HOUSTON - A pipe that builders are using inside homes more and more is coming under fire by the people who know best -- professional plumbers.
Plumbers are warning you to know what's inside your walls no matter how old or new your home is.
Plumbers said that CPVC pipes, which are plastic with glued joints, are a ticking time bomb because it's not if a leak is going to happen, but when it will happen.
Bernice Dockery is dealing with the problem right now.
"Improve their product, the material is no good," Dockery said, referring to the CPVC pipes behind her walls that were installed 14 years ago.
The leaky pipe in the ceiling stretches from her bathroom into the bedroom.
"When a pipe goes in a home it's suppose to last," Dockery said.
Chris Rainaldi of Rainaldi Home Services said that's the problem -- CPVC pipes don't last.
"Over a period of time, it gets brittle and cracks and breaks and the glue joints continue to deteriorate through the pipe and go bad," Rainaldi said.
Plumbers said Florida's heat and chlorine in the water is also bad for CPVC pipes. So how common is this problem?
"With CPVC, this is a very common thing. CPVC is one we see on a regular basis," Rainaldi said.
In fact, 40 percent of homes re-piped by Rainaldi Home Services had CPVC pipes.
Liam Cuddy's company, Emerald Plumbing, does 12-15 re-pipes a week. He said they see the same thing.
"It's a product we know is failing. The manufacturer knows it's failing," Cuddy said.
The manufacturer even cut CPVC's warranty from 25 years down to 10, and that only covers the pipes, not any water damage.
That was a red flag for Kevin Jones, who had his home re-piped, but he said he was forced by his insurance company to use CPVC pipes.
"I think people should have that choice and I can't understand why insurance companies are dictating what homeowners have to put in their homes," Jones said.
Emerald plumbing did the install.
"When we do one in CPVC, in my heart and soul I know they are going to have a problem," Cuddy said.
The problems with CPVC pipes can range from:
--Turning off the valve by the toilet and having it snap off in the wall
--Mopping your floor and hitting the connection, causing it to snap
To be fair, some plumbing companies prefer CPVC. Ferran Services & Contracting uses it on a regular basis.
"It is a good product, its one of the most durable, as long as it's installed properly," Jesse Crawford of Ferran said.
"This really is no surprise when I tell you: You have got competitors who are really adamant about NOT using CPVC," Crawford was told.
Crawford said, "Not at all, it's still written in the plumbing code book that we can use it."
But Dockery said she wishes she didn't use CPVC and said she feels angry.
According to both Rainaldi and Cuddy, a pipe called PEX is a better option. They said it's not as rigid or brittle.
PEX pipes cost a little bit more than CVPC, but they have a 25-year warranty. And unlike CPVC, if there is a leak, PEX's warranty covers the damage to your home so you don't have to go through your homeowners insurance.
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