reserved for waste pipes. While this will likely not cause any serious concerns as this is only used on the cold water side, any future plumbing work should be done in consideration of this. It would be very easy for someone to accidentally connect a waste pipe to this supply piping in ignorance.

I would say probably 90% of the homes here have PVC for their main supply line coming in off the meter / street. I see PVC for cold water supply a lot particularly in rehabs. It is cheap, easy to install and will last virtually forever as long as it isn’t exposed to UV. Same for sprinklers and Pool equipment; pumps, filters, etc. ALL PVC.

I found this…


Thanks Rick

Thanks Doug.

PVC is not allowed for interior distribution.

Is there a reason for that?

Other than the “codes don’t allow it?” I’m not sure. . .

2006 IRC P2904.5 says (like Jeff says, PVC not to be seen):

Ok, “code” says it’s not suitable. Anyone know what the problem is with it?

Nope…not a strong enough lobby?

This might help;


PVC, CPVC, PEX, and Other Plastic Plumbing Materials

Plastic plumbing has been used for potable and non-potable water applications since the 1950s. Initially, there were many concerns about these products potentially leaching harmful chemicals into the water. To ensure that the public’s health was protected, independent standards were quickly developed which established strict guidelines for these products.

Today, plastic plumbing products designed for potable water applications are usually designated with either “NSF-PW” or “NSF-61” to indicate that the product complies with the health effects requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for materials designed for contact with potable water. \

This standard also establishes similar guidelines for other plumbing materials, including copper tubing.
If your pipe is not coded with one of these designations or if it is designated with an alternative code such “NSF-DWV,” it is probably not meant for potable water applications and should not be used for such purposes.:slight_smile:

OK per IL plumbing code…


About 1/3 of the way down .

It’s always advisable to check your local codes. . .

Someone should tell People here they are not allowed to use PVC here . It is every where

Copper supply is the norm here.

Same here, but if PVC were used, the State allows it.

Good to know. Thanks Rick.

Supply is different from distribution.

PVC is allowed for supply by most model codes, but not for distribution. However, as just pointed out by Rick, individual localities can make their own codes and regulations.

According to that publication, PVC can be used for cold-water distribution in IL.

Copper is in most of the older homes I have seen here in Saint Louis City. Which, apparently, is a good thing…

According to the Healthy Building Network:

"Dioxin (the most potent carcinogen known), ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride are unavoidably created in production of PVC and can cause severe health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Endometriosis
  • Neurological damage
  • Birth defects & impaired child development
  • Reproductive and immune system damage

In the US, PVC is manufactured predominantly near low-income communities in Texas and Louisiana. The toxic impact of pollution from these factories on these communities has made them a focus in the environmental justice movement."