Monthly Archives: May 2011

Plastic Pipes and Solvent Cements

Large plastic pipes and solvent cementsPolyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe is a plastic pipe commonly used in plumbing applications such as drain, waste and vent (DWV) systems. PVC was developed into a useful building material in the 1920s by Dr. Waldo Semon who worked for BF Goodrich Company. Plastic pipes and fittings are joined together or fused with solvent cement; this is called solvent welding. Solvent cement melts the surface layer of the plastic and fuses the pipe and fitting together creating a watertight joint. Choosing and using the proper solvent cement is essential to minimize leaks and operational problems. Different types and sizes of plastic pipes need different solvent cements and consistencies that are formulated for use with that material. It is important to use the correct solvent cement. PVC plastic pipes require the use of PVC solvent cement, CPVC plastic pipe require a CPVC solvent cement and ABS plastic pipe require the use of ABS solvent cement. Next choose the right consistency.

To choose the right solvent cement, first determine the type of plastic pipe you are using. Regular or thin body solvent cement are used for pipes up to 2 inches in diameter, medium solvent cement is used for pipes up to 6 inches in diameter and heavy body solvent cement is  used for pipes up to 12 inch diameter pipes. Generally colors are black for ABS pipes, clear and gray for PVC and orange for CPVC. Cleaners are clear and primers can be clear or purple.

Application instructions

1. Store and apply between 40˚F and 120˚F. Protect from freezing. Do not thin or use if cement has become curdled, lumpy or thickened.

2. Wear non-permeable gloves during application to avoid skin contact.

3. Clean fitting socket and pipe, and check for proper fit. Apply PRIMER to all PVC /CPVC pipes and fittings (Cleaner should be used with ABS) surfaces. While still wet, quickly begin solvent cement application.

4. Shake well before using and stir frequently while using. Apply with supplied dauber applicator. For pipe greater than 2″ diameter, use natural-bristle brush sized 1/2 of the pipe diameter.

5. Apply thin coat evenly to socket. Avoid puddling. Quickly apply heavy coat to pipe end. While wet, quickly insert pipe into fitting with slight twisting movement until it bottoms out.

6. Hold pipe into fitting for at least 30 seconds to prevent pipe backing out.

7. Wipe excess cement from joint with rag. Allow 15 minutes before handling. Avoid full-line pressure for 24 hours. Cure times varies with size, fit, temperature and humidity

Work quickly, if the fitting does not sit correctly, do not force, instead discard the fitting and cut the pipe back to clean area and repeat application. Properly fitted and cemented PVC will ensure stability and prolong its use.


Tankless Water Heaters

tankless water heaterSo you bought a tankless water heater to save energy and money. And you thought all the problems with poor efficiency with hard water buildup was gone. But all water heaters tank or tankless develop calcium buildup during heating process. Calcium buildup is that white deposits that accumulate on showers and on faucets. This also builds up inside the water heater. The harder your water the more buildup. When water is heated the calcium particles are released and either go through the plumbing system or remain in the tankless heat exchanger and overtime these deposits accumulate and coat the heat exchanger decreasing the efficiently of the heater. When the heater becomes less efficient your money savings are gone. What about water softeners, this can reduce the buildup but can cause rusting and corrosion.

So what do you do? Clean and clean often. All tankless water heater manufacturers recommend cleaning at least once per year, in hard water areas, clean twice a year.

How do you clean a tankless water heater?

1. Shut off water supply to the water heater from the inlet and outlet valves and relieve pressure.

2. Disconnect the water heater at the energy source. Disconnect inlet and outlet water valves.

3. Use a recirculation pump to feed the cleaning solution into the water heater. Recirculate for 20 minutes or until the unit is clean. Clean inside of the heat exchanger only.

4. After cleaning, dispose used cleaning chemicals in accordance with local regulations.

5. With the energy source turned off, flush the water heater thoroughly for 10 minutes with cold water.

6. Reconnect the inlet and outlet water valves and turn water back on. Reconnect the water heater to the energy source.

What do you use?

Vinegar or RectorSeal® recommends Calci-Free™ Tankless Water Heater Flush for maximum cleaning.  For more information on this product visit


Water Flushable Flux

What is ASTM B 813? ASTM B 813 is the standard developed by the Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA), in conjunction with the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) and representatives of soldering flux manufacturing companies. ASTM B 813 outlines performance requirements for soldering fluxes used in the process of joining copper and copper alloy tubing. The principle idea behind this standard is for contractors to use a water flushable flux on potable water systems.

The use of fluxes complying with ASTM B 813 drastically reduces the corrosive effect on copper tubing by requiring fluxes to be less aggressive. Excessive flux inside of a soldered joint can easily be removed by flushing the system with water.

The use of water flushable fluxes and the ASTM B 813 standard are being enforced regularly in certain areas of the country. Many state and local authorities are now starting to include this standard in their respective plumbing codes. It has also appears in the latest edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), National Plumbing Code (NPC) and Standard Plumbing Code (SPC).

RectorSeal recommends Nokorode Aqua Flux which meets NSF 61 which insures that the product is safe to use on potable water systems. For more information on this product click on


How are firestopping materials tested?

firestop handBoth the industry at large and the building and code officials recognize the established test standard ASTM E814 or UL 1479, “Fire Tests of Through-Penetration Firestops.” This standard was first published in 1981 and had at its roots one of the oldest fire tests, ASTM E119, “Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials.” ASTM E814 (UL 1479) mandates that the fire endurance of the firestop system configuration be not less than that of the fire rated assembly when tested under a minimum positive pressure and to the standard time-temperature curve. After the successful passage of the fire endurance portion of the test, the entire assembly is subjected to the erosion, impact, and cooling effects of a high pressure fireman’s hose. Both the fire endurance as well as the high pressure hose portions must be successfully passed to meet the requirements of this standard.

From Yours, Mine or Ours Who is Responsible for the Firestopping? Click to see complete article.