What Is Gray PVC Pipe Used for?

Updated February 21, 2017

Gray PVC pipe is made from polyvinyl chloride, a thermoplastic polymer. PVC is resistant to weather, corrosion and many chemicals, making it popular with piping engineers seeking durable and strong materials for a variety of applications and piping systems. Schedule 40 PVC pipe is capable of withstanding temperatures to 60 degrees Celsius.

Industrial and Commercial

Gray PVC pipe is used widely in industrial and commercial process piping systems and as electrical conduit. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to install and resistant to weather and many harsh chemicals. It is very strong and long-lasting. Gray PVC pipe is used for water systems, drainage, venting, ductwork, electrical conduit and much more. Gray PVC pipe fills many needs in manufacturing and general industry.

Residential Construction

Gray PVC pipe is used in the residential construction industry, as water supply lines, drainage and vent piping, electrical conduit, and more. Gray PVC pipe has lost some of its popularity in this sector in recent years, primarily because less expensive materials like ABS and other plastics came onto the market. In addition, some questions have arisen with regard to potential toxicity from some PVC piping used for potable water supply lines, though the jury is still out on that debate, it seems.

Chemical Resistance

Gray PVC pipe's chemical resistance makes it advantageous for use in industries such as agriculture, food processing, chemical, energy, oil and gas, and others where durability, strength, low cost and versatility are paramount. Gray PVC pipe is resistant to carbon tetrachloride, hydrofluoric acid, formaldehyde and other harsh solutions.

Other PVC Pipe Colors

There are several other colours used in PVC pipe that are worthy of note, including dark grey, white, blue and green PVC pipe. Though there is no universal standard or regulation regarding PVC pipe colours (some manufacturers have arbitrarily chosen light beige instead of white-white for some products), a general rule of thumb is: white (and some off-whites) -- for drainage and low-pressure supply; white, dark grey, blue -- for cold water supply; and green -- for sewer piping. PVC pipe labelling is required to include whether the particular pipe is safe for use on potable water supply piping.

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About the Author

Charlie Hare has been writing since 1970 for a large Fortune 500 company. Hare contributed to, compiled and published the quarterly "Facilities Flyers," which was distributed to over 300 employees, as one of his duties. He has submitted instructional content online since 2007, specializing in topics such as cars, home and garden, computers, and pets and animals. Hare attended Manchester Community College.