Can you bend a PVC conduit with a heat gun?

Spare parts of PVC pipes arranged in a line at a warehouse.
PVC conduit is used to run wiring above and below ground. Carbonero Stock / Getty Images

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, conduit is pretty much the same as PVC pipe except it's gray and is used to run wiring above and below ground as opposed to plumbing. PVC is considered a good conduit because it can withstand electrochemical, chemical and biological corrosives, and it's much lighter weight than steel or aluminum tubing. Plus, PVC is easy to cut and connect.

When it comes to getting PVC conduit around corners or other curves, the best solution is to buy a pre-bent connector piece. It's usually pretty easy to find right angles and a few other shapes. But when you can't find the right type of elbow, you need to bend the PVC yourself, and to bend it, you have to heat it first. A heat gun is an easy tool to help you accomplish this. Before you bend the actual piece of PVC conduit that you're going to use, practice on a scrap piece or two.


The first step is planning the shape you want your PVC conduit to take on. An easy way to do it is to create a template using electrical metal tubing, which is easy to bend. Mark out the spots on the PVC where you want it to bend. Hold your heat gun at least a few inches away from the PVC as you heat it. Make sure to rotate the conduit so that you heat all sides evenly. Once the PVC has softened, put on a pair of thick leather gloves or wet heavy-duty gloves and carefully bend the conduit. When you've bent it to the desired shape, either spray it down with cold water or put wet rags on the bend to cool the area so you don't have to keep holding it as it stiffens again.