What’s The Difference Between ABS And PVC Pipes?

Common Plumbing Problems, News and Trends,

When you are working on a plumbing project, one of the most important decisions that you need to make involves the type of pipes that you are going to use. You will essentially need to choose between metal and plastic pipes, with each offering its own set of potential benefits. While there are advantages to the use of metal pipes, many people rather turn to plastic ones. They can help you save money and reduce condensation while also providing resistance against corrosion.

When you decide to opt for plastic pipes, you will need to choose between ABS and PVC. These are the most common materials used in the creation of plastic plumbing pipes. We take a look at the differences between these pipe options to help you make an informed decision.

The Key Difference Between ABS And PVC Pipes

There aren’t too many differences between ABS pipes and PVC pipes. Both Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Poly Vinyl Chloride are types of plastics that are used in the production of plumbing pipes. The differences between the two materials are minor – with the exception of the fact that ABS contains BPA.

BPA is a type of chemical that helps to harden plastic materials, which may add to the durability that they offer. The chemical is also known as bisphenol A. In addition to plastics, BPA is also used in the production of certain types of resins. Industrial chemical has gained popularity since 1950 and continues to play a role in manufacturing today.

There have been some concerns regarding the presence of BPA in plastic materials. When exposed to heat, the plastic materials can break down, which causes BPA to leak into the contents that are found in the pipe or container. With plumbing, in particular, it means BPA may leak into the water that runs through these pipes.

The FDA has announced that BPA is safe at very low levels in plastic materials, but some people do still have concerns about exposure to these chemicals. With this said, higher levels of BPA exposure may cause problems with several systems in the human body. In one study, researchers explain that BPA can interact with estrogen receptors and the related signaling pathways, which could then adversely affect fertility in both men and women.

The Advantages Of Choosing Plastic Pipes

As we have mentioned, you’ll need to decide between plastic or metal pipes when you work on a plumbing project. While other options exist, these remain the popular choices. Understanding the benefits that plastic pipes offer can help you know why they are commonly used in plumbing projects.

It has been shown that plastic pipes provide a more environmentally friendly solution, especially when compared to plumbing systems that use concrete or iron.

There are other benefits that come with the use of plastic plumbing pipes too, which we discuss below:

  • Many modern-day plastic pipes feature a push-to-fit design. This makes these pipes much easier to install, even when you decide to implement a DIY plumbing project.
  • Plastic pipes are also generally inexpensive when compared to other solutions. This can help you save money with your plumbing.
  • The plastic materials used in the production of these pipes also contribute to exceptional durability. The pipes last for a long time, and unlike iron and metal pipes, you do not have to worry about corrosion causing leaks and holes in plastic pipes over time.
  • Flexibility is another important benefit that comes with the use of plastic pipes. Both PVC and ABS pipes offer a flexible system that can be threaded through joists in a building, similar to how a cabling system works.

Choosing Between ABS And PVC Pipes

Some local governments may have strict requirements in terms of the pipes you should use in your plumbing setup. This may relate to sewer lines, water supply lines, and the pipes you use in your home. Not all governments have these requirements, in which case the decision to use ABS or PVC pipes lies with you.

ABS pipes offer a greater shock-resistant element compared to PVC. If this is something that you are worried about, then ABS pipes might be the more ideal solution. If you live in an environment where temperatures are often very low, then ABS is also a good option. This is because ABS pipes are more resistant to extremely low temperatures. Something to consider, however, is that ABS pipes will warp if you expose them to sunlight. This is something that does not happen with PVC pipes.

When flexibility is an important factor in your plumbing setup, then PVC pipes will provide you with a more effective option. Furthermore, PVC pipes can help to reduce the noise that your plumbing makes when water runs through the pipe.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for a homeowner to choose between two plastic materials. The best solution in this type of scenario would be to contact professional plumbers in Detroit to get their opinion. The plumbers can conduct an investigation on your property to better determine what the best type of pipes would be for your particular case. This can help to ensure you do not have to worry about the wrong choice in the pipes used for your plumbing, causing problems later on, which can become costly when you need to implement fixes.


ABS and PVC are common materials that are used in the production of plumbing pipes. Both of these have very similar properties, but ABS contains an industrial chemical known as BPA. If you are not sure which pipes are right for the plumbing setup in your home, then it’s a good idea to reach out to professionals. At WaterWork Plumbing, we can help you determine the best pipes for your plumbing project and assist with the installation process. We also help with other plumbing problems and are rated as some of the best plumbers in Detroit. Reach out to us to see how we are able to help you solve your plumbing problems.