Where to Get

by Brooks Owen

I have two buddies who are landscapers. A large part of their work involves installing underground sprinkling systems. Every time they complete a job there's leftover pipe of various lengths and diameters.

     And they give it to me.

     I also have a plumber friend who accumulates PVC pipe of different lengths and diameters. About once a month he stops by for coffee and a visit then drops off a treasure trove of remnants.

     I could, if I was motivated, also stop by new home subdivisions or new commercial buildings as they're being constructed and pick up a bunch of PVC pipe leftovers.

     Here's the thing.

     These guys don't want the extra short pieces they've cut off. They won't carry them around to the next project because it take up room in the truck and because the next client will pay for new pipe. Mostly, if the remnants aren't picked up, they'd have to haul 'em to the landfill. So, generally, the plumbers are happy to give them to you. (There'll be exceptions, to be sure.)

     What's more, likely as not, you'll find perfectly good fittings attached to mis-measured pipe. Since they're bonded to the pipe, new fittings are used and the old ones, along with the pipe, are tossed away.

     But how can you salvage the fittings?

     Well, there's a tool called a "Ram Bit" that you can purchase from Plumbing Supply.com. (No, I don't get a penny if you buy one.) What this thing does is drill – or ream – the glued-in pipe out of the fitting so it can be used again. If you accumulate a lot of fittings that need cleaning up, you'll save money in the long run with this slick tool.

     I don't own a Ram Bit, nor have I dealt with the company. That’s because 20 years ago I purchased a set of similar "reamers" from a company called PVC Reamers, which has long been out of business. The set I use has lasted all these years and has paid for itself many times over.

     So, if saving money on your PVC projects is important, you really should consider getting free pipe from...

1. Landscapers

2. Plumbing Contractors

3. Building Contractors

or, you can

4. Post a message on CraigsList.com that reads something like...

"I'll haul away your used or discarded PVC pipe free.
Call (insert your name & phone number)"

     If you don't want to be bothered with calls, use the CraigsList blind e-mail address option. Using these 4 methods, you'll be surprised how much free PVC pipe and fittings you can accumulate in a short amount of time.

     By the way, the pipe you’ll get will usually be pretty dirty from lying around construction sites. But you can remedy this problem when you learn how to Clean PVC Pipe.


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