The remainder of this report will identify multiple violations of manufacturer installation recommendations, classic failure patterns in a small sample, and additional conditions that could impact the integrity of a CPVC system. One common problem is the use of too much cement to bond a pipe to a fitting. An additional sample provided by the Heating Contractor demonstrates a condition where insufficient cement was applied allowing the CPVC tube to fall out of the connector. Author: Daniel Robles, PE, Coengineers, PLLC, Co-author: David Coles PE, Coles Consultants, LLC. Class action suits have been filed alleging national cover-ups of defects, exposing condominium and townhome owners to risk of personal injury as well as loss of life.*. Problems with CPVC Pipes Genova Products was the first company to create CPVC plumbing products. While CPVC has more than 40 years of proven performance, Berko first began evaluating FlowGuard Gold® pipe and fittings while trying to solve the corrosion and water quality problems generated by aggressive well water. The SPFA stance on the matter of SPF-related CPVC failures is subjectively stated: Objectively, the tests were not properly conducted, the results were not published in any scientific journal; instead the SPFA published a white paper synopsis of their findings. However, some plumbers installing CPVC pipes and fittings used in continuous hot chlorinated water service report that the pipes and fittings degrade and become brittle after only a few years of use, read here for more. The first may be described as the general disregard for manufacturer installation recommendations. These systems were designed to provide an inexpensive alternative to other materials and to reduce the effects of acidic water on pipe longevity. It was our recommendation to replace the entire CPVC system with an “Engineered System” that is specified from beginning to end to perform the function of a modern and reliable hydronic heating and cooling system. Potable water systems and fittings utilizing CPVC tend to degradate and often fail after only a few years of service. The pipes that failed in residential settings considering these variables in order to accurately replicashow significantly larger crack propagations, more bifurcations, and less pipe bulging. The improved insulating characteristics associated with FlowGuard CPVC can generate substantial long-term savings for an energy conscious homeowner or tenant. Complete the form to download your copy of the slide deck, 6 common misconceptions about CPVC fire protection pipes, today. Taken together, the system appears to have become fragile in its entirety, as repair records further suggest. ... can-rust-from-old-drinking-water-pipes-cause-health-problems. Figure 17: An additional failure sample was provided by the heating contractor does not appear to be an original installation. The Architectural building specifications did not make it clear to engineering what material would be used for the piping of the hydronic system. The incompatible chemical was likely absorbed in high-stress areas of the system such as the brass fittings and anywhere that unchecked thermal expansion would introduce stress. In fact, the first piping systems using CPVC occurred in 1959 and are still working without a problem. Also, why not just glue back cpvc. He has recently authored/edited a book entitled, As the founder of Plastic Failure Labs, Inc. (. Papers by Duane are referenced in the bibliography and Dr. Priddy’s opinion is expressed throughout this paper. A random failure patter suggests whole system fragility. When CPVC is mechanically stressed, it will increase absorption of hydrocarbons (contaminants) in an effort to relieve that stress. Figure 11: Catastrophic failure was imminent. CPVC. So, if all you have to bond two PVC pipes and fittings together is CPVC cement, it will work, but PVC cement cannot be used to bond CPVC pipes and fittings. The scope of my search is only fire sprinkler systems and only CPVC pipe failures in the US. While you can’t avoid this problem entirely, working with a trusted manufacturer can help. Homeowners want piping that does its job, without problems, for as long as possible. It appears more likely than not, that this system experienced two system-wide deficiencies. CPVC is a fairly common choice for plumbing in homes. CPVC pipes and fittings have been used successfully for decades. Contamination may have come from one or several sources ranging from the introduction of incompatible rust inhibitor to leaking compressor lubricant to residual cutting oil on brass fittings. Classic environmental stress fracturing was found at the inside wall of the threaded area of pipe. CVPC pipe was developed in the 1980s and has proven to be more durable, safer and easier to install, and longer lasting than the PVC pipe of before. It is the most commonly used piping in building construction in most parts of the world, outpacing ordinary polyvinyl and metal and copper alternatives. We have been studying the causes of failure of CPVC piping systems for over a decade and have found that CPVC piping is NOT chemically resistant. A high-res shot of SPF negatively impacting orange CPVC piping. Several samples were split using a manual hack saw to avoid generating heat. The first set of photographs suggests a case where the threaded brass connections throughout the installation were improper for this application. Figure 16: This ECS failure attributed to poor workmanship as excess cement was allowed to pool inside the pipe. These stresses opened leak paths, while making the material more vulnerable to chemical contamination and degradation. Plumbing slowly developed over the years, sometimes making progress like the development of CPVC in 1959 and sometimes making mistakes as in the introduction of polybutylene piping in 1978 (polybutylene is now banned from most building codes due to early failure when exposed to chlorinated water). Don’t confuse CPVC pipe with the plastic polybutylene systems that were a problem more than a decade ago. A site visit occurred on Thursday June 11, 2014 and the following was observed; A set of mechanical drawings was made available. Low cost: Metal and PVC water supply pipes require thrust blocks, costly additions used to restrain pipes and prevent damage from unsupported movement. PEX tubing, PVC pipe, and CPVC pipe marked “NSF-61” or “NSF-PW” indicate that they have passed testing for potentially harmful chemicals leaching into the water. CPVC pipes and fittings may be well-received in the building materials market. Figure 10; Classic ESC. GF Harvel’s Schedule 80 CPVC pipes also maintain the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) B137.6 approval for sizes 1-1/2” – 2-1/2” only. A small water sample was collected from remaining old system and the results were sent to a lab looking for obvious hydrocarbon contamination. Natural Gas piping, sheet metal ductwork, and other mechanical specifications were provided. When pipes are frozen with stresses from the manufacturing process, they react like coiled springs seeking a way to relieve that stress. Bernice Dockery is dealing with the problem right now “Improve their product, the material is no good,” Dockery said, referring to the CPVC pipes behind her walls that were installed 14 years ago. The hydronic system shown appears to be a typical closed loop circulating system with fan coils that receive heated or chilled water depending on the heating or cooling requirements. A known failure record was assembled from maintenance records. What is certain is that they would have continued until all components were replaced individually. This cross threaded sample was found among the the demolition pile for the concurrent re-pipe. Taken together, these observations would explain how excess oxygen was allowed to enter the system. This building was constructed in year 2006 and has been plagued by leaks in the hydronic piping system. Two couplings and pipe would be a lot better and cheaper then Pex adapters. Common Pipe Failures Below are the most common pipe failures and the causes of those failures. Likewise, insecticides, antibacterial additives and coatings, caulks, and cables or wires that may contact the exterior surface of the pipe can be incompatible with CPVC. We were the first (2007) to advise of incompatibility between antimicrobial lined steel pipe and CPVC. The hydronic supply and return piping (from a below grade mechanical room that houses the heating boilers, expansion/compression tank, air separator, and pump) rises up through the building approximately in the center. If the wall is open, I can see switching. However, as a result of several major leaks occurring over the years and the lack of isolation valves required the system to be drained down to repair leaks which would introduce more substantial oxygen amounts. Oh yea, more money to charge the customer. None was found, albeit on a limited sample and limited knowledge of what chemical to look for. However several years ago we started to see problems with the pipe itself splitting and flooding. FlowGuard Gold CPVC Lawsuit Anyone who has experienced leaking or other problems with their FlowGuard Gold Pipe & Fittings plumbing system. There is no clear failure pattern evident with the possible exception of the B&C and symmetric F&G stack associated with dollar value. Inconspicuous chemicals are leading causes of failure. Unintentional overspray of building & insulating materials leads to failures. Recently we visited a research hospital that had to replace their entire sink drainage system because the CPVC pipes and fittings had turned brittle, cracked and failed. However, most SPF contains fire retardant chemicals, called "esters", and amine catalysts that are highly incompatible with CPVC pipes and fittings. CPVC is unforgiving and susceptible to failure if not properly installed by expertly trained professionals. Figure 4: Sample 3, CPVC thread vs brass nut tightened to .080 gap. For … Features such as thermal expansion loops and brass-inlaid connectors were not specified, so the contractor may not have known to include them. Ferran Services & Contracting uses it on a regular basis. Dr. Duane Priddy, CEO Plastic Failure Labs, was retained to validate our findings and identifying the observed CPVC failure modes. FlowGuard Gold systems can be installed in residential or commercial buildings. Finally, if the owners want to determine exactly what chemical(s) was responsible for compromising the relative integrity of this CPVC system, Further laboratory tests may be performed by Plastic Failure Labs to extract the identity of the offending hydrocarbon. CPVC piping with water damage from SPF application. Hydronic Heating & Cooling System Failures. Oh yea, more money to charge the customer. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe is a thermoplastic created by the chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Plastic Expert Group & Failure Labs © 2018   •   Toll Free USA: (877) 668-4345   •   International: +1 (989) 607-2859, published a white paper synopsis of their findings. To ensure that your crew is not contributing to failure of the PVC and CPVC pipes you work with, make sure you are aware of these potential problems. NPT tapered threads (National Pipe Thread Standard) are designed to create interference fit between similar materials as a means of creating both a high strength union and a positive fluid seal. Compared to other plastic pipes like PVC, CPVC is a stronger material. CPVC pipe is non‐toxic. Additional tests would need to be carried out for more specific diagnostic. Yet only oxygen in the water would corrode the pump impeller. A heat exchanger installed to closely to CPVC piping. Also, markings on the pipe with the following acronyms or names will be present for CPVC: CPVC… CPVC delivers superior resistance to degradation and provides a long service lifespan. Available in Europe for years, it was first brought to the United States in the 1980s. Note tooling marks on CPVC connector. It is clear that these unions where tool tightened to the point of CPVC material deformation as the brass nut bottomed out on the CPVC male connector. The tub spout needs to be copper pipe or threaded brass nipples. From a property claims perspective, however, there are many concerns to evaluate when it comes to pipe … CPVC, as we explained earlier, is a stronger version of PVC pipe with a higher melting point and tougher chemical structure. CPVC pipe manufacturers are well aware of the incompatibility of CPVC drain piping toward most hydrocarbon based chemicals and yet they continue to promote the use of CPVC piping for sink drain piping in laboratories. From the outside, CPVC pipe resembles the PVC pipe that preceded it. CPVC is proven to be a robust piping material throughout the world, however, when many adverse conditions are concurrent – in this case we had poor workmanship, multiple mechanical stresses, contamination, and chemical attack – no material is resilient enough to resist such abuse. These are all long lasting materials, but after 70 years or service, they can begin to develop pin-hole leaks and rust/corrosion build up inside the pipes. For example, it is common for CPVC pipework used in sprinkler systems to be orange in colour, whereas pipework used for hot and cold water distributions systems is typically black or dark brown. In the manufacturing of PVC, plasticizers are added in order to make it easy to bend and to increase flexibility. Berger Montague is asking to hear from home and property owners who have experienced problems with their FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipes and fittings. Additionally, samples were selected from a dumpster located in front of the facility. It appears from the drawings that a metal system was intended (given the omission of thermal expansion loops). Mechanical specifications were observed in the mechanical drawing set. It also comes in handy with remodels due to its extreme flexibility. Chlorine can weaken these kinds of pipes, which is a real problem. Pex is a flexible plastic tubing developed in the late 1960s for water piping. This article series describes the properties of polubutylene PVC & CPVC plastic piping and tubing used in buildings. In the case of CPVC, stressed would be introduced which accelerate the cracking and ultimately, failure. Check to see if the pipe you are trying to use is CPVC. Pex is easier to install than copper pipe, withstands extremes in temperature and is resistant to chemicals used in today’s plumbing environment. These pipes provided an inexpensive alternative to several other piping materials and reduced the degrading effects of acidic waters on the longevity of pipe. The management decision to replace the system in its entirety is warranted. The most common failure modes for CPVC are associated with improper installation, contamination, and incompatible chemicals. An investigation was performed on some retained components and samples taken from the removed hydronic components. This system is designed to be very user-friendly, and because the outside diameter of CPVC tubing is sized the same as copper pipe, the grip-style mechanical fittings (Photos 3 and 4) can be used on both copper and CPVC pipe. The CPVC system was installed in 2006 as new construction, and experienced repetitive failures throughout its relatively short service life. It is chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe and fittings. Pros. A site visit as attended by [customer name withheld], Dan Robles, PE, Coengineers, PLLC, David Coles, PE, Coles Consultants, LLC, and [Contractor name withheld]. CPVC piping is not chemically compatible with many chemicals, especially esters and amines. Also, why not just glue back cpvc. The high chlorine content in our water in the metro Orlando area is drying the product out and forcing it to split. So, if all you have to bond two PVC pipes and fittings together is CPVC cement, it will work, but PVC cement cannot be used to bond CPVC pipes and fittings. Below are the most common pipe failures and the causes of those failures. There are many different CPVC pipe manufacturers, and whilst the bulk of the material used to make the pipe will be CPVC, each manufacturer may add their own blend of fillers and pigments. This would suggest that there might have been many hands contributing to the failure record of this facility. There are many different CPVC pipe manufacturers, and whilst the bulk of the material used to make the pipe will be CPVC, each manufacturer may add their own blend of fillers and pigments. Samples were labeled and reviewed at various degrees of magnification. Spray foam is a preferred insulation material because it both seals against air penetration and has a high R-value. We specialize in solving novel problems and working with Communities, Real Estate Management firms, Owners and commercial management firms to resolve them. Something as simple as hand-lotion getting into the drain will cause the CPVC drain pipe to fail! CPVC typically works well for hydronic applications however, leakes in a local heat exchanger can destroy entire systems. Before gluing PVC pipe, lay out all the pieces of pipe and make sure that when they’re … We have performed failure analysis investigations on CPVC pipe samples removed from over 50 buildings in the past 12 years. CONTACT US FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP. Today I'm telling you why I don't use Sharkbites and why I don't let my plumbers use them either. Brown stains are rust deposits remaining after gentle cleaning of the sample. The copper tube sizing system is an entirely different sizing system from Nominal Pipe Size, and as the name implies it is the same system used for copper tube pipe. Some failures were minor and some catastrophic. The problems with CPVC pipes can range from: Turning off the valve by the toilet and having it snap off in the wall; Mopping your floor and hitting the connection, causing it to snap; To be fair, some plumbing companies prefer CPVC. A pile of samples were salvaged from the demo and laid out on the floor by the contractor for our review. Knowing what type of pipe has been installed in your walls, however, can often help you prevent developing problems before they result in costly repair bills. the pipes that deliver hot water to your shower, sinks, washing machine, etc.). Where one material is substantially stronger (brass) than its counterpart (CPVC), the strength of the union and the integrity of the seal may be compromised. PEX or CPVC can't be run to a tub spout or the water will be forced up to the shower head while filling the tub. CPVC pipe increases approximately 1.14 inches per 100 feet per 25oF temperature change. Life-saving systems can cause more harm than good. CPVC is a reliable, robust, and inexpensive plumbing material that has gained wide acceptance in the construction industry. The use of CPVC materials offer significant advantages over metal piping materials including ease of installation and the pipes are not affected by microbial induced corrosion (MIC). This durable pipe can withstand both cold and hot water. No maintenance records or operating logs were available during the site visit. The only information obtained was from the HVAC Contractor who has repaired several leaks in the past and is currently replacing sections of piping. Know why a time tested material like CPVC has been safely used in fire protection to assure lives and property for decades. The samples were photographed as collected and cleaned of extensive rust staining. CPVC pipes and fittings are advertised for use in hot chlorinated water service because of its high heat resistance. It has been available since the mid-1960s, and has an estimated lifespan of 50 to 80 years, with an average of 70 years. Figure 8: Dark Staining on threads and thread root is typical of contaminant absorption under material stress conditions, Figure 9: Rust deposits, brass corrosion, evidence of leakage, and teflon tape remnants are consistent across all samples. However, no specifications for hydronic piping material were called out, nor was any statement deferring the material selection to another party apparent. Therefore the CPVC piping system would be subjected to temperature variation of between 45o F and 180o F. The building is three stories above grade and is approximately 250-300 feet long. The setting of the PRV should provide approximately 5 PSIG at the highest point in the system with the circulating pump not operating. Advantages of CPVC. The ease of installation and corrosion resistance makes it a valuable replacement to alternative materials. Once contaminated, the entire piping system must be replaced. We have found that most failures are caused by exposure to incompatible chemicals, on the inside (e.g., Allied ABF) and outside (e.g., fire caulk, spray foam, etc.). For more on what is CPVC, its characteristics, properties and common uses, read our resource article What is CPVC. CPVC plumbing systems have been used for decades in residential plumbing systems and are becoming increasingly popular in larger commercial plumbing applications. This introduced mechanical stresses in the material. Portions of the ceilings on floors first and second where open during the site visit. Make-up water PRV set incorrectly: Having to vent air continuously from the system indicates that the make-up water PRV (pressure reducing valve) was not set correctly to prevent air entrainment. Ability to Handle Pressure: CPVC shares PVC's ability to handle high water pressure, making it a good material for a main water supply line. A review of existing as-built drawings was performed. Most major cities and large towns add chlorine to the water supply to kill viruses and bacteria. This CPVC Pipe Failure Investigation demonstrates also demonstrates possible hydrocarbon degradation. It was reported that the air separator and pump impeller deteriorated and were replaced. CPVC does get brittle. Some homes use CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl-chloride) as their hot water supply pipes (i.e. Natural Gas piping, sheet metal ductwork, and other mechanical specifications were provided. The cause of failure was due to simply laboratory personnel allowing small amounts of hand lotion to get into the sink drains. Observations of the new system were made in comparison to remnants of the old system in place. Since the 1950s, plastic water pipes have been the material of choice for plumbers and home builders. Homeowners want piping that does its job, without problems, for as long as possible. An air-cooled chiller was mounted on the roof to provide 45o F. chilled water during the cooling season. Because these items are typically cast or fabricated from mild steel the premature deterioration would indicate excess oxygen was allowed to enter the system. Because of the significant risk of contamination we do not recommend the use of CPVC (or PVC) piping in the hydronic piping application. David Coles, PE, Coles Consultants, LLC assisted with the overview of system operations and best installation practices. Pipe, Fittings and Valves: A 2016 PVC market report found that pipes and fittings make up 62% of PVC revenue. I would have replaced pipe with cpvc. The first CPVC plumbing products were created by Genova Products in 1962. A decision was made to replace a major part of the CPVC system with polypropylene. You can do this by checking the color of the pipe: CPVC is a gold/yellow/tan color, whereas Schedule 40 PVC plumbing pipe is a dull white. In a closed-loop hydronic system, only a small amount of make-up water (which may allow oxygen to enter the system) is typically required. The objective of the investigation was to determine how and why such a recent installation could become problematic and, if possible, determine root cause for systemic failures. However, CPVC is engineered to resist a wide range of soil pH levels and salts found underground, ensuring a longer service life, preventing costly repairs, and limiting risk. Samples were sanded with 100 Grit paper then 600 grit paper to produce a smooth finish for photography. A failed embrittled drainage system pulled from a hospital. pipes have been detected inside of CPVC pipes. Plumbers told Local 6 that CPVC pipes, which are plastic with glued joints, are a ticking time bomb because it’s not if a leak is going to happen, but when it will happen. CPVC has been around for more than 55 years and many of its initial installations are still up and running without problems. CPVC pipes share many of the advantages of PVC, plus one more: Longevity: Like PVC, since CPVC is a plastic material, it does not react to corrosive substances and does not rust, so its lifespan is indefinite. The hand lotion in this lab was the root cause of a drainage system failure. The use of CPVC materials offer significant advantages over metal piping materials including ease of installation and the pipes are not affected by microbial induced corrosion (MIC). This sample provides a particularly egregious demonstration of combined deficiencies observed in this CPVC installation. Because of the lengths of piping involved and coefficient of expansion of CPVC piping in this design, it would seem reasonable that some indication expansion compensation would be required. Our forensic failure experts can analyze failed CPVC pipe samples and failed PEX pipe samples to determine the root cause of failure. Having to vent air continuously from the system indicates that the make-up water PRV (pressure reducing valve) was not set correctly to prevent air entrainment. Figure 3: Sample 2, CPVC thread vs. brass nut tightened to .084 gap. CPVC is commonly specified as pipe, fittings and valves where heat, pressure and chemical resistance are concerns. In fact, attorneys are looking into whether FlowGuard Gold pipes meet the American Society for Testing Materials' (ASTM) standards for strength. Abrasion resistance: Abrasions occur when tough, jagged materials come in contact with the pipe wall in underground installations. Coengineers collected all data. CPVC cement, on the other hand, has no problem holding CPVC together, and since it has a more durable structure, it can hold PVC pipe together as well. PLLC and assembled into this document. Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) and green pipe (PPR) are both popular piping options in today’s market. Unlike copper, CPVC piping systems will maintain drinking-water quality even if the pH of the potable water source falls below 6.5 (pH measures the relative acidity of water; the pH of natural potable water should be between 6.5 and 8.5). No evidence of lightning strike was observed and no documentation of the strike and related insurance claim were forwarded for our review and is therefore omitted from this investigation pending identification of failure modes. presents this tutorial how to video about how to cut and glue CPVC pipe along with some tips for a better job. Figure 13: Radial and Longitudinal ESC Failure were present in the cross-threaded sample, Figure 14: Two complete cracks form inside the threaded section of sample 5. Contains extra chlorine increasing its safety for potable water; Pipes and fittings are easy to work with which makes them ideal for novice home … For older homes, PEX pipe serves as a great retrofitting option. Horizontal branch lines serve fan coil units. Wow, obviously working by the hour and wasting time. Figure 7: Evidence of Leakage and corrosion of Brass observed on all samples. Figure 2: Sample 1 CPVC thread vs. brass nut tightened to .o83 gap. CPVC: CPVC and PVC are time-tested products that have been in use for over fifty years in the plumbing industry. Like all piping materials, the most common mode of failure is improper design and poor craftsmanship. Also, unlike CPVC, cold temperatures are no problem for PEX pipe. It may have been during this time that someone introduced an incompatible corrosion inhibitor, cleaning agent, or MIC inhibitor. Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, commonly referred to as “CPVC,” … If the system is not properly planned or installed, the pipe could fail. The value of FlowGuard Gold pipes and fittings isn’t limited to high-performance, cost-effective plumbing materials. In general, pipes and tubes made with CPVC are significantly more flexible and can withstand higher temperatures than pipes and tubes … Several samples demonstrated classic “textbook” Environmental Stress Cracking (ESC) patterns and discoloration zones. The plumbers have suggested using CPVC pipes as they don't rust.