Tips

How to Bend a PVC Conduit

Img source: merfishunited.com
Written by Quentin Hack

There can be several reasons why one wants to bend a PVC conduit. You might need to bend a PVC pipe when installing it underground. Some people use it in their artwork while some use it to support other objects. However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Bending the water pipe is not recommended since bending the pipe involves heating which weakens its walls. Once the walls of the pipe are not strong it cannot withstand the pressure of the water. Thus for water pipes, you can use elbows or couplings to change the direction of the pipe.

Why Bend PVC Pipe?

There are a plethora of reasons why you need to bend a PVC conduit or pipe. Apart from the regular purposes, you can use it as an artwork and support for several other items. Even if you install miles of PVC, it will always require bending at some point or other. Elbows or any other pipe fitting will not really work for conduit as you cannot pull the wires through them. Hence, a keen, gentle and efficient sweeping bend of the PVC pipe is essential.

The only thing you would not want to do is to bend the pipe for using it in water piping. This is because, you must know that bending consists of heating as well. Eventually, heating will weaken the wall of the pipe drastically which straightaway indicates that it will not be able to bear the pressure that it was built for.

Img source: en.lesso.com

Sources of heat for bending the PVC pipe

The first and foremost thing that you will require is heat source. There are lots of options, you can even use a campfire. However, one heat source that you should avoid at all costs is your cooktop or kitchen oven. PVC usually is prone to char, smoke, and catches fire easily. Eventually, when it catches fire, the smoke emitter is extremely noxious and it becomes quite hard to put out the fire. Hence, make sure you carry on with the work outdoors.

Heat guns can be used too. You can even use a hair dryer or electric blankets for smaller conduits. Another excellent source can be a weed burner. Use it when you don’t have a hotbox or you have no power for it.

Steps by step guide to bend a PVC conduit

A PVC pipe is generally used as irrigation piping or an electrical conduit. A PVC pipe is strong and rigid which makes it very difficult to bend. People often use couplings and elbows to manipulate the path of the pipe however it is better to bend or kink the PVC. If you are looking for a professional pipeline expert, make sure to check out lesso.com.

Here is a step by step guide that will help you to bend a PVC pipe very easily:

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  • The very first thing you will require to bend a PVC pipe is a heating source. You will require something that you can use to heat the pipe. However, we don’t recommend you to use your kitchen oven or stove. PVC pipes can easily catch fire so it is better to work outdoors. You can use electric blankets for smaller pipes. Alternatively, you can also use a powerful hair dryer or heat guns.
  • The next thing you should consider is the place to heat the pipe. An outdoor area covered with weed or grass is the best option to go with. A covered area is not recommended.
  • Once you have found a suitable place you can place the pipe on the ground and start heating it. Whatever you are using, whether a heat gun or a hairdryer make sure you keep moving it. Also, make sure that you keep turning the pipe after every five to ten seconds.
  • You might notice a char on the surface of the pipe. The pipe might turn into brownish colour but anything beyond that is an indication that you are heating that particular area too much.
  • If you are using a heat gun or a torch use it from a distance. Using them too close to the pipe can burn it.
  • Once the pipe is heated evenly it will turn soft such that picking up one end will not have any effect on the other end. Moreover, even slight pressure on your finger will bend the pipe. At this stage, the PVC pipe is ready to bend.
  • Before you begin bending the pipe use a safety glove or else you will end up burning yourself.
  • As your pipe is laying down on the ground trying to make a bend as required. In case you want to bend more than once try placing some nails on plywood to get the desired bend on the pipe. This will make sure that the pipe is holding its position as it is getting cool.

Img source: merfishunited.com

You might find a kink on your pipe while heating. A kink is an indication that you haven’t heated the pipe properly or the bend is sharp.  In case there are small kinks they can be treated by pressing the area with a wet rug or thick cloth. However, in case the kink is severe you will require to heat the pipe again before you begin bending it.

Working on a smaller pipe is easy as compared to a larger pipe. With a larger pipe, it becomes difficult to heat the pipe evenly. In case you want to make multiple bends on a single large pipe you can bend it one section at a time. Once you bend a portion reheat the pipe and then bend it again.

Afterword

Heating the pipe can be tricky as well as risky. Make sure that you are wearing gloves and taking all safety measures. Make sure that there are no pets or children around while you are bending the pipe. PVC pipes are very pocket friendly therefore even if you fail to bend the pipe properly it won’t cost you much.

About the author

Quentin Hack