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What do the ABS, PVC, CPVC, PB, and PEX plumbing pipe names mean?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

They are all plastic pipes, and the names are acronyms (abbreviations formed from the first letters of other words) for the rather long technical name of their chemical compositions—except for the last one, which is just sort of an acronym:

ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride

CPVC - Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride

PB - Polybutylene (no longer manufactured in the U.S.)

PEX - Cross-linked Polyethylene (X is for the cross-linking)

    Also, see our blog post Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water?

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Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING PIPES:

ABS Pipe

• What is the average life expectancy of ABS pipe?

What is the difference between PVC and ABS plumbing pipe?

Cast Iron Pipe 

What is the average life expectancy of cast iron pipe?

How can I tell if I have cast iron pipes in my house? 

Copper Pipe 

What is the average life expectancy of copper pipe?

• Should I use a dielectric union or brass nipple to connect copper tubing and galvanized steel pipe?

• What problems are caused by connecting copper pipe/tubing directly to galvanized steel pipe?  

CPVC Pipe 

What is the average life expectancy of CPVC pipe?

Can you connect CPVC pipe directly to a gas water heater?   

Galvanized Steel Pipe 

What is the average life expectancy of galvanized steel pipe?

Why is old galvanized steel water pipe a problem for homebuyers?

What is a galvanized nipple? 

• Should I buy a house with galvanized steel water pipes? 

Can galvanized steel pipe still be used for new water lines in a house?  

Orangeburg (bituminous fiber) Pipe 

• What is the average life expectancy of Orangeburg (bituminous fiber) pipe? 

Why is Orangeburg sewer pipe a problem and how do I know if I have it?

PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) Pipe

 What is the average life expectancy of PEX pipe? 

Can PEX pipe be installed outside?  

• Can PEX pipe be connected to a water heater?

 Is PEX pipe freeze resistant?

PB (Polybutylene) Pipe 

What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem? 

Does a "QEST" brand mark on pipe mean that it is polybutylene (PB)?

PVC Pipe 

• What is the average life expectancy of PVC pipe? 

Why is sunlight exposure bad for PVC pipe? 

• Why is some PVC pipe black?

Why can't PVC be used for water pipe inside a house? 

What is the difference between green and white sewer drain pipes? 

Commonly Used Pipes By Decade

What type water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used for 1950s residential plumbing? 

What type water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used for 1960s residential plumbing? 

What type water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used for 1970s residential plumbing? 

What type water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used for 1980s residential plumbing?

What type water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used for 1990s residential plumbing? 

• What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used in the 2000s? 

• What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes are commonly used today?

     Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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