Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Copper No Longer Practical for Plumbing

(ARA) - With copper hitting record high prices in recent months, not only is it becoming a more expensive plumbing option, but also a more attractive theft item. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries estimates that copper thefts are at their highest level in more than a decade. Unfortunately, it's impossible for recyclers to know which copper items have been stolen as they don't carry any identifier.

No one, or no region, seems to be immune. Thefts are occurring as far away as Honolulu -- not only in private homes and on construction sites, but even in churches. This past summer someone stole a copper drain spout from an Episcopal Church. Three days later more drain pipes were stolen from the same church. With recycled copper valued at nearly $3 per pound, the three pipes alone are estimated to be worth about $4,000. The church is one of nearly 20 copper theft sites reported in Oahu in the past few months alone.

Numerous states, including Nevada, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Illinois and California, are reporting similar theft increases. In Oregon, the Assistant U.S. Attorney's Office estimates metal theft is costing the state's economy millions of dollars each year.

In Ohio, landlords are especially feeling the pinch. Several home improvement stores in the greater Cleveland area have confirmed major increases in the number of landlords coming in to purchase new pipe to replace copper removed by tenants in the process of moving out. When the landlord posts a "For Rent" sign, it is an indication that the house is empty. Vandals may also come as a result and strip the home's copper pipe. In most of these cases, the landlords have requested CPVC pipe to eliminate the risk of being ripped off again.

Plastic pipe is seeing a major sales boost as a result. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) economist recently indicated that the use of plastic piping is on the rise on the heels of substantial increases in the cost of copper.

Plastic is already the material of choice for most waste pipes carrying water away from sink drains and toilets. And with the ease of transition from copper to plastic in the home, many experts predict that plastic may soon take the lead in market share for water distribution systems, as well.

Although CPVC has recently been in the news more as a result of skyrocketing copper prices, it actually has a 47-year proven history in residential and commercial applications around the globe.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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