Bronze, copper and iron are out and plastic plumbing is in, as plumbers and installers continue to look for more durable and easy-to-install materials for first fix plumbing, to reduce installation times.
The huge uptake of plastic pipes and fittings has happened over the last few years and not since the creation of every plumber’s favourite video game, Super Mario in 1981, has there been such a movement in the plumbing industry – unless you count 1974 when John Guest himself developed the first push in tube connector for use with compressed air!
Advantages of Plastic Plumbing Pipes and Fittings
The advantages of plastic pipes and fittings are well known throughout the industry; they are versatile, durable, practically leak-proof, and easy to transport and install. As with most things, though, it’s probably easier to put into perspective the benefits that plastic brings to buildings by looking at the challenges we would encounter without JG Speedfit’s range of plastic push-fit, fittings, and pipes. In this blog post, we outline the reasons why we are so enthusiastic when it comes to plastic, by highlighting some of the things you just couldn’t do without it.
1. No Need for Specialised Tools with Push-Fit Plastic Plumbing
Gone are the days when the plumber’s toolbox is heavier than their van. With plastic, plumbers and installers can arrive for a job with considerably less weight to carry, since fewer specialist tools are required to install plastic fittings.
Unlike press fit methods of plumbing, plastic push-fit fittings require no tools at all for installations. Once cutting, measuring and deburring of the pipes has been completed, you only have to twist and lock the push-fit fitting to make the connection. In contrast, copper pipes and fittings require the use of a soldering iron, spanners, PTFE tape, and other items that can weigh down the toolbox.
2. Improve The Value of New Builds with Plastic Plumbing Fittings
New building developments are increasingly specifying plastic over copper for first fix plumbing, not only for ease of installation but because plastic can increase the value of a property over time. You only have to look at JG Speedfit’s work on the Royal Wharf development in London for evidence of this!
Although when we talk about plastic, we are actually referring to cross-linked polyethylene in regard to fittings, and polybutylene and polyethylene for pipes. These are specially engineered materials which have been specifically designed to ensure robustness over extended periods. They are so strong, they can withstand our internal pressure tests up to 60 bar (although our technical specification still needs to be followed).
What that means is that plastic pipes and fittings do not corrode easily and can last a lot longer than those engineered with alternative materials. This can have a significant impact on the overall value of a new build since there is confidence that the plumbing system will not fail.
3. No One Fits a Plumbing Job Quicker than a Speedfit Fitter
It is generally accepted that plastic push-fit fittings are as much as 40% faster to fit and install than those made from alternative materials. Not only is this because they do not require specialist tooling to fit, but because they are engineered to make the installer’s life easy.
For example, the material properties of plastic compared to copper mean that it can be manufactured in different colours for added installation convenience.
JG Speedfit offers both red and blue pipes for projects where quick and easy identification of hot and cold, or flow and return pipework is required.
4. Quickly Fix Errors with Plastic Plumbing Fittings
The beauty of using plastic push-fit fittings for first fix is the fact that an installer can quickly resolve an issue in the event of making an installation error. This is because the fitting is de-mountable, while press fittings and more traditional methods are not. Furthermore, an installer only needs to remove the existing fitting and replace it with a new one, or re-fit, if the pipe is not damaged. There is no need for any additional materials or tooling work.
5. Be Flexible Enough to Accommodate New Building Designs
Many modern buildings follow a similar structure to pre-1960’s buildings, which typically had wooden joists in the floor, and floorboards on top. With modern buildings, the joists are specially engineered and therefore more stable than normal wooden joists, but equally difficult to thread a copper pipe through.
With plastic, though, plumbers and installers can thread pipework through the joists like cabling systems, and can even hide away unsightly pipework behind walls, to add a more pleasing interior aesthetic. If you’ve ever tried threading a copper pipe through a joist, you’ll know how much easier it is with plastic!
Plastic Plumbing Fittings & Pipe
That is just five things you could not do without the use of plastic push-fits fittings and pipes, but there are much more. We’d love to hear what makes you enthusiastic when it comes to plastic. Tweet us at @JGSpeedfit or use #plasticenthusiastic
Did you know: Our plastic push-fit fittings aren’t just for plumbing. Our previous blog post talks about the different uses for plastic push-fit fittings. Click here to find out more.