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What You Need to Know About Flexible Vinyl Tubing

Flexible Vinyl Tubing
 
Vinyl is an incredibly versatile material used to make tubing for many purposes, from washing machine hoses to supplying water for a hot tub. This guide will explain the different types of flexible vinyl tubing, its various applications in your home and how to select the right vinyl tubing for your needs. Whatever your project may be, your local The Home Depot carries a wide range of vinyl tubing for almost any application.
 

Characteristics


Vinyl tubes may be made from different materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, rubber and other materials. Available in a variety of colors, sizes and thicknesses, vinyl tubing offers many diverse benefits:
 

• Withstands a variety of conditions
• Does not rust or corrode
• Is electrically nonconductive
• Provides natural resistance to combustion, helping to prevent fires
• Is odorless, tasteless and nontoxic and available indifferent levels of hardness


Factors to consider when selecting vinyl tubing include the length you need, the diameter required, and the substance the tube will be transporting, which may include gas, water or other liquids.
 

Types of Tubing


Two common types of flexible vinyl tubing used for a variety of household applications are clear and black.

Use the table below to determine which best suits your need.
 

Type

Function

Application

Points to Consider

Clear

• Low pressure
  applications with low
  volumes

• Use with chemicals,
  gases and liquids

• You can monitor flow
  and see clogs
  immediately

• Washing machines

• Dishwasher inlets

• Drain hoses

• Spas

• Bathtub jets

 

• Made from non-toxic PVC compounds

• Available in diameters from 1/8" to 2"

• Polyester braiding withstands higher
  pressures with resistance to corrosion
  and abrasion; available in 1/4" to 2"
  diameters

 

Black • Supply and drainage
  lines
• Evaporative coolers
• Fish tanks
• Backyard ponds
• Water gardens

• Durable and resistant to clogs,
  ultraviolet light and ozone

• Inhibits algae growth

• Generally sold in 3/8" diameter rolls

• Blends in under water


Performance Considerations


Flexible vinyl tubing is easy to connect using a variety of barbs, clamps and fittings. Tubes are sized by the inside diameter. If the tubing connects over a male piping thread, increase the tube diameter by 1/4".
 

• Tubing often comes in rolls of 25 to 100'.


• Pressure rating, maximum vacuum and minimum bend radius are important characteristics.


• Pressure rating is usually a measure of how much pressure a tube can withstand at 75°F.


• Temperature range is particularly important for tubes supplying hot water.


• Wall thickness can affect the inside diameter of a tube


Features to Consider


Color: Flexible vinyl tubing is available in an array of colors, including amber, blue, gray, green, orange, red, white, yellow, violet and more. Colored tubing can blend with the background.

Antistatic: Antistatic tubes prevent the buildup of static electricity that might interfere with substances passing through.

Flexibility: Vinyl tubing may contain pleats or corrugations that allow it to expand or contract, providing additional installation versatility.

Explosion Protection: If you're using tubes to transport volatile chemicals, look for tubes that are certified by the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) to withstand internal explosions .

Spark Resistance: Spark-resistant tubing is designed to withstand electrical discharges or sparks.

Sterilization: If you're using tubes to transport drinking water or other substances that must not be contaminated, look for tubes that have been sterilized.