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FlexPVC® Tech Articles - What are UV Rated Fittings and Pipe and when is it important?

by Eric, Technical Support for FlexPVC.com a division of PVC Distributors LLC, Pahrump, Nevada

UV Rated?

When do I need to use UV Rated pipe and fittings?

UV means Ultra-Violet light. Sun light and UV Lamps emit UV light. UV light generally degrades all plastics. PVC is one of the more resistant, however given enough time even PVC plastic fittings and pipe will change color (white to tan to brown to black) and become brittle. So if you are using your pipe and fittings outside, in the sun, or in a room or cabinet with a lot of UV light, you will want to use UV rated fittings and pipe.

How much? How Long?

UV rated pipe and fittings should last 100+ years. If you use NON-UV rated pipe and fittings they will start to degrade the first year. Depending on the intensity of the light, you will see moderate discoloration (tan) in 1-3 years. You will see strong discoloration (brown) in 3-5 years and maximum discoloration (black) in 7-10 years. Any discoloration indicates the plastic has been damaged. The darker the color, the worst the damage. IF the pipe is not messed with and is well w/in the pressure and temperature ranges for the pipe, it could last years like that. However any mechanical stress, like hitting it, stepping on it, or driving over it, could cause a failure. Also discolored pvc pipe and/or fittings can shatter when struck so you need to be careful. If you bury it or paint it, or cover it in any way (just leaves is usually fine if there are a lot of them) it will be fine.

Where do I get UV Rated pipe and fittings?

For fittings any furniture grade fitting will be UV Rated. For pipe you can buy furniture grade pipe or CLEAR UV Sch 40 Rated pipe or CLEAR Thinwall Pipe.

(Also see our glossary, PVC Fittings help, Shipping Options Page and Shipping FAQ pages.

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