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PVC OR ABS?

Health Canada and the Standards Council of Canada permit the use of Schedule 40 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). The “Schedule 40” part refers to the wall thickness of the pipe. PVC used in mitigation systems is often white, while ABS is black. Modern gas furnaces and hot water tanks use PVC for combustion air. The sewer pipes in homes are often ABS.


We most often use ABS for residential installations. The principal drivers for this choice are performance and cost. ABS, similar to PVC, allows for solvent-welded joints. It is lighter than PVC and runs about 5x less expensive. In our view, the only compelling reason for PVC in a residential installation is appearance. White pipe might look more appealing and is less likely to be confused with sewer pipe. But at the increased price point, most of our clients are quite happy to use ABS.

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